Holiday Favorites Made Healthy

These healthy holiday swaps are provided by Kindra Partner Amy Shapiro MS, RD, CDN, Owner of Real Nutrition and wellness expert.

With the holiday season in full swing balancing your mood, hormones, weight, and stress levels can be a challenge. Oftentimes, these fluctuations are a side effect of the delicious and decadent food and drink we are bombarded with all month long, not to mention the late nights and extra active social calendar.  So how can you still have all the fun while feeling great? Indulge smarter this year with our healthier recipes below.

Whether you are hosting or attending, you can prepare healthier options that everyone will enjoy.  These recipes are so good no one will notice the reduction in salt, sugar and fat.  Instead they’ll devour the beauty, nutrients and flavor!  

A charcuterie board is a great addition to any gathering - it’s a simple way to offer something for everyone!  Load it up with veggies, fruit, dried fruits, nuts, meats, cheese, crackers and dark chocolate!  This dish makes everyone happy and seconds as a centerpiece too. 

Make your own Charcuterie Board Recipe (alter to any season!):

  • 1 Large Tray
  • 3 - 4 different size bowls or dishes
  • 2-3 raw cut up vegetables (carrots, radish, cucumbers, jicama)
  • 1-2 cured/salty vegetables (olives, pickles, artichoke hearts)
  • 2 cheeses (different shapes, textures & sizes)
  • 1- 2 crunchy surfaces (crackers, pretzels)
  • 2 cured meats (salami, prosciutto, turkey breast)
  • 2 - 3 fresh or dried fruits (grapes, berries, apricots, cranberries)
  • 1 - 2 nuts or legumes (walnuts, roasted chickpeas, candied cashews)
  • 1 sweet treat (chocolate discs or squares or themed candies like candy canes) 
  • 1 sweet spread or dip (honey, jam, nutella) 
  • Arrange items on the tray and within bowls in a design that looks appetizing!  Refill as needed. 

Cocktail anyone? Stay away from sugary mixers to keep your drinks as clean as possible and to avoid a nasty hangover.  I love adding color and spice!  This recipe covers all the bases and throws in some antioxidants too!  

Spicy Hibiscus Spritzer
For 2 Cocktails

For garnish
  • 1 jalapeño thinly sliced into rounds (keep the seeds if you like heat)
  • A few mint sprigs
  • 1 lime thinly sliced into wheels

  • Add ice, chilled hibiscus water/tea, lime juice, sweetener (if using) and vodka to a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously to combine.
  • Take a glass add, a few mint leaves, 2 or 3 slices of jalapeño, and a lime wheel.  Add ice and divide mixture into each glass. Top off with seltzer, stir and sip! 

With heavy food items served at most parties and dinners, I guarantee guests will welcome a delicious salad especially when it looks pretty and tastes great!  Squash, pomegranates and pumpkin seeds layer textures, colors and nutrients making it more of a meal than a side dish. 

Green Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Pomegranate and Pumpkin Seeds

  • ⅓ cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas) 
  • 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil 
  • 1 3-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ¾ -inch dice or 2 cups already cubed
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces mixed baby greens
  • ½ cup fresh pomegranate seeds
    • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 2 Tablespoons fresh pomegranate juice (or orange juice)
    • ½ teaspoon sea salt
    • A few twists of freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 teaspoons minced shallot
    • 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
    • 6-7 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
      • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
      • Place the pumpkin seeds in a dry skillet and toast over low heat until lightly browned (you’ll start to hear them crackle and pop).  Remove from heat, pour into a bowl and let cool. 
      • In a large bowl, toss the squash with thyme and oil of choice.  Place on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Season with sea salt and pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes, until browned and softened. 
      • In a small bowl combine lemon juice, pomegranate juice, shallot, maple syrup, sea salt and pepper. Whisk in olive oil until emulsified.
      • Place salad greens on a platter and toss with enough dressing to coat lightly. Add the butternut squash to the greens. Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and pumpkin seeds. Add salt and pepper as needed and serve with extra dressing on the side for those who want more! 

      Who doesn’t love a good holiday cookie recipe?  Add these almond flour cookies to your cookie swap or dessert table and watch everyone swoon!  Refined sugar and grain-free but full of flavor, fiber and healthy fats you’ll balance blood sugar levels and satisfy cravings all in one bite!  Portion control is still recommended.  

      Almond Flour Thumbprint Cookies

      • 1 cup finely ground almond flour, blanched 
      • 3 Tablespoons ghee, butter or vegan butter (Earth Balance), softened, not melted
      • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
      • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
      • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
      • 3 Tablespoons jam, homemade or store-bought (I used Chia Smash
        • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
        • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
        • Mix almond flour, butter, syrup, vanilla and salt in a small bowl until a cohesive dough forms. It will seem a little dry at first, but just keep mixing.
        • Use a tablespoon to measure out dough and roll each into a ball. Place on a prepared baking sheet and use your thumb or finger to create a thumbprint in the middle of each cookie. Add 1/2 teaspoon of jam to the indentation.
        • Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom.
        • Remove cookies from the oven and cool on the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely before serving.
        • Store cookies in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 1 week or in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.  

        You partied, ate, and drank! Fantastic, what fun!  For optimal health and to feel your best, I recommend returning to your usual routine the very next day, don’t wait until Monday!  A healthy breakfast is the way to go the day after and my first choice is a smoothie.  They are the easiest way to rehydrate and fuel up with superfoods galore to help any hangover or brewing mood swing.  This smoothie is loaded with fiber, heart healthy fats, antioxidants and protein to keep you satisfied till lunch!

        Berry Avocado Smoothie

        • 1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk (unsweetened, from the box)
        • 1/2 Zucchini (chopped, frozen)
        • 1/4 cup Frozen Cauliflower
        • 3/4 cup Frozen Berries
        • 1/4 Avocado
        • 2 tsps Chia Seeds
        • 1 serving Vanilla Protein Powder
        • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
        • Combine all ingredients in a blender, add more liquid as needed to meet desired consistency. 


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