Healthy Holiday Substitutions

Substitute normal or unhealthy ingredients for healthy ones, you don’t even have to tell anybody.  Some people just don’t like change hahaha.  Everything in moderation – festive foods, sweets, and drinking.  Utilize lots of seasonings, garlic, and olive oil.  Plus you can swap either 100% of the ingredient or 50/50%.  It is the holidays after all, have some fun!  This topic is ever changing and can always be added to!


  • Hummus with fresh veggies
  • Cream cheese based dips → Greek yogurt based; Either 100% or 50/50%
  • Fresh fruit bowl 
  • Vegetable platter
  • Olive oil and balsamic vinegar bread dip (like they do in fancy restaurants)


  • More lean meats (such as poultry, pork chops) and less processed meats
  • Fish and Seafood
  • Deep fried → Roasted or Smoked entree

Side Dishes

  • Mashed potatoes → Mashed cauliflower/cauliflower rice; Either 100% or 50/50%
  • Green bean casserole → fresh ingredients using non-canned items
    • Fresh green beans and mushrooms, create your own sauce
    • Or simply sauteed green beans
  • Creamed spinach → Sauteed greens with garlic and herbs
  • Sweet potato casserole → Roasted sweet potatoes with olive oil and spices
  • White bread stuffing → Use sprouted or whole grain bread, whole grains, lots of vegetables, herbs, apples
  • Noodles → Zoodles / Zucchini noodles (Veggie); Either 100% or 50/50%
  • White bread or rolls → Whole wheat bread or rolls
  • Butter → Olive oil and balsamic vinegar bread dip (like they do in fancy restaurants)
  • Sour cream → Plain yogurt or Greek yogurt
  • Canned cranberry sauce → Homemade cranberry sauce

Desserts / Baking

  • All purpose flour → Whole wheat pastry flour; Either 100% or 50/50%
  • Cut refined white sugar in ½
  • Pie (any dessert really) → Grilled or roasted fruit with the same holiday spices
  • Heavy cream → Coconut milk
  • Oil → Applesauce (and can use applesauce for a sweetener)
  • Oil → Butter
  • Milk or white chocolate → Dark chocolate


  • Drink water throughout the day
  • Mix drinks and cocktails with sparkling water
  • Use flavored sparkling water such as my favorite Clear American sodas
  • Cut refined white sugar, simple syrup, and honey in ½
  • Eggnog → Light eggnog, homemade, dairy free, cut sugar in ½ 

This will be an ongoing substitution list, so there may be a Part 2

What are your favorite holiday foods and substitutions?

I’d love to know!

Great resources:

Photo Credits:

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash
Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash
Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva from Pexels

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