Integrative Medicine Blog

Healthy AND Yummy Holidays!

Holly J. Niles MS, CNS, LDN, IFMCP Sunday, November 11, 2018

Tips to make the holidays healthy and delicious!

I am often asked for healthy holiday recipe suggestions. I know that really means… can I make vegetables taste like mac and cheese or fruit taste like a chocolate cake! There's a belief that healthy and yummy are worlds apart. As we approach the holidays, I'll propose that this season maybe we can do both. On ONE hand, it’s important to remember that we are fueling our bodies, making our cells and impacting our immune health with the food we eat. On the OTHER hand, holidays are a time of fun, family and pleasure.

Here are some tips to make the holidays healthy and delicious:

1. Treat yourself to a portion, not the biggest piece on the plate, of your favorite dessert. Savor it, taste every bite and feel happy about that choice.

2. Skip or keep portions small of the ordinary things on a table that might be a tradition, but you don't really LOVE.

3. Start small, you can go back for more later. Remember that horrible feeling of overeating that no one enjoys.

4. Take time with your meal, chew, chat and put your fork down in between bites. The longer you take to eat the better your body will be able to digest your food. Fast eating can lead to overeating.

5. Add more veggies to your plate…they are the rock stars of the food world and creating balance on your plate with healthy and yummy choices is the perfect combination

Here’s a yummy way to add some pumpkin to your appetizers:


1 and ½ cups cooked pumpkin puree (freshly baked or canned)

1 cup cauliflower florets

1 tsp ghee or coconut oil

1 large head of garlic

¼ cup tahini

2 TBS olive oil

2 TBS fresh lemon juice

¼ tsp cumin

unrefined sea salt, to taste

OPTIONAL: 1-2 tsp RAW honey

Garnish: more olive oil and paprika


1.Preheat oven to 400'F.

2.Toss cauliflower florets in fat of choice and place onto baking sheet. Then cut the top ½ inch off your garlic head, place into small baking dish (cut side up), and cover. Place both into hot oven. Bake cauliflower for 15-20 minutes, until soft and starting to brown a bit.

3.Bake head of garlic for 20-25 minutes, until cloves are nice and soft. Once everything is cooked, allow to cool.

4.Place ALL ingredients (starting with 2-3 cloves of the roasted garlic) into food processor and puree until creamy smooth.

5.Adjust for salt and garlic (and optional honey if you like a touch of sweet)

6.Serve with fresh veggies, your favorite crackers, or whatever else makes you happy!