Holidays are the best times of the year for eating well. When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing better than being inside and filling your belly with delicious treats.
That said, it’s also nice to be able to enjoy your favorite holiday flavors without feeling guilty for overeating. The solution? Cook with healthier ingredients in the first place. That way, you can eat to your heart’s content and still feel good.
Here are a few healthy treats for the holidays that are perfect for your next seasonal gathering. Or for a night home when you’re craving something delicious.
Festive Turkey Meatballs
These turkey meatballs are the perfect snack for a holiday gathering. A little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, and a lot delicious.
The sauce is what makes these delectable treats so irresistible, so don’t skimp on that part. If you’re not a fan of curry powder, you can use some cumin and black pepper in its place.
These treats don’t take too long to make — but they also won’t last very long once you put them out!
- Nutrition: Healthline on Turkey
- Calories: Each meatball is 46 calories, 7 grams of carbs, 2 grams of protein
Sweet Potato Chips
Craving french fries or thinking about polishing off a bag of potato chips? These delicious sweet potato chips can be a healthier substitute for either. And they’ll taste just as good.
The cooking time on this recipe should be treated as a suggestion. Keep an eye on your chips, and leave them in the oven until they reach your desired crispiness. Cutting the potatoes a bit thinner will also result in crispier chips.
- Nutrition: Healthline on Sweet Potato Fries vs. French Fries
- Calories: Recipe is 6 servings. Each serving is 138 calories, 23 grams of carbs, 2 grams of protein
Vegan Sugar Cookies
Cookies without eggs and butter? Yes! These vegan sugar cookies are delicious, even without any dairy. The icing is so tasty that you won’t even notice. And the health-conscious folks in your life will thank you.
Make sure you leave yourself time to let the dough chill before you fashion the cookies into your desired shapes. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a crumbly mess.
The most fun part about these cookies is that you can shape them however you want. Get creative with your cookie cutters, or stick with tried and true holiday faves.
- Nutrition: Healthline on Foods to Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight
- Calories: Each cookie has 149 calories, 24 grams of carbs, 1 gram of protein
Looking to spice up a holiday gathering with the perfect fall dip? Try some pumpkin hummus. It’s extremely easy to make, it’s a healthy snack, and it won’t take longer than 15 or 20 minutes to make.
One of the best things about hummus is the variety of things you can use to scoop it. Feeling like you want to be extra healthy? Use some veggies like carrots, bell peppers, and snow peas. Not worried about your carb count? Dip away with pita chips or some crusty bread.
- Nutrition: Healthline says Eat More Hummus
- Calories: Recipe is 4 servings. Each serving has 101 calories, 7 grams of carbs, 2 grams of protein
Caprese Christmas Wreath
Need an appetizer recipe that will pop with holiday cheer? Look no further — this Caprese Christmas wreath will be the talk of the table. Caprese is an Italian term for a combination of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, sweet basil and olive oil.
Putting this starter together doesn’t take much time, but you’ll be rewarded with a treat that looks — and tastes — great. Adventurous chefs will be excited to make their own balsamic glaze, but if you’re in a rush — or just don’t feel like cooking — a store-bought version will work just fine.
- Nutrition: Healthline on Healthy Types of Cheese
- Calories: This recipe fails to provide nutritional facts, but it’s safe to assume calories and carbs are pretty low.
Santa Hat Cheesecake Bites
Okay, these snuck onto the list more because they’re delicious than healthy. But hey, it’s a dessert that features fruit, so it’s not the worst thing you could eat.
The best thing about this recipe for everyone’s favorite Santa-themed dessert is that it gives you options. Feeling ambitious enough to make your own cheesecake? Knock yourself out (and reap the delicious rewards). But if you’re pressed for time — or just don’t feel like spending an hour-plus in the kitchen — you can easily put this recipe together with store-bought cheesecake.
You can replace the Oreo crust with a graham cracker crust if you’d prefer. But you can’t skip the strawberries — remember, that’s what makes it healthy!
- Nutrition: Healthline on Cheesecake
- Calories: This recipe calls for 25 servings. Each serving is 218 calories, 18 grams of carbs, 3 grams protein
Roasted Red Pepper Dip
This roasted red pepper dip makes for a great snack or an appetizer that compliments almost any holiday spread. The best part about it, aside from the delicious taste, is it’s super easy to make.
If you’re looking for a way to make the flavor a bit more complicated, add a tablespoon of capers before blending. And if you don’t have almonds, you can substitute either cashews or walnuts.
Serve with your favorite crusty bread or crackers and enjoy!
- Nutrition: Healthline on 29 Healthy Snacks, including red bell peppers
- Calories: 2 tablespoons of this dip carries 58 calories, 3 grams of carbs, 1 gram of protein
Festive Chicken Mini Fajitas
Want to be the star of your holiday get-together? Put these festive fajitas on the table and watch all the other would-be chefs look on with jealousy. Wherever these fajitas go, they’re destined to be the star of the show.
This recipe does take a bit of work, but it can be made ahead and then reheated just before serving. You can play with the flavorings to suit your taste. Don’t want it too spicy? Omit the hot chili powder. Don’t have chipotle paste on hand? Approximate its smoky flavor by adding a half teaspoon of smoked paprika instead.
You can also easily substitute store-bought guacamole for the dip. The fajita itself is the star of the show here.
- Nutrition: Healthline on Chicken Health
- Calories: This recipe has 36 servings. Each fajita is 41 calories, 3 grams of carbs, 3 grams of protein
Stuffed mushrooms are just about perfect as a bite-sized appetizer. They’re an easy-to-make finger food that goes down perfectly in one bite. Oh, and they’re absolutely delicious!
You may already have a family recipe for this holiday favorite. One of the nice things about stuffed mushrooms is their adaptability. Prefer to make yours with mint instead of parsley? Go for it. Want to use more cheese and fewer vegetables? That’s okay, too.
The most important thing is to bake them long enough that the mushrooms are soft. This recipe calls for holding off on adding the filling until the end of the baking. That will ensure the mushrooms have the right texture without drying out the toppings.
- Nutrition: Healthline on Paleo Appetizers, including stuffed mushrooms
- Calories: This recipe provides 4 – 6 servings. Each serving is 75 calories, 7 grams of carbs, 4 grams protein
This holiday favorite is actually relatively healthy for you as far as desserts go. The recipe is gluten-free and only has four ingredients. If you can find candy canes made with real peppermint, that’s all the better.
Although this peppermint bark recipe is relatively simple, you do need to remember to leave yourself time for freezing. Also note that you should use a full-size baking sheet (18” by 26”) for this one. Otherwise, the layers of chocolate will be thicker than you want them to be.
- Nutrition: Healthline on 21 Dairy-Free Desserts, including Peppermint Patties
- Calories: This recipe calls for 15 servings. Each serving is 531 calories, 74 grams or carbs, 5 grams of protein
If you’re looking for healthy treats for the holidays, you can’t go wrong with any of these recipes. And they’ll let you prove to your family and friends that “healthy” doesn’t have to equal “flavorless.” Bon appetit!
- 10 Famous Pizza Places in the Midwest
- The Best Mexican Food in the Midwest
- Best Ice Cream in the Midwest
- Beer! The Best Breweries in the Midwest
- The Tastiest Cuisine in the Midwest
- Best Italian Cuisine in the Midwest