Written by: Katie Cassin
I love the holidays for many reasons, but what really draws me into this special time of year is the food. It’s the one time of year that my family and I indulge in far too many days of careless eating where calories aren’t counted, and none of us are shamed for it. And even though I love this piece of the holidays, eating this much unhealthy food makes me feel a little wheezy after the third day. So, over the past few years I have made it my mission to healthify my favourite indulgent meals to make me feel a little less guilty about what I’m eating, and give a better sense of well being when celebrating with family. Here are a few of my favourites:
This pancake recipe has been a great one for Christmas morning at my house! I’ve experimented with it a bit by substituting all of the whole wheat flour for oat flour (just ground up oats) to make it gluten free, and have even put a ¼ cup of pumpkin purée into it with some pumpkin pie spice to make it extra festive. This is a great recipe for cutting down some calories and substituting the protein-packed Greek yogurt for the oil in a regular pancake.
So it is lunch time, and you come in from the cold looking for a quick fix to fill and warm you up. I used to reach for a can or box of soup before I found this simple recipe that often takes less time than the can. Simply cool the tomatoes, onions and garlic down, and blend! It’s that easy!
Note: if you are using a blender, remember to open the little clip at the top. If not, you will end up with soup everywhere (I speak from experience).
My mom used to make these for me for lunch as a kid, so they are very near and dear to me. I’ve made these as an appetizer for different events and they are an absolute hit! Just take English muffins, preferably whole grain (I use the Ezekiel muffins you can find in your local health food store) and assemble it like a pizza. Bake it and cut each into four pieces. They are sooo good.
When it comes to holiday dinners, I am all about the side dishes. Mashed potatoes are one of my favourite foods on the planet, but I wanted to find a way to eat them without the guilt from that full fat cream, butter, and starchy white potatoes. So, one summer evening I made these, and discovered that they would be the perfect substitute for my favourite comfort food during the winter months. Just boil the sweet potatoes until fork tender, strain, mash, and mix in your seasonings, oil and Greek yogurt. The Greek yogurt makes them super creamy—you’ll want to eat them every night!
Now, finding an alternative for a healthy dessert seems like an impossible task, and it definitely is one. No one wants to compromise on dessert, especially not during the holidays. But, from all of the healthy dessert recipes I have tried, this one is definitely the greatest. I like to bake extras of these when I make a batch for a crowd, and put some in the freezer for a quick snack to pack when I’m in a rush for school. These are also gluten free!
Even though I splurge during the holidays, I love to use these and many more recipes to keep me from feeling too guilty about all of the eating that I’ll be doing this season. I love knowing that even the most delicious holiday foods can be adapted in a simple and guilt free way.