BHealthy Blog

3 Recipes to Lighten Up Your Holiday Spread

Don’t let the holidays derail your progress! You can enjoy festive fall food without the unwanted fat and calories thanks to these three simple recipes from Ashleigh Pharis, RD, and Baptist Health Nutrition Counseling Center-Fort Smith. 

Pharis uses healthy swaps like Greek yogurt and tofu to add protein to each dish and keep you satisfied longer. Using applesauce in place of oil or a sugar substitute like Stevia or honey instead of white sugar can also help lighten up your meal. Fresh herbs and spices can also help you add flavor without adding fat and calories to a dish. Check out these recipes, perfect for any holiday brunch or gathering. 

Apple Crisp Pancakes

1 cup finely chopped apples
1 cup quick cook oats
1 cup flour
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ cup brown sugar, divided
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. allspice
¼ cup olive oil (can substitute apple sauce)
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 cup buttermilk

Directions: Toss apples in 2 tbsp. brown sugar, set aside. In a large bowl, stir together oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and allspice. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, oil, remaining 2 tbsp. brown sugar, yogurt and buttermilk. Stir into a dry mixture. Stir in apples. Heat 2 tbsp. butter in a skillet and cook ¼ cup pancake batter on medium high heat, flipping halfway through.

Butternut Squash Goat Cheese Dip

3 cups (about 16 oz.) cubed butternut squash
3 tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. goat cheese
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. each salt and pepper
¼ tsp nutmeg
3 tbsp. fresh rosemary for garnish

Directions: Toss squash in olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic; place on a sheet pan and roast in the oven at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. Once squash is tender when pierced with a fork, remove from the oven and turn down heat to 350 degrees. Place squash in a food processor or mixing bowl and blend squash until smooth. Stir in nutmeg, goat cheese and yogurt. Spread into a greased baking dish and bake for additional 20-25 minutes to heat through. Stir occasionally. Remove from the oven and top with rosemary. Serve immediately with warm pita and veggies.

Silky Pumpkin Pie with Pecan-Studded Crust


11 oz. silken (soft) tofu, drained
15 oz. can pumpkin pie filling
½ cup white sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. clove
¼ tsp. allspice

Pecan Crust:
¼ cup flour
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
¾ stick butter, cold and cut into chunks
3 tbsp. cold water
2 tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt

Directions: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prepare the crust. In a food processor, mix flour, salt and butter until coarse crumb forms. In a separate bowl, toss sugar with pecans. Pulse into flour mixture then turn out onto a well-floured counter. Slowly knead in 3 tbsp. flour until the dough is just combined. Chill dough for 15 minutes. Prepare custard by combining all ingredients to a blender. Roll out the chilled crust and press into a pie plate. Dock with a fork. Pour in custard and place in a preheated oven. After 15 minutes, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 40-50 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

For more recipes to help you stay healthy this year, check out our Eat Well section of the BHealthy blog.