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Healthy Holiday Substitutions

You don’t have to forego your holiday favorites in the name of health. Try one of these lighter ingredients as a substitute in your favorite recipes this holiday season. (Substitute the same amount your recipe calls for unless otherwise noted.)


Enjoy these recipes with healthier substitutes made for you already.

Amazing Butternut Squash
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
½ cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
½ cup finely chopped onion
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 tsp brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup crushed whole grain saltine crackers
2 TBS grated Parmesan cheese
1 TBS reduced fat butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350º. In a large pot, bring the squash to boil. Reduce to a simmer until squash is soft. In a large bowl, mash the softened squash. Mix in the sour cream, onion, egg, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into a 2-quart baking dish. In a medium bowl, mix together crackers, Parmesan and butter. Sprinkle over the squash mixture. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes, until the topping is lightly brown.

Roasted Vegetables
¼ cup apple butter
¼ cup canola oil
2 cups sweet potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
2 cups red potatoes, cut into wedges
1 ½ cups baby carrots
½ cup red onion, roughly chopped
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp seasoned pepper

Preheat oven to 450º. Whisk apple butter and oil in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in all vegetables until well coated. Line baking sheet with foil. Arrange vegetables in a single layer. Sprinkle with garlic powder and seasoned pepper. Bake 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally or until vegetables are tender and golden. Serve warm. Serves 8.

Pumpkin Squares
1 ¼ cup flour (use a mix of white and whole wheat)
¾ cup quick or old fashioned oats
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup finely chopped pecans
2/3 cup reduced-fat margarine or butter
4 eggs (use egg white equivalent)
2 cans (15oz) solid pack pumpkin
2 cans (14oz) low or nonfat sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
Reduced-fat whipped topping (optional)
Pecan halves (optional)

Preheat oven to 325º. Combine flour, oats, brown sugar and pecans. Melt butter and add to dry ingredients, mix well. Press mixture into bottom of a 9×13 pan. Bake 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly beat eggs and add pumpkin,condensed milk and spices. Whisk until smooth. Pour over crust. Bake 35-45 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean. Let cool and add whipped topping and pecan halves if desired.

Information courtesy of Advocates for Health in Action.