How to Feast Holiday-Healthy: Family Favorite Recipes (and Desserts!)
Oh, how I LOVE the holidays! The decorating, the food, friends, and family get-togethers.
I love it all…except for one thing:
The number of children and adults who come through my practice with colds, flu, croup, stomach viruses, and other horribly unpleasant conditions brought on by compromised immunity.
Ugh! I dread seeing so many unhappy and unhealthy faces this time of year. Especially since many of these common cold-and-flu-season illnesses are preventable.
The culprit? Nine times out of ten, it’s holiday eating gone awry.
Any doctor (holistic or not) will tell you the sickness season starts about three days after Halloween. First the body gets hit with too much trick or treat candy…
…then another blow comes with Thanksgiving over-feasting, layered with travel and stress…
…the next punch comes from a month of holiday candies, chocolates, cookies, cakes, egg nog, cocktails…you get the idea.
Our bodies get an annual beating all in the name of “Holiday Cheer.”
Does this mean you avoid all holiday fun and make your kids sit at home eating bland, boring, health food?
Heck no! Depriving you and your family of the spirit of the holidays—including baking, cooking and feasting on delicious, festive foods—is not healthy for anyone.
The good news is holiday food really CAN be healthful and sinfully delicious without additives, refined sugar, dyes, preservatives, GMOs, or other over-processed food products. Yes, it is possible!
I’m here to tell you how to feast holiday-healthy with family favorite recipes (and desserts!)
So today I issue you a challenge. Make a change this holiday by swapping out a couple of your slightly-less-than-healthy traditional dishes, with a few of my family’s favorite holiday-healthy recipes.
If you’re nervous about the kids, relax! These recipes have ALL been completely doctor-mama and kid-approved deee-licious (and we all know how particular children can be). Plus, the desserts are a really big hit, so be sure to scroll through to the end.
I’ve even included pictures, but please be kind; I am a far better cook, mother, and doctor than I am a photographer!!
Change up the usual routine salad with this:
9 Layer Salad
Serves: About 8
- 5 cups spinach
- 1 medium cucumber
- 4 large cremini or organic button mushrooms
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1/2 a red or white onion
- 1 large tomato or 3 Roma tomatoes
- 1 cup organic frozen peas (thawed by setting in refrigerator overnight)
- 1/2 cup black olives (Cerignola are my favorite)
- 2 cups plain goat yogurt (or organic raw cow’s milk yogurt) mixed with 1 packet Simply Organic Chipotle Black Bean Dip
- Chop all veggies and place in separate prep bowls or on a big cutting board.
- Take out a large round bowl that is symmetrical in size on the top to the bottom (a trifle dish is nice for presentation).
- Start by layering the spinach on bottom, cucumbers, mushrooms, peppers, onions, and tomatoes. I do a single layer each but get creative and do what you like.
- In a separate bowl, mix plain goat yogurt and Chipotle Black Bean Dip.
- Spread the combined mixture of the goat yogurt and dip over the salad.
- Add peas and black olives on top of the spread.
- We have added shredded bits of raw sheep cheese like Pecorino, and it adds a bit more flavor.
- Refrigerate for 2-4 hours before serving. Delicious!
Portobello Mushroom Pizzas
Serves: 4 hungry kids (or grown-ups)
- ½ medium onion
- 1 organic bell pepper
- 4 mini mushrooms (cremini or organic button)
- 1 lb ground beef (preferably grass-fed, organic)
- 4 large Portobello mushrooms
- 8 oz. Organic tomato sauce
- Black olives (optional)
- Goat/Sheep/Raw Cow/Almond Cheese (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 F OR grill to medium.
- Brown the ground beef and add whatever spices you may enjoy like basil, oregano (1 drop of oregano essential oil), pepper, rosemary, etc.
- Drain excess fat from the beef, and set beef aside.
- In the same pan, melt the coconut oil and saute the onion, bell pepper, mini mushrooms.
- While the veggies are sauteing, clean large Portobello mushrooms and remove stem and gills on the underside of mushroom.
- Combine sauteed veggies with the ground beef in the same pan and add tomato sauce.
- Scoop the veggie-beef-sauce combination and black olives (if desired) into the underside of the Portobello mushroom (see pic below).
Portobello Mushroom Pizzas (before cooking – half with cheese, half without)
- Bake on a cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes at 350 F.
You can also grill them, which takes a shorter time like 10 minutes.
- Take out of oven (or off grill) and add bits of cheese or shredded cheese to the top.
Delicious Apple Crunch Dessert
- 3 lbs organic granny smith apples sliced (leave skins on for extra nutrients)
- 1 cup chopped raw pecans
- 1 cup chopped raw walnuts
- 4 Tablespoons organic shredded coconut flakes
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Slice apples and place in a 9X13 inch pan.
- Chop nuts by hand or gently pulse in a food processor so they’re chunky (not flour) and mix with the coconut flakes then spread the mixture of nuts and coconut flakes over the top of the apples (see pic below for a visual).
Delicious Apple Crunch (before baking)
- Bake in oven for 40 minutes (or until apples are soft, you can test by inserting a fork to ensure they are fork-tender).
My little ones LOVE sweet potatoes. Here are a couple of their favorite recipes that are sure to be a hit with children young and old.
These are also wonderful babyhood recipes for older infants eating combination purees.
Original Sweet Potato Dish
- 1 large organic sweet potato, scrubbed
- 1 organic gala apple
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Wrap sweet potato in foil and bake until soft (about 40 minutes).
- Take out of oven and remove skin.
- In a Vitamix (or other high-powered blender) add 1 organic gala apple, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp coconut oil and the baked sweet potato flesh, and blend together.
- Serve warm or cooled.
Japanese Sweet Potato Dish
- 1 organic Japanese sweet potato (I get these at Whole Foods Market)
- 1 ripe red mango
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Wrap Japanese sweet potato (must be an organic Japanese sweet potato) in foil and bake until soft (about 40 min).
- Remove from oven and take off the peel.
- Peel ripe red mango and combine with Japanese sweet potato in Vitamix.
- Puree the two together and serve.
Acorn Squash Delight
- 1 medium acorn squash
- 1 organic apple
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Cut acorn squash in half and remove the seeds.
- Place the acorn squash squash-side-down in a deep roasting pan or casserole dish with a half-inch of water.
- Bake until soft (usually 30 minutes) and remove from oven.
- Let sit until cool enough to handle.
- Once cooled, remove the skin and place in Vitamix (or any high-powered blender).
- Then toss in the washed apple and cinnamon.
- Blend and serve.
Fig and Almond Clump Dessert
- 8 organic dried figs
- 1/2 cup organic almonds
- 1/2 – 1 tsp vanilla extract (gluten-free)
- Soak one cup almonds overnight, the next day remove the skins and dry until crispy in dehydrator or oven.
- Once almonds are dried, put in food processor to make a paste and add in the vanilla extract.
- Cut the fig only on one end and through the middle, somewhat like a tipi.
- Then stuff the almond paste in the fig and voila! Easy peasy!
Try these recipes for yourself and let me know what your family thinks in the comments section below!
If you’d like some other fantastic recipe ideas for your family to promote well-being around the holidays, be sure to have a look at my Top 15 Paleo Recipes here. They are guaranteed to please the whole family!
Happy healthy-holiday feasting from me, Veyda, Vianna and Jeremy!
-Dr. Jessica & Family
Hi! I'm Dr. Jessica
I’m Dr. Jessica Payne, Medical Intuitive, Doctor of Natural Medicine, and your go-to guide for living your life naturally…More
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