Mills-Peninsula Health Blog

Be Well, Be Well Informed

Healthy Holiday Meal Substitutions

Posted on Dec 3, 2015 in Uncategorized


Special holiday meals don’t have to be laden with fat, sugar and far too many calories.

“Create healthier holiday meals by letting the words ‘substitute, reduce and omit’ guide you when you are preparing a special holiday dish,” Carolyn McCune, a Mills-Peninsula registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, says. “Think of it as giving the gift of a healthier holiday season to yourself, your family and your guests.”

Here are a few of McCune’s top tips for creating healthier holiday dishes:

  • Try using lower fat ingredients in your holiday recipes such as fruit purees instead of sugar, evaporated milk instead of cream and plain yogurt instead of sour cream and mayonnaise in dips and sauces.
  • Offer low-fat protein such as turkey or chicken rather than ham or red meat. Skip the skin and choose the white meat to save extra calories.
  • Reduce the amount of oil and butter you use. Use a cooking spray or just brush pans or dishes lightly with oil.
  • Use spices, fresh herbs and lemon zest to add flavor to dishes instead of butter, cream and extra salt.
  • Create holiday dishes with more fresh vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains to bring healthier options to the table. Enjoy the delicious flavor of fresh green beans rather than a casserole with full-fat canned mushroom soup and fried onions.
  • Use low-fat chicken broth instead of butter for dishes such as stuffing and mashed potatoes.

See more tips on our blog to help you enjoy your favorite holiday foods without sacrificing your waistline and good health.

Carolyn McCune, R.D.

Carolyn McCune is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Mills-Peninsula Health Services.