Healthier Holiday Potluck

lunch table
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As we know all too well, the word holiday also implies potlucks!  They are a great way for friends to be able to share the gift of food with the people they care for the most.  Unfortunately, potlucks have become a place for high fat and high sugar foods, they are over flowing with cheese, breads and sweets.  Our goal is to get potlucks back on the healthier path with some of these recipes.

Simple tips to healthify your existing recipes:

1.) Find ways to cook in more vegetables:

  • Add sauteed spinach, onions, zucchini or kale to dips and casseroles
  • Be the one who brings the salad!
  • Pick vegetable based appetizers. EX: stuffed mushrooms, roasted brussel sprouts
  • Pick pureed vegetable dips instead of cream based:  pesto or hummus
  • Use cauliflower instead of rice or potato
  • Use zucchini or carrots instead of noodles
  • Make vegetable soups

2.) Cut out the dairy and cream:

  • Use half the amount of cheese in any recipe to help lower saturated fat and calories
  • Use pureed vegetables to create a creamy texture: pumpkin, carrot, turnip,tomato or beet
  • Use a broth based recipe
  • Provide avocado for a topping instead of cheese

3.)  Cut down on the red meat!

  • Use more chicken, turkey or fish in potluck recipes
  • Go vegetarian.  It helps cut out saturated fats.
  • Use beans as your protein source.

4.)  Lower calorie cocktail mixers

  • Simple lemon or lime juice
  • Club soda instead of other soda mixers
  • Use zero calorie flavors from crystal light EX: cranberry flavor
  • Use zero calorie sodas with Stevia EX: Zevia brand
  • Use herbs and spices muddled into your drink like a mojito

5.) Use whole grain products instead of white flour products.

  • Replace white rice with quinoa or barley
  • Use whole grain flour instead of white flour

6.) Minimize the damage from dessert

  • Use fruit as the primary source of sweetness in recipes instead of refined sugar
  • Use sugar substitutes instead of high calorie white sugar: stevia, splenda, monk fruit
  • Use non fat greek yogurt instead of heavy cream
  • Use dark chocolate instead of added sugar milk chocolate
  • Avoid added calorie toppings like frosting, sugar flakes, etc.


Mini Mediterranean Turkey  Sandwiches

This recipe is great because it doesn’t involve cooking and re-heating food.  Just keep it refrigerated until ready to eat.  To make this meal healthier than a regular hoagie we will be using more vegetables, whole grain bread, hummus and leaner turkey.

Makes 16 mini sandwiches


  • 2 whole grain pita bread rounds 
  • 8 tablespoons hummus
  • 1/3 pound thinly sliced deli turkey
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach stems removed
  • 3 tablespoons roasted red peppers drained, patted dry, and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of kalamata olives chopped


1.) Take the pita bread and cut in half so that there are two layers and set aside

2.) Mix together the 8 tablespoons of hummus, olives and red peppers.  Spread this mix on the bottom layers of the pita breads evenly

3.) Top the hummus layer with a few layers of spinach leaves

4.) Layer the sliced turkey over the spinach leaves.

5.)  Place top layer of pita bread on turkey layer.  Cut each pita into 8 even slices.  Can serve with tooth picks.


Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bake: recipe by The Creative Bite

This recipe helps incorporate a healthy whole grain with the quinoa.  Vegetables have been incorporated to increase fiber a fullness with the carrots.  You get a great source of protein from the chicken breast in this recipe as well.  The high calorie cheese in this meal is minimal.

Makes 5 servings at 355kcal per serving.  Protein: 31gm, Carb: 26gm, Fat: 13gm


  • 1/4 c. masa flour or all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 3/4 c. quinoa uncooked
  • 1/3 c. buffalo wing sauce
  • 1/3 c. bleu cheese crumbles
  • 2 c. matchstick or shredded carrots
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts cut in 1/2 inch thick strips
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 bunch green onions diced
  • 4 oz. havarti or white cheddar shredded


  • Preheat your oven to 375°.

  • In a medium saucepan over high heat, add the flour and slowly whisk in the chicken broth until smooth. Add the quinoa to the broth and bring to a boil.

  • Spray a 9×13 casserole with non-stick spray and add the quinoa along with the carrots, buffalo sauce, blue cheese, salt and raw chicken. Gently fold everything together bake covered for 30 minutes at 375°.

  • Remove the casserole from the oven and carefully give everything a quick stir.

  • Top with shredded cheese and bake uncovered for an additional 15 minutes.

  • Serve topped with green onions and/or non-fat plain Greek yogurt.


Skinny Taco Dip: recipe by The Creative Bite


  • 4 ounces light cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite salsa
  • 2 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup tomatoes diced
  • 1/2 avocado diced
  • 2 green onions sliced


  • Combine the softened cream cheese, Greek yogurt, salsa and taco seasoning and beat until smooth and well combined. Spread the mixture on a plate.
  • Top with remaining ingredients. Serve with tortilla chips.

Servings: 10  Calories per serving: 90kcal Carbs: 5gm Protein: 4gm Fat: 6gm


Festive Stuffed Strawberries: recipe by Joyful Healthy Eats


  • 1 pint of strawberries, halved
  • 1 pint of blueberries
  • 5 oz. plain greek yogurt
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest


  1. In a small bowl add greek yogurt, cream cheese, honey, vanilla bean paste, and lemon zest. Using a hand mixer, blend until the mixture is smooth (like cheesecake) and there are no lumps.
  2. Add cream cheese mixture to a ziplock bag, close it, and then snip off the end to create a make shift pipping bag.
  3. Squeeze about 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture on each strawberry half. Top with a blueberry.

A Serving is 4 stuffed strawberry halves.  Makes about 10 servings

Calories per serving: 106 Carbs: 11gm Protein: 3gm Fat: 7gm


Lentil Salad: recipe by Detoxinista


  • 1 1/2 cups dry green or brown lentils (or 4 1/2 cups pre-cooked lentils)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard
  • 2 small cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • Black pepper , to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups diced cucumber (1 English cucumber)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced red onion (1 large red onion)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced red bell pepper (1 large bell pepper)
  • 3 celery stalks , diced


  • To cook the lentils, combine 1 1/2 cups of dry lentils with 4 1/2 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil in a sauce pan that is large enough for the lentils to triple in size as they cook. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender, but still firm, about 15 to 20 minutes.

  • While the lentils are cooking, prepare the dressing. In a large bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, garlic, salt, and several grinds of black pepper, then whisk well to combine.

  • When the lentils are tender, drain any excess liquid and rinse the cooked lentils under cold water to stop the cooking process and help them cool down faster.

  • While the lentils cool, you can dice the cucumber, onion, bell pepper, and celery if you haven’t already. The smaller you dice them, the more flavor you’ll get in each bite. Add the chopped vegetables to the large bowl of dressing and toss to combine. Add in the cooled lentils, and stir again.

  • Optional toppings: slivered almonds, raisins, hemp seeds, pepitas.

Servings: 8  Calories per serving: 214kcal Carbs: 28gm Protein: 10gm Fat: 7gm