17 Simple Swaps for a Healthy Holiday

By: Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN

The holidays are a time of food, drinks and more food, so it’s common for many of us to enter into a new year feeling bloated, low on energy and just stuffed. Literally. The good news is that there are certainly ways to get through the holidays without feeling like you’ve just wrecked your health for the year, while still having fun. To help you navigate the holiday season, here are some simple holiday swaps to try that can help keep you out of trouble, and help you stay on your healthy eating routine. 


Don’t Drown in Unhealthy Drinks

  • Swap traditional eggnog for this lighter vegan version – you’ll save about 200 calories per serving (wow!)
  • Swap your chai latte for regular chai tea and add a splash of your own fat-free or low-fat milk or dairy substitute – you’ll save 100 – 200+ calories
  • Swap traditional hot chocolate for this simple and homemade, vegan hot chocolate and save 100+ calories
  • Swap a pumpkin spice latte with a plain nonfat dairy or almond milk latte and save 30-60 calories and 6-15 grams of sugar
  • Skip the orange juice at your holiday breakfast, and instead try this fresh ginger, grapefruit juice. You’ll gain lots of healthful and immune-boosting nutrients and save added sugar too.

Don’t Be Afraid of Apps

  • Swap the artichoke dip at the holiday party for hummus, you’ll save 100 – 200 calories or more (here’s our favorite hummus recipe)
  • Swap the candied nuts for unsalted raw or roasted nuts and save 17v- 20 grams of sugar per 1 oz serving
  • Skip the fried options like mozzarella sticks and spring rolls and instead go for fresh items like shrimp cocktail and summer rolls — you’ll save yourself from eating too many unhealthy saturated and trans fats and gain a ton of healthful nutrients
  • Swap processed and bagged popcorn for this simple air-popped, flavorful popcorn and save potential chemicals, preservatives and added sugars

Mangia the Healthy Mains

Pumpkin Turmeric Soup

  • Skip the cream-based soup and instead go for the veggie-based, no-dairy soup — you’ll save yourself both calories and fat depending on the soup option (all of our soups are excellent and light)
  • Swap the turkey sliced with the skin on it, for the one without it (brown or white meat)
  • Swap traditional maple-syrup sweetened mashed sweet potatoes with these garlic mashed sweet potatoes — you’ll  save 200-300 calories and 30-40 grams of sugar
  • Skip the traditional macaroni and cheese and instead try this butternut squash mac and cheese and save some saturated fat, but also save a ton of salt- upwards of 1000 mg (that’s about ½ of the daily recommended amount)

You Don’t Need to Diss Dessert

Paleo Pumpkin Bread

  • Swap traditional pumpkin bread with this paleo pumpkin bread — you’ll save about 200 calories per slice and about 25 grams of sugar as well
  • Swap pecan pie for pumpkin pie — you’ll save 100+ calories (and a good amount of fat too!)
  • Swap milk chocolate candies for dark chocolate candies and save 10-15 grams of sugar per serving
  • Skip the classic whipped cream and instead try this cashew cream, you’ll save saturated fat and will gain heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory properties

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Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN

Isabel is a Registered Dietitian, wellness expert and fitness coach. Isabel has her own nutrition and wellness practice based in New York City, Isabel Smith Nutrition, but she works with clients and corporations both nationwide and worldwide in a variety of areas including skin health, weight loss, gastrointestinal issues and allergies, sports nutrition, general wellness and more. As a Guided Reboot coach, Isabel has helped hundreds juice their way to better health. When she isn’t helping clients achieve optimal nutrition and wellness, she can be found trying and creating new juices and making other healthy recipes, running, cooking, spinning, practicing yoga, and enjoying time with her two Yorkshire terriers. Isabel is also one of the nutritionists who runs our Guided Reboot programs.

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