Health Care Holidays Recipes

A Lighter and Brighter Season: Heart-Healthy Holiday Recipe Alternatives

Family cooking meal in the kitchen for holiday

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The holiday season goes hand-in-hand with eating special foods. We plan our celebration meals with care to put our very best on the table for our loved ones.

But when we think of traditional holiday meals, images of decadent foods full of butter and cream — followed by an endless array of sweets — might come to mind. They may taste good, but they’re not good for your overall health or your heart. Take care of your loved ones’ hearts this year by opting for heart-healthy ingredients in your recipes that are sure to get a lot of compliments.

There are many alternatives you can use to make healthier savory dishes and baked goods. They taste just as good and won’t leave you feeling tired and bloated after your meal.

Try these healthy heart-friendly substitutes:

  1. Swap the Eggs

    If your recipe calls for eggs- replace them with one of these healthier alternatives: ½ mashed banana, ¼ cup of unsweetened applesauce, ¼ cup of cooked oats, 1 tsp of baking soda, or ¼ cup of silken tofu blended. (All portions are the equivalent of 1 egg).

  2. Substitute the Butter

    When butter is called for, try organic vegan butter using the same amount of butter called for in the recipe. You won’t notice a difference in taste, but it’s better for you. Alternatively, you can substitute half the amount required with applesauce or mashed avocado. Pureed prunes can even be used as a butter substitute.

  3. Sweet Ways to Reduce Added Sugar

    Most recipes can handle half the amount of sugar, or better yet – substitute for a healthier option. You may use an equal amount of applesauce (the no-sugar-added variety) or choose natural sugars like 100% maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, or monk fruit extract (my personal favorite). They are healthier due to their lower glycemic index, and you’ll still get the sweet taste. You can also use 2/3 cup of pureed dates for each cup of sugar.

  4. Pass on the Salt

    Lowering the salt content doesn't mean the recipe has to be bland. There are so many different herbs and spices available to us. These are delicious substitutes, so spice it up! Salt may also be replaced with half as much citrus juice or apple cider vinegar, which interact to bring out the dish’s natural flavors.

  5. Ditch the Dairy

    Swap cow’s milk for a plant-based variety. There are so many to choose from these days: coconut, soy, rice, almond, or oat milk to name a few.

Help Your Family Feel Whole

Eating heart-healthy doesn't mean giving up favorite recipes. With a few tweaks here and there, you can enjoy family favorites without sacrificing taste — and potentially avoid the weight gain and higher cholesterol that can accompany this celebratory season.

You can use these healthy alternatives for everyday meals to help you and your family have a healthy heart year-round.

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