4 Must Have Healthy Recipes For This Holiday Season

The holiday season isn't just about spending time with family, enjoying festivities and making your ears bleed after listening to Mariah Carey's Christmas hit even past December 25th. It's also a time we can justify stuffing our faces with endless sweets and savory treats and complaining afterwards once we can do all but move! But, it doesn't have to be that way. We can still enjoy the amazing aspects of the holiday season (food) without the repercussions of unwanted bloating and stomach rubbing. These are the foods you should be stuffing your face with. Trust me, you'll thank yourself later (when you're not naming your food baby).

Keep in mind, I'm no chef. These recipes are easy and doable. If I can make them and my brothers don't openly gag when they take a bite, they're more than delicious. Give them a try!

Please note: these are healthy in comparison to what you’d buy at a bakery. They are not replacements for healthy meals. Sorry.

1. Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Bread

Don't be fooled by the elephant in the room. Greek yogurt is super good for you! Protein & good fats & flavor?! In baking? It essentially replaces oil or butter! Count me in! Get your hands on some Fage 2% Milk Fat Greek Yogurt and whip together this delicious pumpkin bread recipe.

What You’ll Need:

1. 1 cup pureed pumpkin (You can buy this at any commercial grocery store)

2. ½ cup 2% Greek yogurt (Vanilla will add some nice flavor, but that’s optional)

3. 1 TSP vanilla extract

4. ⅓ cup olive oil (No, you won’t taste it once it’s baked. Don’t use coconut oil; saturated fats are bad!)

5. ¼ cup cane sugar (I’d rather use cane sugar than agave as our bodies don’t react well to influxes of fructose. Stick to what you know is real vs weird sugar alternatives that’re hitting the market nowadays ie Stevia).

6. ¼ TSP sea salt (Don’t be salty. Add some salt.)

7. 1.5 cup whole wheat flour

8. ½ cup dark chocolate chips or chopped nuts (Optional, but makes it super good).

How To Make It:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a loaf pan, set aside. Mix all the wet ingredients in one bowl, dry in another, and then slowly incorporate the wet into the dry. Do not over mix as you’ll get a cakey consistency. Allow it to bake for 45-55 minutes, being sure to check up on it once it hits the 50 minute mark with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, time to cool then eat!

2. Skinny Pumpkin Spice Latte

What’s the holiday season without some liquid pumpkin? This is super delicious and knocks out nearly 250 of the calories your traditional PSL from Starbucks willingly holds onto. Yes, this amazing drink is only 60 calories. Enjoy!

What You’ll Need:

1. ½ cup non-dairy milk (I prefer soy, but almond has less of a distinct taste. Vanilla milks are super tasty too and honestly preferred! But try to stay away from dairy, it contains too much fat for its worth.)

2. ⅓ TSP pumpkin pie spice

3. 2 shots espresso (Adjust to your liking)

4. Sugar (Cane is just fine)

5. A milk frother if you’re trying to be ~snazzy~

How To Make It:

Begin by brewing your espresso with whatever method you like. Now heat your milk. Next, pour the espresso into a 12-14oz glass followed by the heated milk. Leave some room for the foam if you have a milk frother. Add in some sugar to your liking, stir up, and enjoy! This one’s so easy you can’t not do it. Pumpkins. Holidays. Yay.

And here’s what makes it so much better.. Some nutrition facts for you:

Calories? 60!

Fat? 2 grams!

Carbs? 2.5 grams!

Protein? 4 grams!

Caffeine? Just enough.

3. Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Balsamic Glaze

I love brussels sprouts. They’re loaded with health benefits; nearly over 100 studies all connected brussels sprouts to cancer prevention through playing a role in our body’s detox system, antioxidant system, and anti-inflammatory system. They also support our digestive and cardiovascular systems! Specifically with anti-inflammatory, for example, #brussels contain glucoraphanin, which makes up ITC, a sulforaphane, which triggers anti-inflammatory activity in our cardiovascular system. How cool is that?

Moral of the story: eat your brussels. Here’s a recipe to get you one step closer.

What You’ll Need:

1. 1.5 lbs brussels sprouts

2. 1 tbsp olive oil

3. ¾ tsp kosher salt

4. 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

5. 2 tsp honey

How To Make It:

1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper so nothing sticks, or be even more kitchen savvy and use a parchment baking mat. Wash your brussel sprouts, trim off the outer layer, cut the bottom off, and slice them into halves. In a large bowl, toss them with the olive oil and kosher salt. Get in with your hands, making sure each individual little sprout is nice and coated. Transfer your coated concoction to the baking sheet and pop them in the oven for about 20 minutes, until they’re nice and golden. Once they’re out, drizzle on the balsamic and honey, toss again, and enjoy! These are too good to pass up. You can hate vegetables and love these. That’s how good they are.

4. Peppermint Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries

I know what you’re thinking; how is this considered a “healthy” recipe? It’s simple; it’s all in the type of chocolate you use. Strawberries alone are Earth’s candy (AKA the best snack), and the right type of dark chocolate could be filled with antioxidants. Your 20% cacao dark chocolate has mere health benefits compared to the 60-70%. Yes, it does get bitter as the cacao increases, but, you can find a nice balance that’ll still leave you with a delicious chocolate flavor. The magic number? You guessed it: 60% cacao. This is one of my favorites!

What You’ll Need:

1. Some strawberries

2. Dark chocolate of choice

3. A candy cane

How To Make It:

Begin by washing up your strawberries and drying them up. Next, break up your dark chocolate into smaller squares, pop them into a bowl and into the microwave for 30 seconds, coming in and stirring it periodically. Add more time as needed. Next, grab a strawberry, dip it into the ~sauce~, and lie it on a tray lined with parchment paper. Lastly, crush a candy cane, and take the crushed bits of peppermint goodness and sprinkle them over the strawberries. Refrigerate for an hour, and then enjoy! Nom nom.

Disclaimer: These recipes are not my own-–I'm just a big fan of them. You must try them. I can't cook and I've made these. Nom nom.