A Registered Dietitian shares realistic tips for creating healthy recipes for the holidays. With an approach all about adding nutrition, you can enjoy your favourite holiday season treats and reap the benefits of nutritious foods.

Disclaimer: This post was developed in partnership with the California Prunes, however all opinions are genuine and my own.

We all know that the holiday season is a time where there’s food all around. From holiday sweets to elaborate appetizer spreads and assorted chocolates galore!

As a Registered Dietitian, I think this busy season is an important time to take care of oneself. That being said, for many people, avoiding all the delicious holiday treats is not realistic (and it’s no fun!).

Instead, thinking about ways to add nutrition can help us enjoy ourselves and achieve balance during the holidays. I recently partnered with California Prunes to share 3 healthy recipes for the holidays – using the ‘nutrition by addition’ approach.

Watch the segment below!

Healthy Holiday Recipe: Dark Chocolate Bark with Pecans & Prunes

We’re taking a holiday classic treat, chocolate bark, and adding some sneaky nutrition with nuts and prunes.

A lot of the sweets we enjoy during the holidays contain high amounts of saturated fat (this is the type of fat we generally want to eat less of). By adding pecans to our chocolate bark, we’re actually adding a source of monounsaturated fats (healthy fats) which can actually help to reduce the risk for things like heart disease.

And if you’re wondering why I added prunes to a holiday dessert, it’s because prunes are an under-the-radar superfood packed with antioxidants, plus vitamins and minerals to support heart and bone health, as well as fiber to maintain good gut health.

Plus, they’re super versatile making it easy to add them to your favourite sweet and savoury recipes!

dark chocolate bark with prunes and pecans

Dark Chocolate Bark with Pecans & Prunes

This recipe for Dark Chocolate Bark with Pecans and Prunes is the perfect no-bake treat for the holidays!
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup prunes, pitted, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 tbsp coconut flakes

Equipment

Instructions 

  • In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips at 30 second intervals, stirring in-between each interval, until smooth.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and pour the melted chocolate on to the parchment.
  • Spread the melted chocolate into a 12" by 9" rectangle.
  • Sprinkle the chopped prunes, chopped pecans, and coconut flakes over top of the melted chocolate.
  • Allow the chocolate to set (no need to refrigerate or freeze!) before cut or breaking into pieces.
Did you make this recipe?Be sure to take a photo and tag me at @hannahmagee_rd so I can see!

Healthy Holiday Recipe: Hot Chocolate with High-Protein Milk

A super simple and super easy way to add nutrition to hot chocolate in order to make it healthier is making it with milk! Instead of making hot chocolate with water like most packages instruct, make your hot chocolate with a higher protein milk like dairy milk or soy milk. 

Both dairy milk and soy milk have 8-9 grams of protein per cup. Because hot chocolate powder is primarily sugar, adding some high quality protein will not only help fill you up, but also stabilize your blood sugar levels more than if it was prepared with just water.

person's hands holding white mug of hot chocolate with mini marshmallows

To round out your hot chocolate and create a balanced snack, I also suggest serving your hot chocolate with a side of seasonal fruit like clementines or pomegranate seeds. By adding fruit, we’re also adding fibre, which also helps to keep your blood sugar levels from spiking and dropping down quickly.

To make this healthy holiday recipe, just mix your favourite hot chocolate powder (usually 2-3 tbsp) with 1 cup of warm milk. I recommend heating the milk either in the microwave or on the stove (being careful not to burn it).

Healthy Holiday Recipe: Whipped Feta Dip with Greek Yogurt

This last healthy recipe for the holidays is one of my favourite appetizers to serve: whipped feta dip! You can serve this dip hot or cold. Typically, appetizer dips like this are made with lots of cheese, sour cream, mayo, etc. What I like to add instead of sour cream or mayo? Plain Greek yogurt!

By using Greek yogurt, we’re increasing the protein content of our dip, lowering the saturated fat content, and adding important nutrients like calcium, selenium, and zinc. 

On top of the dip I like to add a drizzle of honey and again, prunes, as a way to increase the fiber content of this dish. A serving of 4-5 prunes is packed with 3 grams of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which together promote healthy gut bacteria and help to keep you full for longer.

whipped feta dip with greek yogurt topped with thyme, honey, and prunes

Whipped Feta Dip with Greek Yogurt, Honey & Prunes

Creamy Greek yogurt and whipped feta dip with honey, prunes, and thyme is bound to be a crowd-pleasing appetizer. While it seems fancy, it’s really quite simple to make.
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Ingredients

For the Whipped Feta Dip:

  • 8 oz. feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Toppings:

  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup prunes, chopped
  • fresh herbs like thyme, oregano, parsley, to garnish

Instructions 

  • Add feta cheese and greek yogurt to a blender or food processor and pulse until combined and a creamy consistency begins to form. If the mixture is still slightly crumbly at this point, it will smooth out once we add other ingredients.
  • With the blender or food processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil and continue to process until combined and the mixture is starting to smooth out.
  • Add in the lemon juice, honey, salt, pepper and minced garlic and continue to pulse until everything is well-combined and the dip is smooth and creamy with no lumps.
  • Transfer dip to a bowl or serving dish, top with chopped prunes, a drizzle of honey, and herbs like thyme for garnish.
  • Serve with crackers, bread, vegetables, etc!
Did you make this recipe?Be sure to take a photo and tag me at @hannahmagee_rd so I can see!

Disclaimer: This post was developed in partnership with the California Prunes, however all opinions are genuine and my own.