12 Healthier Food Alternatives This Festive Season

12 Healthier Food Alternatives This Festive Season

Why you should care

This Christmas, leave the stuffing to the turkey and indulge in these healthier alternatives instead.

‘Tis the season for feasting and immediate regret…or maybe not! Swap the sugar cookies and stuffing with these healthy alternatives.

Let’s be ho ho ho-nest – nobody wants to munch on carrot sticks at the annual holiday party. Keep the mood merry with these fun but (relatively) fat-free alternatives to familiar favourites.


Experts say alcohol contains empty calories, but how can that be so when it fills you up with so much good cheer? Nevertheless, these low-calorie beverages make great alternatives to your usual eggnog.

Boozy Skinny Hot Chocolate

skinny hot chocolate

SOURCE: fitfoodiefinds.com

At just 80 calories, this hot chocolate recipe goes perfectly with gingerbread cookies. It substitutes the usual suspects with unsweetened almond milk, maple syrup, and non-fat cool whip. You can even skip the alcohol (although, why?) for a 30-calorie treat.

Get the full recipe here.

Skinny Eggnog

low fat eggnog

SOURCE: blog.americansoda.co.uk

So maybe this won’t be a skinny eggnog if you have two or three …or four, but at 107 calories, it gives you room for a lot more. This dessert beverage uses vanilla beans and 1% milk for its rich, creamy texture.

Get the full recipe here.

White Cranberry Citrus Punch

citrus punch

SOURCE: health.com

If you’re going to party it up, this punch recipe with cranberries and oranges lends the night some Christmas spirit while being ultra-easy to put together. And at just 92 calories, pour yourself another one.

Get the full recipe here.

Hors D’oeuvres

Appetisers are great for ensuring you don’t end up binging once the main course appears; they also keep hunger pangs at bay if your cooking time runs over. These recipes are easy to whip up, yet delicious and healthy.

Hungry Girl’s Crab Cakes

low fat crab cakes

SOURCE: djfoodie.com

Crab cakes are like your favourite skinny black jeans; they go just as well at a cookout as they do at a hoity-toity cocktail party. At just under 60 calories each, these are great for pre-dinner bites.

Get the full recipe here. This recipe makes large crab cakes; halve the size of each patty to make bite-sized appetisers.

Colour-Themed Dips: Easy Low Fat Roasted Red Pepper Dip/Zesty Green Goddess Dip

pepper dip

SOURCE: themediterraneandish.com

green dip

SOURCE: dishingouthealth.com

Stick to the festive theme with these healthy Mediterranean dips in red and green that use low fat yoghurt for its creamy texture. You can serve with carrot and celery sticks, but we recommend oven-baked tortilla or potato chips instead.

Find the recipe for the red pepper dip here and the green goddess dip here.

Baked Brie With Cranberry Sauce

brie with cranberry sauce

SOURCE: thekitchn.com

Round up your snack selections with this sweet, gooey dish that you can make with extra cranberry sauce. You can substitute the brie with camembert cheese which has a similar soft, creamy texture but 10 less calories per 28 grams.

Find this decadent delight here.

Main Courses

Roast Turkey With Stuffing and Sides

roast turkey

SOURCE: jamieoliver.com

What’s Christmas without turkey? The good news is that turkey is actually a low-calorie, low-fat meat. The bad news is that all the stuffing and sauce you top and bottom it with? Not so great.

You can still use your favourite traditional roast turkey recipe, but make these substitutions for one less notch on your belt this Christmas.

  • Skin and fat: Removing the skin reduces up to 45 calories per 100 grams. That said, the skin helps keep your meat tender and juicy. Instead of removing it altogether, prick the skin to allow fat to drain out. You should also cook it on a bracket so that it doesn’t sit in its own fat.
  • Turkey parts: Light meat (turkey breast) has less calories than dark meat (found in the thighs), so choose wisely.
  • Butter basting: This is simply a method where butter (usually rubbed under the skin of the turkey) melts during cooking to moisten and flavour the meat. Instead of butter, use a mixture of one cup of low fat chicken broth and one cup of low fat Italian dressing.
  • Stuffing: Instead of a traditional sausage meat and breadcrumb stuffing, opt for a chestnut or fruit-based stuffing (more cranberries, yum!) for a reduction of 90 calories and 15 grams of fat.
  • Gravy: Be sure to skin the fat of your turkey juice before combining it with the rest of your gravy ingredients.

Pair with roasted root vegetables like potatoes, squash, and carrots. we also like steamed or grilled beans, asparagus, and tomatoes drizzled with lemon and herbs.

mash cauliflower

SOURCE: tinaschic.com

If you just can’t do without a creamy side, replace your mashed potatoes with a mashed cauliflower recipe that clocks in at a mere 60 calories. We like this recipe here.

Sweets and Desserts

Gluten Free Vegan Sugar Cookies

christmas cookies

SOURCE: minimalistbaker.com

Christmas isn’t complete without these familiar cut-outs. In the spirit of the holidays, make room for all with healthy gluten- and lactose-free cookies that substitute butter and eggs with coconut oil and apple sauce.

Recipe found here.

Healthy Fruit Cake

healthy fruit cake

SOURCE: thehealthychef.com

On that note, end the festivities with another crowd-pleasing favourite – the fruit cake. These are notorious for their high sugar content, so opt for healthier versions that rely on the natural sweetness of the fruits for their flavour.

We love this Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake which can be served with yoghurt or honey instead of ice-cream.

Cover image from parsonsnose.co.uk

Why you should care

This Christmas, leave the stuffing to the turkey and indulge in these healthier alternatives instead.

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