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A handful of healthy holiday recipes

Last Modified: December 07, 2023

Nutrition & Recipes

holiday recipes


Celebrate the season by sampling all the festive flavors you cherish with these healthy recipe options. Andrea Miller, RDN, Parkview Health, shared five dishes packed full of good-for-you ingredients that are sure to bring merriment to your holiday table.

Baked Berry Oatmeal

2 cups quick-cook oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 cups skim milk
2 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ tablespoon melted butter
2 cups frozen mixed berries
¼ cup pecans, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and brown sugar. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the milk, eggs, vanilla and butter.
  4. Layer 1 cup berries in the bottom of the baking dish. Top berries evenly with the oat mixture. Next, pour the wet mixture over the oats. Finally, top with the remaining 1 cup of berries and the chopped pecans. 
  5. Bake 15–20 minutes or until the oats have absorbed the liquid.

Note: If using non-quick cook oats, increase baking time to 35–40 minutes. 

Serves 6

Nutrition per serving: Calories: 271.7; Total Fat: 9.8 g; Saturated Fat: 2.7 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.2 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4.2 g; Cholesterol: 71.4 mg; Sodium: 240.4 mg; Potassium: 262.6 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 41.3 g; Dietary Fiber: 5.0 g; Sugars: 20.7 g; Protein: 9.7 g

Cranberry Salsa

12 ounces fresh cranberries
¼ cup sliced green onions
2 jalapenos, cut into small chunks
¼ cup fresh cilantro (about a handful)
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup sugar (add more or less to taste)
Optional for serving: cream cheese, tortilla chips, crackers, jicama slices

  1. Rinse cranberries and discard any that are soft.
  2. Add cilantro, jalapeno and cranberries to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times until all ingredients are finely chopped but be careful not to process too much!
  3. Transfer to a bowl and add grated ginger, lemon juice and sugar. Feel free to adjust the sugar to taste, but less is healthier! Cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours to allow the flavors to develop if time allows.  
  4. Serve plain or over a brick of cream cheese with tortilla chips, crackers, or jicama slices.

Serves 8

Nutrition per serving: Calories: 48.7; Total Fat: 0.1 g; Saturated Fat: 0.0 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0.0 g; Cholesterol: 0.0 mg; Sodium: 1.5 mg; Potassium 62.1 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 12.5 g; Dietary Fiber: 2.3 g; Sugars: 8.4 g; Protein: 0.4 g

ABC Muffins

2 cups diced apples
1 cup diced butternut squash
1 cup diced carrot
1½ cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
⅓ cup honey
2 tablespoons oil or melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. To make the fruit and vegetable puree: Place a steam basket in the bottom of a medium-sized pot. Add enough water to cover the bottom by about ¼-inch. Add diced apples, squash and carrot to the steam basket. Steam vegetables on stovetop over medium-high heat for 10–15 minutes, or until fork-tender.  Allow to cool slightly. 
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or spray the tin with non-stick cooking spray. Tip: it may help to spray paper liners with cooking spray to prevent sticking since this recipe is low in fat.  
  3. Measure out the flour, spice, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a medium-sized bowl.  
  4. Transfer steamed produce to a blender along with eggs, honey, oil and vanilla. Blend until smooth. 
  5. Pour the contents of the blender into the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. 
  6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.
  7. Bake for 18–22 minutes for standard-sized muffins, or 10-15 min for mini muffins. When a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, they are done. 
  8. Serve warm or cool completely to store. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.  

Serves 12

Nutrition per serving: Calories: 133.7; Total Fat: 3.5 g; Cholesterol: 31.0 mg; Sodium: 183.9 mg; Potassium: 120.6 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 24.4 g; Dietary Fiber: 3.1 g; Sugars: 10.5; Protein: 3.4 g; Vitamin A: 50.8%; Vitamin C: 7.3%

Christmas Bark

12 ounces good quality chocolate chips
½ cup pepitas or pistachios
¼ cup candied ginger, chopped if large pieces
¼ cup dried cranberries or cherries

  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or on the stovetop in a double boiler. For the microwave method, microwave in 30-second increments, stirring every 30 seconds until the chocolate is melted. For the double boiler method, you will need a small saucepan with a little water in the bottom and a heat-proof bowl to rest over the top of the saucepan. Heat the water in the pan until gently simmering. Place the chocolate in the heat-proof bowl and set it over the saucepan. Heat and stir until the chocolate melts. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate or get water in the chocolate—both would result in clumpy chocolate.
  3. Pour the melted chocolate into the center of the prepared baking sheet. Use a spatula to evenly spread the chocolate into a layer ¼-inch thick.
  4. Sprinkle nuts/seeds, ginger and dried fruit over the melted chocolate. Lightly press the toppings into the chocolate. Let rest at room temperature for 2–4 hours or until completely hardened.
  5. Once hardened, use your hand to break into portioned pieces. Serve immediately or cover and store at room temperature for about a week.

Note: Make your own version using your favorite toasted nuts, seeds and dried fruits! This makes a great homemade holiday gift!

Gingerbread Granola

2 cups rolled oats
½ cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
1 tablespoon chia seeds
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
3 tablespoons applesauce
¼ cup molasses
3 tablespoons nut butter, such as almond or peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup candied ginger

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a reusable silicone baking mat.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats, pepitas, flax, chia, salt and spices.
  3. In a medium microwavable bowl, combine applesauce, molasses and nut butter.
  4. Microwave wet ingredients for about a minute. Remove and stir until well-blended. Stir in vanilla extract.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir well.
  6. Spread the mixture onto a prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10–15 minutes, stir and add dried cranberries. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month.

Notes: Individualize this recipe by using your own spice blend, your favorite nuts/seeds or your favorite dried fruits!

For more recipe inspiration, visit us on Pinterest!

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