The following post is written by guest blogger and USC Dietetic Intern, Jessica Myers. Be sure to check out her Instagram page. @myersxhealth for easy and delicious food and nutrition tips!
What do twinkly lights, decorative coffee cups, and the fresh smell of pine all have in common?
That’s right, the holiday season is upon us! After the unprecedented 2020 year we’ve had, we deserve a happy and festive holiday season. Quarantine has even turned many of us into self-proclaimed Martha Stewarts. I’m not kidding, I’ve made too many banana bread recipes to count. While this holiday season is definitely one to enjoy and indulge in, we want to be sure to still be mindful of what we are putting on our plates. Rather than thinking of all the foods I need to restrict, I think about all the delicious and heart-healthy foods that I am able to include on my plate!
Shifting your mindset from “I can’t have my favorite holiday foods” to “I get to have delicious food like mom’s roasted potatoes and grandma’s famous bread pudding” will create a healthier relationship with food and will make following any dietary pattern, like a low sodium diet, more doable and enjoyable. I like to follow the balanced plate method, especially when I have a lot of food to choose from, to ensure I am eating a well-balanced meal including all the food groups! The plate method consists of half of your plate being non-starchy vegetables (green beans, cauliflower, and carrots, for example) a quarter from a lean protein source (turkey, chicken, beans, etc) and the other quarter being a grain or starchy food (potatoes, rice, pasta, whole grains as much as possible).
Martha Stewart or not, many of us are still searching for the perfect recipes to whip up for our loved ones! Below are heart-healthy holiday recipes, created by fellow dietitians and recipe developers, for you and yours to enjoy! If you have a favorite heart-healthy holiday favorite, let me know in the comments!
Note about sodium: Some authors specifically pointed out that their recipes are lower in sodium.
Heart-Healthy Holiday Recipes from Dietitians and Food Bloggers
Orange Yogurt Cranberry Tart Judy Barbe RD, author of Your 6-week Guide to LiveBest
Cranberry Apple Christmas Breakfast Casserole Healthy Seasonal Recipes
Breakfast Flatbread Pizza with Smoked Salmon, Scrambled Eggs, Avocado & Arugula Lindsey Pine MS, RDN, CLT, TastyBalance Nutrition
Cranberry Pomegranate Baked Oatmeal Sarah Schlichter, Bucket List Tummy
Peanut Butter Banana Protein Baked Oatmeal Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, founder of Nutrition Starting You and author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club
Cinnamon Apple French Toast Jessica Myers, MyersxHealth
Kale, Pepper and Chickpea Shakshuka Lindsey Pine MS, RDN, CLT, TastyBalance Nutrition (lower sodium recipe)
Appetizers & Salads
Fruit and Crunchy Carrot Salad Katheryn Kastner, RD.
A note from Katheryn: This carrot salad is bright and colorful and the perfect appetizer or side for a festive meal. No salt added to the dressing, making it a low sodium recipe.
Celeriac and Apple Salad with Vanilla Honey Dressing Ginger Hultin, Seattle Based RD and Owner of Champagne Nutrition
Simple Brussels Sprouts Salad Julie Kay Andrews, The Gourmet RD
Winter Salad with Pomegranate and Goat Cheese Chelsea Jackle, MFN, RDN, LD of Chelsea Dishes. A note from Chelsea: This recipe is featuring high fiber chickpeas + heart-healthy pistachios. (lower sodium recipe)
Holiday Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pomegranate Kara Lydon, The Foodie Dietitian
Walnut-Pepper Spread Food Network
Baked Brie with Jam and Nuts The Mediterranean Dish
Layered Hummus Dip Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD Owner, Sound Bites Nutrition LLC
Shrimp Cocktail with Romesco Sauce Lindsey Pine MS, RDN, CLT, TastyBalance Nutrition
Vegan Zucchini Gratin Minimalist Baker
Cauliflower Latkes (Pancakes) Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, founder of Nutrition Starting You and author of The Protein – Packed Breakfast Club
Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts + Cranberries and Pecans Christie Gagnon, RD, LD of Hoorah to Health. (lower sodium recipe)
Cumin Roasted Squash with Lemon Tahini Sauce Marisa Westbrook, UpRoot Kitchen. (lower sodium recipe)
Smashed Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Glaze, Pepitas, & Cranberries Melissa Macher, RD of Grateful Meal Nutrition
Slow Cooked Harissa and Cumin Green Beans Epicurious
Lemon Garlic Roasted Asparagus Amy Gorin MS, RDN, Amy Gorin Nutrition
Whole Roasted Kohlrabi with Pomegranate Reduction Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD of It’s a Veg World After All. (A note from Lizzie: This recipe emphasizes heart-healthy pomegranate juice.)
Roasted Leeks & Persimmons with Goat Cheese Lindsey Pine MS, RDN, CLT, TastyBalance Nutrition (lower sodium recipe)
Green Beans with Pecans, Cranberries & Parmesan Karman Meyer, RD, LDN and founder of The Nutrition Adventure
Pesto Scalloped Potatoes Laura Yautz, RDN at Being Nutritious
Make-Ahead Corn Casserole From Scratch Megan Byrd, The Oregon Dietitian
Israeli Salad with Apples, Cranberries and Herbs Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network
Wild Rice with Shiitakes and Toasted Almonds Victoria Abbott Riccardi, Eating Well
Easy Roasted Root Vegetables Sara Haas, RDN, Author and Consultant Culinary RD
Butternut Squash Cranberry Apple Bake Lauren Sharifi, Lauren Sharifi Nutrition
Roasted Salmon with Herbs and Pomegranate Jenny Shea Rawn, MS, MPH, RD of My Cape Cod Kitchen
Bison Steaks with Fig Balsamic Sauce Food & Wine
Easy Baked Fish with Garlic and Basil The Mediterranean Dish
Scallops with Grapefruit and Onion Salad Food & Wine
Grilled Cornish Hens with Herb Brine Southern Living
Grilled Citrus Chicken with Raspberry Red Wine Sauce Lindsey Pine MS, RDN, CLT, TastyBalance Nutrition
Vegan Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese This Healthy Kitchen
Sun-Dried Tomato Vegan Meatballs The Minimalist Baker
Chard and Herbed Ricotta Galette Ivy Manning, Eating Well
Vegetarian Vegetable Wellington OMG! Yummy
Virgin Prune Pineapple Sangria + Rosemary Syrup Amy Gorin MS, RDN, Amy Gorin Nutrition. (lower sodium recipe)
Hot Wassail Christie Gagnon, RD, LD of Hoorah to Health. (lower sodium recipe)
Ginger Pomegranate Sparkler Lindsey Pine MS, RDN, CLT, TastyBalance Nutrition (lower sodium recipe)
Simple Vegan Eggnog Cocktail Ginger Hultin, Seattle Based RD and Owner of Champagne Nutrition
Gingerbread Hot Cocoa Laura Yautz, RDN at Being Nutritious
Cookie Dough Hummus Chrissy Carroll, Snacking Sneakers
Roasted Pear with Dried Plums and Pistachios Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, founder of Nutrition Starting You and author of The Protein – Packed Breakfast Club. (lower sodium recipe)
No Added Sugar Fruit and Nut Bread Elizabeth Ward, Better Is The New Perfect. (lower sodium recipe) (A note from Elizabeth: This is not grandma’s fruitcake! It’s a quick bread that is packed with great taste without added sugar. It’s low in sodium, and happens to be gluten-free too!)
Holiday Spice Cake Christie Gagnon, RD, LD of Hoorah to Health. (lower sodium recipe)
Cranberry Semifreddo Lindsey Pine MS, RDN, CLT, TastyBalance Nutrition
Cheesecake with Blackberry Compote Klara Knezevic, RDN, LD, CLT, Rebecca Bitzer MS RD & Associates
Customizable Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles Mackenzie Burgess, Cheerful Choices. (lower sodium recipe)
Warm Berry Crumble Jessica Myers, myersxhealth (lower sodium recipe) –> Recipe Below!
If you are anything like me, then you manage to somehow botch any baking recipe that you attempt to make. They say perfectionism is key for baking so being the perfectionist that I am, I really thought I had baking in the bag. Apparently not. This is why I love to make this warm berry crisp. There is no such thing as messing up when baking a crisp, so you better believe this is my go-to dessert recipe, year-round!
I also love making this because most of the ingredients are items that you have laying around at home. Plus, I can use up all of those frozen berries that I buy for my smoothies and forget to use! Need more of a reason to try this recipe? Believe it or not, this crisp also makes for a heart-healthy dessert thanks to the addition of walnuts, flaxseeds, almond flour, and berries. Essentially, this warm berry crisp is packed with fiber, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and many micronutrients making it healthy for your heart, literally and figuratively. Happy Holidays!
Warm Berry Crumble
This crumble is a heart-healthy dessert thanks to the addition of walnuts, flaxseeds, almond flour, and berries. It’s packed with fiber, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and many micronutrients and super simple to make!
3 cups frozen berry mix
6 medjool dates, pitted
⅓ packed cup almond flour
⅓ cup walnuts
2 Tablespoons ground flaxseeds
⅓ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
½ lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 packed Tablespoon arrowroot starch
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
To make the topping, add the coconut oil, dates, and ½ of the vanilla extract in a food processor and blend until it looks like a paste. Then add the almond flour, walnuts, coconut flakes, ground flax seeds, and ½ of the cinnamon, and process into a crumb-like consistency. Set aside.
Add your frozen berries and arrowroot starch to a bowl and combine well enough so the mixture is evenly coated. Add the lemon juice, and the remainder of the cinnamon and vanilla extract and mix well.
To a lightly greased baking dish, add the berry mixture and then sprinkle the topping all over on top.
Bake until the berries begin to bubble and the topping is golden brown for about 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven, let it cool a bit and enjoy!
Keywords: dessert, heart healthy, low sodium, gluten free, dairy free, vegan