Healthy Recipe for the Holiday Season

  • November 23, 2021

Authored by Katy Wilbur, Registered Dietitian at Whittier Street Health Center

Following a heart healthy eating plan and staying active are important throughout the year and usually more challenging during the winter months. Between November 25 and January 1 there are at least 4 different holidays celebrated – that’s a lot of celebrations! In addition to the festivities, the weather is getting colder and we’re spending more time inside, usually sitting, and are less active than in the warmer months. Here are 5 ways to stay healthy this holiday season:

  1. Commit to moving. Set a realistic exercise goal, such as 20 minutes of exercise 4 days per week, and schedule it. You can do whatever you want: a workout video, step in place while watching your favorite show, walk around the mall at a brisk pace, or enjoy ice skating with friends. Make a commitment to get active and honor the commitment.
  2. Remember the 90/10 rule: 90% of the time eat heart healthy and 10% of the time allow yourself indulgences, about 1-2x/week. Allowing room to indulge helps us find balance and prevents binging on sweets or other high-calorie foods.
  3. Drink water whenever possible. Eggnog, juice, soda, and alcoholic beverages all have calories and make it easier for us to gain weight. If water is your drink of choice it will be much easier to maintain your weight during the holidays and winter season.
  4. Prioritize your sleep. Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. When we don’t sleep enough we are tired, less productive, and often eat more. Getting enough sleep helps us make healthy choices when eating and stay in a festive mood.
  5. Enjoy yourself! The holidays come only once per year, so be sure to enjoy this time. Enjoy your favorite holiday foods, just don’t overindulge. Eat until you are satisfied and stop before you are stuffed. A good rule is that you should be able to walk a mile after eating and not be uncomfortable from how full you are.

Looking for a lighter side for your Thanksgiving meal? Try this twist on mashed potatoes – mashed potatoes with cauliflower! Cauliflower is high in vitamin C and fiber and has only 25 calories per cup. This recipe will give you the same flavor as traditional mashed potatoes but with less calories and carbohydrates.

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes


Cooking Details

Nutrition Facts

Serves 6

Calories: 206

Prep time: 10 Minutes

Saturated Fat: 3g

Cook Time: 25 Minutes

Cholesterol: 13mg

Total Time: 35 Minutes

Sodium: 303mg

Carbohydrates: 32mg

Protein: 6g




  • 1 12 or 16oz bag frozen cauliflower
  • 2 pounds potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and boil until the potatoes can be easily poked with a fork, about 10-15 minutes.
  2. While the potatoes boil, prepare the cauliflower in the microwave according to the package instructions.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and soft, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. When the potatoes are fork tender, reserve about 1 cup of the starchy potato water and then drain the potatoes.
  5. Return the pot with the potatoes to the stovetop and add the heated cauliflower and garlic.
  6. Mash the potatoes and cauliflower. Use the reserved potato water to help mash the potatoes and create a creamy consistency.
  7. Once the potatoes and cauliflower are mashed, fold in the 4 tablespoons cream cheese and paprika. If it’s hard to fold in the cream cheese, turn the stove burner to low to help melt the cream cheese.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

A note about Whittier and COVID-19

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in our area, we ask all clients and patients to call ahead before coming to any of our sites. We are working to take care of most clients/patients via phone/video encounter so we can meet your ongoing healthcare needs. This is for your safety and so we can provide the highest quality of care to you while following CDC guidance for COVID-19. Please call 617-427-1000 for any questions or concerns.

Whittier will provide COVID-19 testing from 10 am to 4 pm on Monday to Friday. Following CDC guidance, we recommend testing if you have a fever AND one of the following three symptoms: cough OR shortness of breath OR sore throat. Please bring your picture identification and your insurance card (if you have insurance).