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It’s that time of year again. The holiday season is upon us, and you’re already having the conversation with yourself about how you’re only going to have a few bites of each dish on those special days. You always get off to a great start, but everything just looks and smells so good. By the time you get to the sweet potato casserole, your mouth begins to salivate. There’s no turning back, your plate is now overstuffed with hundreds of extra (tasty) calories. Twenty minutes and three helpings later, you’re drifting into a food coma, thinking, “Why can’t all these foods be healthier?”

The holidays don’t have to be packed with unwanted calories and guilt. Save your waistline and your sanity by serving a healthy dish or two at your next festive meal. You might be thinking you don’t have time to introduce a bunch of new recipes, and even if you did, what if your family isn’t supportive of your decision to healthfully transform their traditional dinners?

Healthy food can be just as good as -- if not better than -- the decadent stuff. And if you plan your menu right, your dishes won't take long to cook, either. To get you started, here are three healthy holiday recipes that take less than 30 minutes to prepare. These recipes are so delicious your family will never know you’re feeding them something that’s actually good for them!


Fresh Maple-Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce

Makes 12 servings


  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 dash of kosher sea salt (optional) 


1. In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.

2. Remove pan from heat and let cool. Sauce will thicken as it cools. Serve warm or cold. Top with crushed walnuts for an extra tasty crunch!


Warm Kale Salad With Brussels Sprouts And Pine Nuts

Makes 8 servings


  • 1 pound kale leaves, sliced thin or shredded
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, ends removed and sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced very thin


1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until pale in color and golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the garlic and place in a bowl on the side.

2. Add the Brussels sprouts, pine nuts and remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Cook until Brussels sprouts are soft and tender, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes.

3. Add the kale and garlic back to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until kale is wilted and tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve warm.


Pistachio-Encrusted Cod Topped With Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Makes 4 servings


  • 1 cup shelled pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 cod filets (6 ounces each)


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

2. Pulse the pistachios, garlic and salt and pepper in a food processor or blender until combined, about 10 seconds. If you don’t have a food processor or blender, you can crush the pistachios in a large zippered baggie against the counter.

3. Pour the pistachio mixture into a large bowl.

4. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil on a large plate. Dunk 1 cod filet into the olive oil, making sure to coat all sides. Then dip the cod into the pistachios, making sure to coat each side. Place pistachio-crusted cod filet on to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining filets.

5. Roast fish at 425 until knife inserts in center easily, 12 to 14 minutes. Serve warm with Fresh Maple-Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce on top (from recipe above).