Holiday Recipe Hacks

best holiday recipe hacks

Making the holidays delicious and nutritious!


The holidays are a time of gathering with friends and loved ones, exchanging thoughtful gifts, attending parties, dressing up in your finest, and sharing a big holiday meal with all of the trimmings. It’s a time of love and laughter…and also a time when most of us gain a few more pounds around our waistlines from the overindulgence of it all.

Today I am going to share with you a handful of simple recipe hacks that can be used to not only lighten your holiday meal by reducing the overall calorie count, but to also improve the nutritional content and to reduce the irritating allergens. So you’ll feel more svelte, will experience less digestive inflammation (goodbye after dinner tummy ache!) and will be filled with wholesome, real food nutrition. Let’s do this!

Appetizers: Swap out Creamy Dips with Heavy Dairy Products and Grain-Filled Dippers…for higher protein, higher fiber appetizers that are free of grains, gluten and dairy.

Recipe for roasted onion dip

Try this dairy-free dip with roasted veggies!

Bread Products: Holiday meals are notorious for containing a whole slew of grain-filled bread products – from the appetizers to the stuffing and bread rolls. By replacing these items with lower carb bread products that are made with ground nut flour or coconut flour, you’re able to simply and easily reduce the damage, and avoid the gluten while still enjoying everything that a holiday meal should contain.

Best paleo dinner roll recipe

Sweet Potato Casserole: Traditionally sweet potato casserole has become a reason for us to pull out the brown sugar, butter and marshmallows and to serve it up as a side dish to dinner. Crazy right?!? Marshmallows for dinner? Sweet potatoes are already sweet (it’s in the name! lol) and so by adding just a little bit of coconut palm sugar and some toasted nuts instead of marshmallows we can create the same sweet side dish with fewer calories and lowered sugar. Win-win!

best pecan crusted sweet potato casserole

No marshmallows needed!

  • Pecan Crusted Sweet Potato Casserole: cream baked sweet potatoes with eggs, coconut oil, coconut cream and top with toasted pecan crumble with coconut palm sugar and coconut oil.

Time for Dessert: Dessert is certainly a part of our holiday meal that can get us into some serious trouble! All of that refined sugar combined with gluten and grains…it’s no wonder we end up on the couch with a tummy ache after dessert ends. Here are some lightened dessert recipes that will please even the pickiest of eaters!

paleo pumpkin pie recipe

Wholesome, real ingredients make this the tastiest pumpkin pie you’ll ever taste!

More Recipe Hacks…

  • Skip the mashed potatoes and serve baked sweet potatoes instead. You’ll save calories from the cream and butter. Scrub the sweet potatoes and rub with coconut oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, until fork tender.
  • Focus on filling up on meat and vegetables and just taste the high-carb items like breads, stuffing, and pies.
  • Use coconut flour in your gravy to avoid the grains and gluten.
  • Make as many things at home from scratch as possible and avoid store-bought or from-the-box items.
  • Curtail the damage to just one meal. Don’t keep the unhealthy leftovers around to eat for meal after meal, day after day. Enjoy what you are going to enjoy on Thanksgiving, and then only keep the meat and vegetables as leftovers, which can be turned into soup and salads for the following few days – high protein, high fiber meals.

Closing thought…

Real, measurable change in your diet and in your body happens as the result of putting new habits into place with your eating. It’s not something that happens over one holiday meal – and frankly if you just went all out on Thanksgiving and ate whatever you wanted, but then kept your normal, every-day meals filled with high fiber, high protein, whole foods then you’d be in fantastic shape.

  • Focus on the habitual foods in your diet and don’t get hung up on holiday foods.
  • Eat at home more.
  • Start replacing high carb items in your meals with vegetables.
  • Drink water instead of high sugar beverages.
  • Eat fresh fruit instead of refined-sugar filled desserts.
  • Take a day to fast, and give your body a break from food.
  • Make small degrees of change in the right direction with your diet and never stop striving to be healthier.
Look for my newest book, The Recipe Hacker Confidential, in stores December 27th!

Look for my newest book, The Recipe Hacker Confidential, in stores December 27th!


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