Thu December 21

Balancing Food and Health for the Holidays

Find ways to lighten your holiday cooking, and strategies for staying on track while navigating this food-centric time of year

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. It’s about consistently making everyday meals filled with high fiber, high protein, and real food ingredients.

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 the trimmings. It’s a time of love and laughter…and also a time when most of us deviate from our diets and gain a few pounds from the overindulgence of it all.

It’s very possible to jump into the holidays with the intention of eating whatever you want without restraint. By making the conscious choice to control your diet, even in celebration mode, you’ll save yourself from the hassle of added pounds to lose once 2018 arrives. 

Here are a handful of simple recipe hacks and healthy eating tips for lightening your holiday meal by reducing the overall calorie count, and also to improve the nutritional content and to reduce the irritating allergens. So you’ll feel more svelte, will experience less digestive inflammation (no more after-dinner tummy-ache!) and will be filled with wholesome, real food nutrition. 

Diana’s Holiday Recipe Hacks

 Most appetizers are made with heavy dairy products and grain-filled dippers, so our first hack is to swap these out with high protein, high fiber appetizers that are free of grains, gluten and dairy.


Holiday meals are notorious for containing a 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. 

  • Try the Fluffy Dinner Rolls or Rosemary Focaccia Bread.
  • Make your stuffing with grain-free bread cubes, or skip the bread altogether and make this bread-free stuffing. Combine cubed sweet potato, cooked ground pork sausage, onion, carrot, celery, rosemary, thyme, parsley, a few eggs, raisins and chopped pecans. Bake in the oven 350 degrees F for 40 minutes.
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 so we can create the same sweet side dish with fewer calories and lowered sugar. Try this recipe that cuts out the refined sugar without sacrificing flavor. 


 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!

  • Pie Crust…swap it out for pecan based nut crust. Pecans, dates and coconut oil.
  • Try my Rustic Pumpkin Pie recipe, made with wholesome, low sugar ingredients.
More Healthy Holiday Tips…
  • 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 the holiday, 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.
  • Focus on the habitual foods in your diet and don’t get hung up on holiday foods.
  • 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.

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