Easy, Healthy and Delicious Holiday Noshes That Will Take You from Thanksgiving to Christmas

The holiday season is approaching and now is the time to plan for special family gatherings, and feasting galore! This time of year tends to call for heavier, decadent foods that may unfortunately lead to unnecessary weight gain. What to do? Here are some of my easy, healthy and delicious holiday noshes that won’t impact your waistline nor compromise taste.

Sweet Potato Hummus – I love this spin on traditional hummus for the holiday season. With 5 simple ingredients, this dip is loaded with vitamin C and fiber. Peel and chop 2 large sweet potatoes, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400⁰F until caramelized. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cooled, add ¼ cup tahini paste, ¼ cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and pulse in food processor until creamy.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with chopped raw vegetables.

Dark Chocolate Pistachio – Just a few of these Setton Farms Dark Chocolate Covered Pistachios hits the spot. Not only have studies shown that nuts are good for your heart, but the antioxidants in pistachios and dark chocolate may help to reduce the risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure. It’s easy, just open the convenient resealable bag and serve to guests.

Kale and Apple Salad – Serving a salad before a large meal is a guaranteed way to help reduce calorie intake while loading up on nutrients that keep your body feeling good. This salad is easy and tasty. Combine baby kale, one large chopped apple ( leave the skin on) and a large handful of walnuts. In a separate bowl prepare the dressing. Combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Drizzle dressing over salad and serve.

Parmesan Zucchini “fries” – Zucchini is one of my favorite vegetables. With a mild sweet taste and smooth texture, it’s an easy crowd pleasing vegetable. Filled with vitamins, minerals and phyto-nutrients, zucchini is low in calorie and an excellent vegetable to fill up on. Slice 3 large zucchini’s into “French Fry” style slices keeping the skin on. Combine 3 egg whites, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, ½ cup gluten free bread crumbs and salt and pepper in a bowl. Coat the pieces of zucchini with the mixture and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Sweet and Savory Quinoa Stuffing

I LOVE this stuffing alternative for those looking for a tasty, gluten free option to the traditional heavy stuffing dish.  This quinoa stuffing contains all the savory herb flavors that go with Thanksgiving, with a touch of crunchy apples, sweet potatoes and golden raisins.

Although I'm calling it stuffing, it really is a delicious winter side dish or even excellent meal accompanied witha large green salad. It's loaded withsatisfying flavor and nutrients your body needs. Try it out.  I'm sure it will be a holiday hit. Find the recipe here: Sweet and Savory Quinoa Stuffing.

How do I survive the holidays without spiraling downhill?

Treat Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner just like any other when it comes to the food. Remember, the key is being with family and friends and creating memories, NOT extra weight!

Here are a few things to keep in mind: 

  1. Start your morning with warm lemon water, followed by a healthy breakfast such as a vegetable omelet, overnight oats with fresh fruit, greek yogurt with slivered almonds or a green smoothie. 
  2. Move your body and break a sweat. Go for a run, bike ride or even jump rope for 10 minutes. I guarantee you will feel better after.
  3. Have a healthy snack before heading to your Thanksgiving party.  Half an apple with a schmear of almond butter, a small cup of lentil soup, or a handful of pistachios.  Your goal is to feel satisfied and not starving when you enter the party to prevent mindless over eating.
  4. Enjoy what you love and fill your plate ONCE! If you can't resist seconds stick to salad or vegetable options.
  5. When it comes to desserts, it is all about the choices you make. Choose ONE or maybe bites of a few, but remember those bites add up quickly.

Most importantly, during this holiday season, take the time to relax, laugh and enjoy these magical moments with your friends and family.


Sweet and Savory Quinoa Stuffing

Serves 8-10


  • 2 cups prepared quinoa (preferably cooked in chicken stock)
  • 1 large sweet potato, diced into cubes
  • 1-1/2 cups onion, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 large apple, cored and diced
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans or walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Toss sweet potato cubes with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and place in a roasting pan. Roast sweet potato cubes in the oven about 30 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are cooked through and browning. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. Coat a large frying pan with olive oil and begin heating over medium heat. Add onion, celery and bay leaf to the pan and sauté until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, rosemary, thyme and sage (along with a pinch of salt) to the pan with the onions and celery and continue cooking, stirring often, another 3 minutes.
  4. Add quinoa to a large bowl. Add roasted sweet potato cubes to the quinoa. Add the onion, celery, garlic herb mixture to the quinoa (discard the bay leaf) and stir together well.
  5. In the same pan you cooked the onion, celery garlic mixture, over medium-high heat, add the diced apple and cook about 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Add cooked diced apple to the quinoa.
  6. Add raisins, nuts, apple cider vinegar, parsley and cumin to the quinoa and stir well. Salt and pepper to taste.

Sweet Potato, Kale and Quinoa Fritters

Makes 18-20 / 2”mini patties or 6


  • 1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes cooked and pureed. Makes about 3 cups
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa—Approximately 1 cup of uncooked quinoa yields 2.25 cups when cooked.
  • 2 cups kale finely chopped.  I used Lacinto kale but any kale will work
  • 2 eggs (vegan: substitute 2 tablespoons ground flax seed + 3 tablespoons of water)
  • ½ cup gluten free ground oats or almond flour
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch. If using the almond meal add one extra teaspoon.
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger or ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 good pinch paprika or smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4–6 tablespoons grape seed oil or coconut oil to pan fry them.


  1. Devein the Kale, make it into a tight roll and chop chiffonade style.
  2. In a medium size bowl, place all ingredients and mix well.
  3. In a medium size pan heat up about 4–6 tablespoons of grape seed oil, peanut oil or coconut oil.
  4. With a small Ice cream scooper scoop about 6 patties into the pan and slightly flatten the tops.  Cook for about 3–4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. 
  5. Cool them on a rack.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature *Note: Many people have asked me about baking these fritters. It never occurred to me to bake a fritter… So I made a batch and baked half and fried half to see the differences in flavor and texture. Here is the verdict:

Baked Version: Bake them at 375F on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Brush each patty with some grape seed oil and baked for 15-20 minutes flipping them half way. Texture is more firm and they hold up more like a patty, where the inside is a little denser. They have no crispy outside texture.

Pan Fried: Although fried they do not absorb a lot of oil. They have a crispy caramelized outside and creamy less dry inside.