12 Tricks to Lighten Up Your Favorite Holiday Dishes

by Danielle Omar, MS, RD
12 Tricks to Lighten Up Your Favorite Holiday Dishes

This week I hosted my first //www.upworthy.com/5-reasons-why-friendsgiving-is-secretly-the-best-fall-holiday-there-is" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Friendsgiving for my supper club gals. It was a ton of fun (and work!), but totally worth it to spend time with my best girlfriends before the hustle of the holiday season begins. My friends and I are foodies for sure, but we also like to eat healthy and definitely appreciate saving a calorie or two (especially if it doesn’t affect flavor).

Our monthly supper club dinners always include appetizers and dessert, but we've gotten pretty good at knowing where to cut back. We don’t like to feel stuffed at the end of our meals, but we also don’t like to skimp on the good stuff. After all, being stuffed is only a good idea if you are a turkey!

Do you want to cut back on calories without sacrificing flavor this holiday season? Then these go-to tips and tricks are for you!

12 Tips to Lighten Up Your Holiday Meal

  1. Go light with the appetizers. Instead of bread and cheese, chips and dips or other high calorie appetizers, keep the pre-dinner munchies veggie-based. Veggies and hummus are an easy go to. I'd also recommend trying these easy and delicious //www.simple-veganista.com/2013/01/raw-zucchini-wraps-with-kale-pesto.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">zucchini wraps!
    raw-zucchini-wraps-with-kale-pesto Image courtesy: www.simple-veganista.com
  2. Use fruit purees or applesauce in place of oil in baked goods and desserts.
  3. Use stevia in place of sugar in sauces, dressings and baked goods when possible (like this super easy //www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com/moms-10-minute-cranberry-orange-relish/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">10-minute cranberry relish).
  4. Use mashed beans, pureed cauliflower, Greek yogurt, or fat-free evaporated milk in place of cream in casseroles, creamy dips or mashed potatoes (and mix-in some tasteless Cal-EZ powder for a boost of calcium and vitamin D that no one will suspect - and if they did they'd thank you for it!).
  5. Serve salad as a first course. Go heavy on greens and light on non-veggie add-ins and dressings.
  6. Skip unnecessary toppings and add-ins like croutons, bacon, sour cream, shredded cheese or butter.
  7. Rock out the vegetable side dishes! Go with beautiful dishes that are big on flavor, not calories. These //www.wildblueberries.com/blog/wild-blueberry-sweet-potato-stacks-recipe/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">wild blueberry sweet potato stacks I made for my Friendsgiving or this //www.skinnytaste.com/creamy-cauliflower-mash-with-kale-low/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">low calorie kale and cauliflower mash are both so good you won't even miss regular mashed potatoes!
    wild blueberry sweet potato stack Image courtesy: @DanielleOmar & @WildBlueberries
  8. Splurge on an organic, free range turkey. I did for my Friendsgiving and it was truly amazing!
  9. Choose white, skinless turkey breast meat. Skip the dark meat which is higher in fat.
  10. Swap out the turkey gravy for a lighter //www.cookinglight.com/cooking-101/techniques/how-to-make-mushroom-gravy" target="_blank" rel="noopener">mushroom version to cut back on added fat and calories.
  11. Serve water instead of alcohol -- these //thechalkboardmag.com/infused-water-recipes-holiday-entertaining#sl=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">infused party water ideas are not only refreshing and hydrating, they also make beautiful table centerpieces!
    Image courtesy: thechalkboardmag.com Image courtesy: thechalkboardmag.com
  12. Lighten up fully loaded desserts like cheesecake with a //www.fitsugar.com/Light-Recipe-Pumpkin-Cheesecake-Mousse-20378866">pumpkin cheesecake mousse instead, which cuts calories by using low-fat cottage cheese and low-calorie whipped cream.
Which of these tips and tricks will you try this holiday season? What lower calorie go-to holiday recipes are your favorite? Share with us in the comments! SaveSave SaveSave