20 Healthy Updates On Your Favorite Holiday Foods

by Marion Bernstein

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but even though we're still trying to figure out what the heck to do with all this leftover Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, it's already time to start planning the next holiday feast. Turkey sammies? Check. Turkey tacos? Yup. Turkey hash? Uh-huh. Grilled cheese (and turkey)? You bet. Turkey casserole, spring rolls, soup, nachos, quesadillas, pizza, pinwheels, and pot pie? For the love of god, YES.

If your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners have looked a lot like this over the last five to nine days, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume there's nothing you'd want to prepare, eat, and reinvent less than your traditional bird, buttered potatoes, and bean casserole come Christmas time. And let's be honest, although we're mindful women working hard to overturn dated conceptions of the female figure riddled with Photoshop edits, we still enjoy feeling good. And while white sugar and heavy cream taste good in the moment, they can't touch the cerebral benefits of the omega-3s found in fish, nuts, winter squash, and dark leafy greens.

So if you're looking to take a walk on the lighter side this holiday season, why not deviate from the norm and start a new holiday tradition with a few healthy updates on the more conventional holiday foods listed below? Besides, us feminists have a lot of work to do come 2015, so let's make sure our bodies and minds are equipped with the proper nutrients, yeah? Yeah.

Healthy Drinks

Eggless Nog

Oh She Glows' healthy twist on a traditional holiday treat replaces the weight of eggs and cream with the energy of avocado, banana, and coconut milk. Top the classic version with cinnamon and nutmeg, or get festive with crushed peppermint candy canes.

Cranberry Punch

Prevent carb induced holiday scurvy with this cranberry elixir chock full of vitamin C in orange, lemon, and lime form. Avoid the high fructose corn syrup and opt for the good stuff — ginger ale made from pure cane sugar and fresh ginger. Fancy more fizz? Damn Delicious recommends a splash of Prosecco.

Healthy Apps

Smoked Salmon Potato Tartine

There's no need to choose between Jewish, Nordic, and Italian tradition this holiday season. You can marry all three with this open-faced smoked salmon topped potato pancake from Blogging Over Thyme.

Cranberry-Orange Goat Cheese Crostini

Compared to cow's milk, goat cheese is considerably lower in fat and calories and packed with more protein and calcium. Cookie + Kate tops her goat cheese with homemade cranberry-orange sauce to create this visually stunning, simple, and healthy app.

Hummus and Spinach Dip

There are so many ways to sneak more veggies onto your holiday app table — like folding fresh spinach into your homemade hummus dip. Need more nutrients? Serve with fresh veggies like Naturally Ella suggests here.

Grilled Artichokes

Swap out oily jarred 'chokes for the fresh version, packed with antioxidants which help aid digestion and liver function — something we're all in need of during these indulgent days. Simply Scratch shows you how to trim, boil, and grill these edible flower buds to perfection.

Healthy Sides/Mains

Baked Aubergine with Blanched Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranate

Green Kitchen Stories brightens up their roasted aubergines (also known as eggplant) with blanched Brussels sprouts and lentils. Get extra festive with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds for a vibrant color pop and immunity booster.

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Thought mac and cheese was only for your non-vegan, gluten loving guests? Think again. Love & Lemons provides both vegan and vegetarian versions.

Sweet Potato and Pomegranate Salad

If you're tired of weighing down your root vegetables with copious amounts of butter, try lightening up your holiday tubers with spinach, arugula, and baby kale. Love & Lemons adds cilantro, pistachios, feta, and pomegranate to taste.

Grilled Portabella Mushrooms with Gorgonzola Aioli

Portabella mushrooms really are the filet mignon of the vegetable kingdom — especially when paired with rosemary, lemon, and gorgonzola. Learn how Making Thyme For Health makes her marinade and aioli here.

Kale Salad with Olives, Chia Croutons, and Creamy Lemon Rosemary Dressing

Healthful Pursuit's 10 minute superfood salad combines kale, pecans, and olives with the creaminess of a dairy-free lemon rosemary dressing. Get the dressing recipe below.

Creamy Lemon Rosemary Salad Dressing

Healthful Pursuit swaps heavy dairy for the creamy combo of tahini, extra virgin olive oil, and dijon mustard in this lighter lemon and rosemary infused dressing.

Creamy Mushroom Sauce Over Spaghetti Squash

No scented candle can compete with the soothing smell of fresh thyme and sage cooking on your stovetop. The Healthy Foodie uses this creamy vegan concoction as a hearty topper to her roasted spaghetti squash.

Pistachio Crusted Salmon

Let Nom Nom Paleo show you how to create this festive pescetarian-approved main dish made from only six ingredients in just 20 minutes.

Apple Honey Roasted Chicken

Trim the fat on this holiday favorite by opting for white meat only. There will be no need for gravy with the added juices of stewed apples, honey, sage, and thyme. Yuletide noms courtesy of The Healthy Foodie.

Flank Steak Roulade

The baby spinach, red pepper, and zucchini stuffing create a feast for the eyes when this protein and iron-packed roulade is sliced into medallions. Head over to Nom Nom Paleo for the step-by-step stuffing, rolling, and broiling guide.

Healthy Desserts

Skinny Snickerdoodles

Making Thyme For Health calls for coconut oil instead of butter in these classic cinnamon-spiced holiday favorites.

Coconut Lemon Truffles

Tryptophan be damned! Bare Root Girl's coconut lemon truffles call for dates, almonds, and coconut oil which is carried straight to the bloodstream, igniting an immediate natural energy boost.

White Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn

No need to binge. Simply Scratch shows you how to satisfy your seasonal sweet tooth with a drizzle of white chocolate and a dusting of peppermint — just enough sweetness to spread holiday cheer.

Cheesecake Bites with Gingersnap Crust

These bite-size cheesecakes are mini gifts from the gluten-free gods. Learn how With Style and Grace blogger whips up these fluffy party pleasers here.

Images: Oh She Glows; Damn Delicious; Blogging Over Thyme; Cookie + Kate; Naturally Ella; Simply Scratch (2); Green Kitchen Stories; Love & Lemons (2); Making Thyme For Health (2); Healthful Pursuit (2); The Healthy Foodie (2); Nom Nom Paleo (2); Bare Root Girl; With Style and Grace