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7 yummy yuletide treats that won't stuff your stockings.

Season's Eatings Healthy Holiday Recipes

Diet-Friendly Recipes

Don't go anywhere for holiday recipes…just stay right here, close to home and hearth. After all, eDiets' team of nutritionists are both trained in the science of good nutrition, and they're good cooks, too!

The art of healthy cooking takes practice and experimentation, but you'd never know that eDiets tasty recipes are designed to fit into a weight-loss plan. Members continue to enjoy the meal plans and recipes long after they've reached their goal, and many continue their subscription, switching to the eDiets Healthy Living maintenance plan. They stick to their goal weight, and stay active in the Community.

eDiets has great ways for you to eat healthy and lose weight. To get started, click here and fill out a free diet profile.

The true meaning of 'good cooking'?

To me, good cooking means a lot of flavor but not a lot of extra fat and sugar. Break away from the old way of thinking about food -- it's sure to keep the pounds on.

The old way of thinking about food is "Oh, how sinfully rich and full of butter and sugar -- that makes it good." The new way is, "Oh, it's got lots of flavor, even though it's low in fat and sugar -- that makes it better."

Take a look at your traditional recipes. Find the high-fat and high-calorie ingredients that can be modified or even eliminated. For example, reduce the amount of nuts in cookies; replace with dried cranberries or raisins. Most recipes can be modified successfully.

Healthy Holiday Recipes

1. Healthy Harvest Bread Pudding

The old cholesterol-laden version used whole eggs, full-fat whipping cream and half-and-half, and about 276 calories, 15 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat and 184 milligrams of cholesterol in just one serving. Modified, this tangy dessert has only one-tenth of the fat and 100 calories fewer than the original. Use egg substitutes, replace the cream with low-fat buttermilk and use 1-percent milk in place of the half-and-half. Reducing sugar and upping the raisins from 2 tablespoons to a half-cup adds fiber without sacrificing sweetness. Use whole wheat bread instead of white for added fiber and flavor.

Serves 12.


  • 2 cups 1-percent milk
  • 1 cup of low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 cups egg substitute
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 1/2 slices whole wheat bread
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 cup raisins

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine milk, buttermilk, egg substitute, one cup sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Arrange bread on the bottom of 10"x12" baking pan. Pour mixture over bread. Mix cinnamon with one teaspoon sugar, sprinkle over everything, and distribute raisins evenly on top. Cover with foil and place pan in a larger pan; fill with hot water halfway up sides of smaller pan. Bake 75-90 minutes, or until set. Remove to counter. Serve warm or refrigerate if you're serving later.

    Nutrition per serving: 170 calories, 1.5g fat (0.5g sat.), 2.4mg cholesterol, 1.5g fiber.

    2. My Favorite Stuffing

    Fresh, bottled, canned or frozen, chestnuts, unlike other tree nuts, are low in fat, but high in starch and fiber. They add unique flavor and texture to recipes, without a lot of calories. By substituting 1-percent milk for the cream, egg substitute for the whole egg, apple juice for the broth and a splash of olive oil to replace the butter, your stuffing is lower in fat and total calories, yet retains its distinctive flavor, thanks to the chestnuts and seasonings. The revamped recipe has a more palatable 206 calories and 3 grams of fat per serving. Makes approximately eight one-cup servings.

    Holiday Chestnut Stuffing


  • 3 cups of canned, bottled or frozen (peeled) chestnuts
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 2 small or 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 tsp. sage
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried or 3 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 cups of whole-wheat bread cubes
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup of raisins
  • 1/4 cup 1-percent milk
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup of egg substitute

  • Lightly coat a 9"x13" nonstick baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. If using bottled or canned chestnuts, drain and coarsely chop along with celery, onion and carrot. Mince garlic. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic, onions, celery and parsley until soft (about 5 minutes).

    Let cool a few minutes, then add to large bowl and combine with remaining ingredients and mix well. Add to baking pan, cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for another five to 10 minutes.

    3. Greens with Creamy Berry Dressing

    Stephanie Norris, registered dietitian with Florida's Dairy Council, likes to serve up this favorite from Southern Living's Cooking Light magazine.

    Serves six (serving size: 1 1/2 cups).


  • 1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries (such as Craisins)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed, or 1 tsp. bottled minced garlic
  • 6 cups torn romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
  • 1 cup thinly sliced cucumber
  • 1 cup fat-free plain or seasoned croutons
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion, separated into rings

  • Combine cranberries and vinegar in a small bowl. Cover and let stand 30 minutes. Add the mayonnaise and the next five ingredients (mayonnaise through garlic); stir well with a whisk. Cover and chill. Combine lettuce and remaining ingredients in a large bowl; add dressing, tossing gently to coat. Serve immediately.

    Nutrition per serving: 115 calories, 3.1g fat (0.5g sat.), 3mg cholesterol, 295mg sodium and 1.7g fiber.

    4. Nonfat Sour Cream Cake Bread

    Members of eDiets Recipe Club are invited to submit their favorites. This recipe received a five stars…out of a possible five! Julia O. submitted this "bread" that's more like a cake, and uses egg whites, nonfat milk and fat-free sour cream to lower the fat and calories, but is still satisfyingly flavorful. Makes 12 servings.


  • 3/4 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast

  • Combine sour cream, sugar, egg whites, milk, vanilla, salt, and yeast in medium bowl. Mix until smooth. Pile the flour in a large flat pan and make a well in the center. Pour the sour cream mixture into the center and draw in the flour until a soft dough is formed. Gradually work in a little flour until the dough is pliant and soft but not sticky. Knead until smooth but add a minimum of flour to keep the dough from sticking.

    Place in a pan and leave to rise until doubled in bulk. Beat down, knead briefly, then place in a lightly sprayed 9 inch Bundt cake pan. Leave to rise until doubled in bulk. Bake bread in a preheated 425 degrees oven for 25 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until golden brown on top. If necessary, cover with foil to keep from darkening. Immediately remove from cake pan and place on rack to cool.

    Nutrition per serving: 166 calories, 0.4g fat (0g sat.), 3mg cholesterol, 127mg sodium and 1.1g fiber.

    5. Creamy Italian White Bean Soup

    Colleen R. submitted this quick soup recipe to the eDiets Recipe Club. Using canned white kidney beans, chicken broth and fresh spinach, garnish with shredded Parmesan cheese. Makes four servings.


  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 (16 ounce) cans white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach, rinsed and thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice

  • In a large saucepan, heat oil. Cook onion and celery in oil for 5 to 8 minutes, or until tender. Add garlic, and cook for 30 seconds, continually stirring. Stir in beans, chicken broth, pepper, thyme and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and then simmer for 15 minutes.

    With slotted spoon, remove 2 cups of the bean and vegetable mixture from soup and set aside. In blender at low speed, blend remaining soup in small batches until smooth, (it helps to remove the center piece of the blender lid to allow steam to escape.) Once blended pour soup back into stock pot and stir in reserved beans. Bring to a boil, occasionally stirring. Stir in spinach and cook 1 minute or until spinach is wilted. Stir in lemon juice and remove from heat and serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese on top.

    Nutrition per serving: 248 calories, 5.5g fat (1g sat.), 0mg cholesterol, 957mg sodium and 11.7g fiber.

    6. Broccoli-Cauliflower Casserole

    Nicole Bengtson, from eDiets nutrition services team, said about this holiday favorite, "I don't normally add sauces and butter to my veggies, but at holidays, I treat myself! I've modified this recipe to make it healthier by using reduced fat, reduced sodium products, cutting back on the amount of fat (butter, mayonnaise) and cheese, and using one whole egg plus one egg white instead of two whole eggs. I've cut the calories in half, taken out a third of the fat and cut the sodium in half."

    Serves 12


  • 1 16 oz. pkg. frozen broccoli cuts
  • 1 16 oz pkg. frozen cauliflower florets
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise, low fat
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup, low fat, low sodium
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, low fat

  • Topping:

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 sleeve of reduced-fat Ritz Crackers, crushed

  • Thaw and drain the frozen vegetables. Mix all ingredients together and place in a 9x13 baking dish prepared with cooking spray. Mix together and sprinkle topping over casserole. Bake casserole at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes until topping is browned.

    Nutritional value: 136 calories, 8g fat (3g sat.), 32mg cholesterol, 210 sodium and 1g fiber.

    7. Sweet Potato Casserole

    Julia Cruz, of eDiets' nutrition services team, loves to make this exquisite sweet potato dish all year long, but especially during the "winter" holiday season. There's just something about sweet potatoes that make meals feel festive. Serves eight.


  • 3 lbs. sweet potatoes, scrubbed and pricked
  • 1 cup pineapple tidbits, canned in juice and drained
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake potatoes in a foil-lined shallow baking pan in lower third of oven until very tender, about 1 hour. Remove potatoes and lower oven temperature to 325 degrees. When cool enough to handle, halve lengthwise and scoop out warm flesh into a large bowl. Mash potatoes with a potato masher or fork.

    In a separate bowl, mix the pineapple tidbits with the brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger. Mix until blended pineapple mixture and mashed sweet potatoes until well blended. Smooth into Pyrex baking pan lightly coated with cooking spray and bake, uncovered, for about 25 minutes.

    Nutrition per serving: 204 calories, 0g sat. fat, 0g cholesterol, 60mg sodium and 6g fiber.

    Yes, holidays and celebrations may be challenging, but you're up to it. Make this a healthy holiday season and change your traditional fatty favorites into delicious, healthy ones. Santa is roly-poly for a reason—traditional Christmas recipes are like stocking stuffers, so rich that they make the sock bulge bigger! It doesn't have to be so. "Living large" is not my New Year's resolution, living lean is. Don't be a Scrooge with taste, but be frugal with calories.

    Top Tips for making your holiday recipes healthy ones.

  • Low-fat cooking techniques make all recipes healthier. Bake, broil, grill…poach and sauté foods in a very little bit of fat in a nonstick pan.
  • Use nonstick pans: for baking, grilling, for breads and cookies, for sauteing and even for soup. Nonstick is one of life's little pleasures…you need to just lightly spray with cooking oil.
  • Reduce the fat in the recipes: one of the simplest methods of making all your recipes healthier is reducing the amount of fat in a recipe. If the recipe calls for ½ cup of oil, use 1/4 cup, plus 1/4-cup fruit puree or unsweetened applesauce. This is good for any quick bread, cookie, or cake: yeast breads and piecrusts need a precise balance of ingredients…but experiment to see if you get acceptable results.
  • Don't add fat to your food…especially unhealthy, saturated fats. Most stores carry margarines without trans fat if you want to put a spread on the table. Instead of basting the turkey with butter, try flavorful vegetable broth, white wine or orange juice (my personal favorite).
  • Buy low-fat and nonfat varieties of milk, sour cream, yogurt and cheese to lower the fat and calories effortlessly. I use low fat buttermilk in baking; substitute for milk in any recipe.
  • Substitute 3 tablespoons of cocoa plus 1 tablespoon of canola oil for 1 ounce of baking chocolate, and lower the saturated fat.
  • Substitute two egg whites equal one whole egg, depending on the size; all the fat, cholesterol and most of the calories from eggs are in the yolk.
  • Substitute crunchy cereal for bread crumbs…I like to use crushed corn flakes or nuggets like Grape Nuts.
  • Cut servings smaller…how simple but effective! Make that cake serve 12 instead of eight.
  • Buy the leanest cuts of meat, and substitute 1/3 ground turkey breast; don't buy "ground turkey" because it also contains skin and dark meat, making it just as caloric as ground meat…or more.
  • Don't forget; the holidays are not an excuse for "cheating" on your meal plan. Going out or staying in, your choices determine how much you gain…or if you maintain your weight over the holidays.
  • Don't skip meals, keep exercising (in fact, make it your business to get the whole crowd out for a walk after your big meal!), and remember…there are no "good" or "bad" foods, just fatty and high in calories, or healthier because they're not full of sugar and saturated or trans fat. Just plan for a small portion of something that's especially traditional if you like, and balance with a healthy meal.

  • Nutritionist Susan L. Burke is a registered and licensed dietitian and a certified diabetes educator who specializes in both general and diabetes-related weight management.


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