We have a lot of eating to do in the next week or two! But there are some easy swaps you can make to ensure you don’t head into the New Year feeling 10 pounds heavier. Jennifer Sloan is here with some healthy holiday swaps.

Let’s start with the appetizers. Instead of an artichoke dip heavy with mayo or a ranch dip filled with oils for veggies – you can whip up a yogurt avocado ranch dip with fresh herbs that’s packed with protein and nutrition and tastes so much better than a store-bought dip full of junk. Take your swap one step further and choose Maple Hill 100% grass fed organic yogurt to make sure you’re getting the best quality and taste. Cocktail franks are always a popular appetizer choice. But sausages can be from low quality cuts and full of fillers. Teton Waters Ranch makes 100% grass fed beef cocktail sausages – just high quality beef and spices. What you do with them matters! Jennifer suggest making a low sugar mustard bourbon sauce that packs tons of flavor. You can also go with a low-sugar Asian flair and mix a little honey with Dijon mustard, soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil.

For Christmas Eve, Jennifer and her family enjoy eating Lasagna and the last few years she’s experimented with healthier versions.  Cali’flour Foods pizza crusts or tortillas make THE best substitute for lasagna noodles. You can find their crusts or tortillas in the frozen section. And they are so much better than trying to use zucchini – which has so much moisture -or some kind of plant-based pasta that just disintegrates. I lighten up the filling too with a low-fat ricotta and pump it up with spinach and parmesan cheese which is lower in calories.

Dessert! Who doesn’t love an apple pie. However, that crust is not great for the waistline and it’s a huge pain to make! An alternative is making these baked apples around the holidays and they are even better than pie. You can bake several at a time and just reheat them when you are in the mood for a treat and they leave your house smelling amazing. Mix Maple Hill yogurt with cinnamon and fill your apples and it’s the most indulgent treat! It’s like having apple pie ala mode.

Finally – cocktails can be a huge calorie bomb. Or maybe you don’t drink alcohol or looking for ways to have a little less. Richard’s Rainwater sparkling water makes the best mixer – it’s just sparkling rainwater and nothing else. It’s great mixed with any spirit on the rocks.

Here are the recipes that Jennifer featured:

Avocado Ranch Dip
Ingredients
1 cup Maple Hill Plain Greek or Cream on top Yogurt
1 medium avocado , peeled and cored
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (or 2 tsp dried)
1 – 2 tsp chopped fresh dill , to taste (or 1/2 tsp dried)
2 tsp chopped fresh chives (or 3/4 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp onion powder
drizzle of olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preparation
Add all dressing ingredients to a food processor or blender. Pulse until well blended. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container. Serve with fresh veggies.
 
Low Sugar Cocktail Franks
Bourbon Mustard Glazed:
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 Tbs low sugar apricot preserves
½ cup bourbon
¼ cup water
2 packages Teton Waters Ranch Cocktail Franks
 
Asian Glazed:
2 Tbs Honey
2 Tbs Soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos
1 Tbs vinegar (apple cider, balsamic or rice vinegar)
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
 
Directions:
Mix all ingredients except the franks in a bowl. Pour over cocktail franks in a baking dish or a crockpot dish. Bake at 200 degrees for 20 minutes, or heat in a crockpot on low for 1 hour.
 
Lighter Lasagna
1 pound ground beef or Italian sausage
½ of one onion, finely diced
1 jar of low sugar or no sugar added marinara sauce
2 cups fresh spinach
15oz low-fat ricotta cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
½ cup low fat mozzarella cheese
2 full size Cali’flour Foods Pizza Crusts or 8 Cali’flour Foods tortillas
Fresh basil for garnish
Olive oil
 
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a sauté pan. Add onions to pan and cook 2-3 minutes. Add meat and cook until no longer pink. Turn off the heat and add marinara to meat. Set aside.
Meanwhile, put spinach in a microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove spinach and wring out moisture with paper towels or press into a colander. Chop spinach and set aside.
Mix ricotta and parmesan in a bowl.
If using full size pizza crusts, cut into slices about 2 inches wide.
Assemble lasagna in a 9×13 baking pan. Begin with ½ cup of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Layer slices of 1 pizza crust or 4 tortillas. Add half of the cheese mixture in spoonfulls across the crusts/ tortillas. Top with half of the remaining sauce. Add another layer of crusts/ tortillas, cheese mixture and the remaining sauce. Top with ½ cup mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake 30-45 minutes until warmed through. Remove foil and cook 5-10 minutes more until cheese is golden on top. Remove from oven and let cool 5-10 minutes. Top with fresh basil.
 
 
Easy Baked Apples
8 apples, cored
32oz Maple Hill organic plain Greek yogurt or plain cream on top yogurt
Cinnamon
 
Directions:
Core apples and place in a baking dish in one inch of water, sprinkle cinnamon over the apples. Cover with foil and bake at 400 for 45 mins to one hour until desired softness. 
Meanwhile, mix 2 tsp cinnamon into yogurt. Fill the yogurt & cinnamon mixture into the center of each apple if serving immediately. Store any unused apples in an airtight container in the fridge. Warm gently in the microwave when ready to enjoy and add yogurt mixture.
(I use a high-tech, fancy method of putting the yogurt into a ziplock and cutting the corner off to squeeze the yogurt into the apples!) 
 
 
Cranberry Orange Holiday Spritz
Ingredients:
2 cups brewed sweet orange herbal tea
Juice of one orange
¼ cup light cranberry juice
Orange bitters
Richard’s Rainwater Sparkling water
 
Directions:
Makes 4 drinks. Mix brewed tea, orange juice and a few dashes of orange bitters together. Fill 4 glasses with ice. Pour about ½ cup of tea drink over ice and top with Richard’s Rainwater sparkling water. To create an alcoholic spritz, add 1.5oz vodka, gin or rum. Garnish with orange slice, fresh cranberries and a cinnamon stick.