Healthy recipes for winter holidays

Healthy recipes for winter holidays

Dec 18 2023

Whatever holidays you observe, the winter months are sure to be filled with delicious food. Find your next dish to pass here.

Several holiday celebrations occur in November and December that often involve gathering with friends and family to share a meal. Whether you observe Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or another celebration, you may be searching for a dish to pass at your holiday gathering. From appetizers to dessert, check out these recipe ideas to add a healthy twist to your next potluck. Whether you bring a traditional dish to pass or decide to try a new and unique recipe from  another observance, these recipes are sure to be crowd pleasers.

Appetizers and Side Dishes

The true stars of any holiday meal are often the sides. Begin your celebratory meal right with one of these tasty starters:

  • Latkes: A dish traditionally made for Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday typically celebrated in late November and early December, these potato pancakes are a delicious way to start your meal. Save on time and limit the amount of oil used to make your latkes by preparing them in an air fryer. You can also switch it up by making them from butternut squash or sweet potatoes instead of russet potatoes. Traditional toppings include sour cream and applesauce, offering both sweet and savory options!collard greens
  • Collard Greens: This side is often seen at Kwanzaa gatherings, a nondenominational holiday where African Americans celebrate their African roots and culture. Filled with veggies and bursting with flavor, this dish will find its way on to everyone’s plates. There are also many variations to choose from to best fit your preferences and dietary needs – check out this option that adds extra flavor using bacon!
  • Broccoli Casserole: This dish is a frequent flyer at Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and many other celebrations. Despite having broccoli in the name, it can often be a very heavy side filled with fat and sodium. Lighten it up with this version that incorporates whole wheat bread, less butter, and lower fat and sodium options.

Main Dishes

Unlike a Thanksgiving turkey, winter holidays don’t have a main dish that seems to end up on most people’s tables. Some families enjoy a ham; others enjoy fried chicken or brisket. No matter your preference, check out these delicious options.

  • Herbed Chicken Thighs: Chicken is eaten throughout Africa, and often makes its way onto dinner tables when celebrating Kwanzaa. With this delicious recipe you can prepare the chicken however you’d like; baked, fried, grilled, and more! No matter how you prep it, this dish is bursting with flavor and sure to be a crowd pleaser for all.
  • Brisket: A common main dish for major Jewish celebrations, this brisket is a little different than the Texas-style meat many of us are familiar with. Jewish briskets are typically braised with a variety of vegetables including carrots, celery and onions – adding delicious flavors and additional nutrients!
  • Prime Rib: Try your hand at cooking a flavorful prime rib this holiday season with this simple recipe. Incorporating many traditional Christmas flavors like rosemary, this meat dish will be a juicy favorite for all at your holiday gathering. Not to mention, it’s a perfect recipe for other special occasions throughout the year.
  • KugelKugel: Looking for a meat free main dish? Consider kugel, a traditional Jewish noodle casserole. This dish can be made as a sweet casserole or a savory one – whichever you prefer! Looking for a gluten free option, or simply want to incorporate more veggies? Check out this zucchini noodle rendition. Need it vegan? Try this sweet potato version.


Wrap up your holiday feast with a little something sweet, like these mouthwatering ideas.

  • Sufganiyot: These light, jam-filled donuts are a traditional Hannukah treat and a must-try this holiday season. Plus, you can use this air fryer recipe to make the treats with less mess and less fat. They’ll still have the traditional flavors and textures, just a tad healthier.
  • Sugar cookiesSugar Cookies: For many, the holiday season includes some time spent decorating cookies. Lighten up your traditional batch with this recipe – sure to ease up a bit on calories and added sugar without sacrificing any flavor. It also includes ideas for more natural topping ideas if you’re looking to limit your frosting and sprinkle use.
  • Sweet Potato Pie: It’s not a holiday without a little pie! Sweet potato pie in particular is a staple at many Kwanzaa celebrations. Make sure it ends up on your table with this recipe, designed to make two pies so you can gift one or bring both to a large gathering.

No matter which dishes you create, enjoy a happy holiday season filled with peace, joy, and time with those most important to you.

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