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Healthy Holidays – Tips and Recipes

Autumn Vegetables

Our Wish to You and Yours: A Very Healthy Holiday Season

What does a “healthy holiday” really entail? For some, that may mean subbing Greek yogurt for sour cream in their holiday mashed potatoes. For others, it may simply mean enjoying time with others. Whatever a healthy holiday season means for you, The Idaho Foodbank’s team of nutritionists and dietitians are excited to share their favorite tips, tricks and tidbits of knowledge to help make your winter months happy and healthy.


  • Turkey contains tryptophan, a protein that helps make the hormone melatonin, which is why you may feel extra sleepy after eating turkey!
  • Feeling guilt or shame after a meal that is especially satisfying may actually be more detrimental to your mental health than if you let those negative feelings go. So, eat your holiday meal in peace and with intention and mindfulness.
  • Apple pie, although not considered a fruit, does have fruit in it! It is important to look at the bright side of foods during the holidays instead of what the food may not Enjoy the food you are eating, again with mindfulness and appreciation.

Download a PDF Version of A Healthy Holiday Season Tips and Recipes


Move. The winter months can be difficult for physical activity. Try small steps to increase blood flow and help you feel better! Start with a short walk a couple times a week. Park further away from your work or try standing at your desk instead of sitting. Small changes can mean big differences in your mood and overall well-being.

Help. Ask a neighbor if they need help raking leaves or walking their dog, volunteer, or bring a friend a yummy holiday treat. Helping people boosts your mood, makes you feel happier, and it brings joy to those around you. It’s a win-win!

Eat intuitively. Instead of counting every piece of dessert you eat and feeling bad about it after – try being mindful. Think about what you feel like eating and then eat it until you start to feel full. Slow down and enjoy the company around you instead of looking at your phone or watching T.V. Oftentimes when we are distracted whilst eating afterwards we tend to feel overfull and groggy.

Substitute. Use yummy replacements for your favorite holiday sides. Use the recipes below for some inspiration!


  • Easy Avocado Deviled Eggs
  • Sweet Potato Smoothie
  • Whole-Grain Stuffing

Easy Avocado Deviled Eggs
These egg appetizers are a quick and easy way to get a healthy dose of fat from the avocado as well as vitamins and minerals to help you stay healthy all winter long!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Servings 6


  • 6 boiled eggs
  • 1 large avocado
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/8 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Paprika or chili powder, garnish


  1. Halve the boiled eggs and remove the yolks. Carefully set the yolks in a bowl and place the egg whites on a platter.
  2. Add the avocado to the bowl with the egg yolks and mash until mixed.
  3. Mix in the lime juice, onion, mustard, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Stir together to combine.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the egg white halves and sprinkle chili powder or paprika on top for color.

Recipe from

Sweet Potato Smoothie
This delicious smoothie is a great way to start out those holiday mornings – or end a holiday dinner (just add a little whip topping). This recipe is a fun way to add more fruits and veggies into your day without having to sacrifice taste or flavor!

Time 15 minutes

Servings 2+


1 1/4 cups frozen sweet potato (canned sweet potato that has been frozen works well)*

1 banana

1 ½ cups milk

½ cup 100% apple or orange juice

½ cup diced canned pineapple

Additional diced pineapple and granola to garnish


  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
  2. Garnish with additional diced mango and granola.

* If wanting to use a whole sweet potato: Cook the sweet potatoes by placing them on a baking sheet and roasting in an oven at 350 degrees F for about 1-1.5 hours or until they are very soft (easily poked with a fork). When done, remove from oven and let cool. Remove peel before serving.

Recipe Notes

  • Purchasing canned sweet potato works well. It’s best to rinse and drain the sweet potato and freeze it in an airtight container.

Recipe adapted from

Whole-Grain Stuffing
This take on stuffing is just as satisfying –if not more! Hearty whole-grain ingredients keep you fuller for longer.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 60 minutes

Servings 6


  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms sliced or diced
  • 4 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 pieces whole-wheat bread sandwich, cut into 1″ cubes (about 6 cups)
  • 2 eggs beaten


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the diced onions and bell peppers and cook while stirring occasionally until soft but not brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms and sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle the flour over top and stir vigorously while it gets absorbed by the mushrooms and browns, about 1 to 2 minutes. Be careful not to let the flour burn. Pour in the milk, broth and salt, and cook while scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan until the liquid thickens to the consistency of gravy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and fold in the bread cubes until evenly coated.
  4. Remove the pan from the stove and let it cool for a few minutes. Stir in the eggs and then transfer the whole mixture to a rectangular baking dish (or stuff it inside the turkey). If cooking as a separate casserole, bake until golden brown on top, about 40 minutes.

Recipe from