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Healthy Holiday Recipes for Your Favorite Classic Dishes


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The holidays are often filled with indulgent treats, from large family meals to pumpkin spice lattes at your favorite coffee shop. When staying on top of holiday shopping, hosting parties, planning for the kid's winter break, and general holiday stress, it's easy to cave into the comforts of holiday food. 

We all know how easily those little snacks can weigh you down at the end of the season. Thankfully, there are plenty of healthy holiday recipes that make indulging a little more guilt-free.

A happy military family is a healthy military family, so this holiday season, swap out some of your classic dishes with healthy holiday recipes that are equally delicious! We've rounded up some of our favorite healthy holiday appetizers, side dishes, and desserts that you can make with your military family.

Healthy Holiday Appetizers

The holiday appetizer setup is typically arranged with creamy dips, a variety of cheese, crackers, and other decadent bites. Switching over to a few healthy holiday appetizers instead of the standard Charcuterie board can save you from the guilt of overindulging. No need to worry; there's still some cheese and bacon!

These healthy holiday appetizer recipes are both festive and delicious. And a bonus: they're easy to make and personalize to your taste! Enlist the troops and get the whole family involved in the kitchen. You can serve these before a large family gathering, bring to a holiday potluck, or keep them on hand for snacking.

Cranberry, Pecan, Goat Cheese & Sweet Potato Bites from Recipe Runner

Bacon-Wrapped Brussels Sprouts from Fit Foodie Finds

Artichoke Dip from Pop Culture Healthy Living

Pomegranate Guacamole from Cookie and Kate

Spinach and Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms from Skinnytaste 

Healthy Holiday Side Dishes

Most would say the Thanksgiving turkey or the honey-glazed ham are the main features of a holiday meal, but let's be honest, is your plate complete without piling on the sides? This holiday season, make a few switches for the classic sides with some healthy alternatives. Pace yourself and start with light servings - there's no shame in going back for round 2 if you're still hungry! Just be sure to save room for dessert.

Below is a mix of traditional holiday dinner sides and fun twists on your favorites. Not only are these healthy holiday side dishes, but they're also unique recipes that are sure to impress your guests! Be sure to calculate how many servings you will need to make for guests, and make a little extra for delicious and healthy leftovers.

Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions from Gimme Some Oven

Roasted Beet Salad from The Life Jolie

Orange Cranberry Sauce from House of Yumm

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes from Food Faith Fitness

Vegan Cornbread Stuffing from Minimalist Baker

Healthy Holiday Desserts

If you've saved room for dessert after a big holiday meal, ending on a sweet and healthy note pulls it all together. One of the best parts of making desserts? It's a fun activity to do with your kids! The holidays are truly a time for sweet treats, and they are easily customizable. Dark chocolate chips, cranberries, homemade frosting, and nuts offer fun and healthy ways to turn your baking project into a crafting project.

You can make healthy holiday treats by swapping out a few ingredients with healthier alternatives. Fall and winter flavors are filled with healthy ingredients such as cinnamon, pumpkin, oats, and nuts. Try these healthy holiday desserts that will satisfy any festive sweet tooth!

Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Bread from Running with Spoons

Apple-Stuffed Apple Pies from It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken

Almond Cinnamon Holiday Stars from Heavenlynn Healthy

Pecan Pie Baked Oatmeal from Lively Table

Bittersweet Chocolate Swirl Fruit and Nut Bark from Good Life Eat

Healthy Holiday Ingredient Substitutions

As mentioned earlier, making healthy holiday recipes is all about finding alternative ingredients. When creating your holiday menus this year, keep these healthy ingredient swaps in mind! They can be great ways to hide fruits and vegetables for military kids who are picky eaters and are overall better for you. When using these healthy ingredient substitutions, keep in mind how the new flavors will mix with other recipes.

  • Veggie Noodles for Pasta
  • Greek Yogurt for Sour Cream
  • Cauliflower for Mashed Potatoes
  • Applesauce for Sugar
  • Avocado for Butter
  • Pumpkin Puree for Oil

This holiday season, keep your military family happy with these healthy holiday recipes. They are perfect for use at home, to bring to a holiday potluck with your military community, or to host a holiday dinner with your military family and friends. You'll feel better all season and will start the New Year on a great foot!

Related: How to Maintain the Holiday Spirit During Deployment

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