4 Healthy Holiday Food Substitutes

pumpkin pie copy

I’m so encouraged. Rather than viewing the holidays as a time of unbridled indulgence, then post-indulgence guilt, most people (and hopefully this includes you) are starting to rein it in.

Here at Foodtrainers, rather than clients going MIA until January, they are signing up for our Foodstalking program where we have daily email check-ins. And let’s be clear—I’m not here to insist that you avoid your favorite treats. Rather, I’m suggesting you stick to just those.

So if you’re in the healthy holiday camp, here are my “glutton free guidelines.”

Be Boring

Your schedule is nutty enough. There’s no need to reinvent the healthy wheel this time of year. Stick to your personal healthy habits that you know work (If you have my book, Little Book of Thin, there are some great ideas in Chapter One). But whether it’s your Greek yogurt breakfast or your favorite spin class, when schedules are packed and nutty, repetition is reassuring.

Put on the Boozy Breaks

The holidays tend to be a free-for-all for cocktails. So make sure you’re not going overboard. Stick to the tried-and-true rule: have one glass of water per beverage or to slow yourself down and keep you hydrated. It really works.

Eat Fermented Foods

More specifically, eat one fermented food a day to keep all sorts of issues away. Fermented foods with good bacteria are not just good for the gut; they actually help our mood and weight. We’ve talked about this before. Some easy options: yogurt, miso and kombucha.

Sleep to Win

As one of my favorite actors Amy Poehler knows, you will tolerate your family drama much more healthfully if you get 7-8 hours a night. And you surely know how important sleep is to your overall health. It’s the truth.

My 4 Favorite Healthy Holiday Substitutes

  1. Instead of eggnog, go for cider (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) for half the calories. It does have sugar but it’s not an entire meal in a glass. And if you love that meal in the glass (as I do), swap almond milk for cream in your eggnog recipe.
  2. Instead of pigs in a blanket or stuffed mushrooms (similar calories), go for shrimp cocktail. Eight shrimp with cocktail sauce has fewer calories than those four little piggies.
  3. Instead of mashed potatoes, try mashed cauliflower. Then add some truffle salt and you’re good to go with a healthy version of one of the best holiday sides.
  4. And finally, instead of pecan pie (which tops every worst treat list from year to year) migrate to organic pumpkin pie or go “crustless.” Pumpkin has some surprising health benefits. Even better, make your own pie with wholesome ingredients and go easy on the sugar.


What’s your biggest holiday food challenge? And how many Fitbit steps can you get at a holiday party?

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