Good Health: Recipes for healthier holiday treats

Healthier holiday treats, as seen on Local 4 News


DETROIT – Good food and sweet treats are a big part of the holiday season. Some might argue they are too much a part of the season. Grace Derocha, a registered dietitian for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan says American typically gain one to five pounds between November and January. And, the average American eats between 5,500 and 7,000 calories on Christmas Day alone.

If you want to consume less calories, you might think about replacing some traditional holiday treats with some lower calorie alternatives. Local 4 highlighted some of Derocha's ideas for healthier Halloween treats in October, and she recently shared her holiday ideas with Karen Drew and Ben Bailey on Local 4
News, First at Four.

Below are the recipes for Honey Garlic Cauliflower Notes, Zoodles and Turkey Marinar with a Ricotta Snowball, Matcha Pistachio White Chocolate Energy Ball with Dried Cherries and red and green holiday smoothies. Give them a try.

Honey Garlic Cauliflower Bites - from A Healthier Michigan


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup of crushed almonds or pistachios (or other favorite nut - this is optional)
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 Tbsp. sriracha (optional)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tsp. corn starch
  • ¼ cup of sliced green onions to garnish


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Combine flour and cauliflower in large bowl. Toss until fully coated.
  • Set up dredging station. One bowl has panko bread crumbs and crushed nuts, mixed thoroughly. The second bowl whisk eggs and 2 tablespoons of water.
  • Dip cauliflower in the beaten eggs and then fully coat in panko and nut mixture.
  • Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and salt and pepper.
  • Bake until golden and crispy about 20-25 minutes
  • While baking, make sauce in small bowl. Whisk together water with cornstarch, until it completely dissolves. Set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, combine soy sauce, honey, garlic, lime juice and sriracha over medium heat. Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat and add the cornstarch mixture. Bring to simmer again until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes.
  • Toss cooked cauliflower in sauce until even coated. Return cauliflower to baking sheet and broil for about 2 minutes.
  • Garnish with scallions and serve.
  • Zoodles with Turkey Marinara Sauce with Ricotta Snowball



    • 2 large zucchinis
    • Spiralizer
    • Olive oil

    Turkey Marinara Sauce:

    • 1 package lean ground turkey
    • 14 ounces marinara sauce
    • 2 Tbsp. Italian blend spices
    • 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, minced

    Ricotta Snowball:

    • 1 cup (8oz) part-skim ricotta cheese
    • ½ cup (4oz) low-fat cottage cheese
    • 1 cup spinach, finely chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 3 Tbsp. Parmesano Romano cheese
    • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
    • 1 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
    • ½ tsp sea salt
    • ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
    • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)



  • Use spiralizer as instructed to make zucchini noodles, called zoodles. If you do not have a spiralizer, you can finely chop zucchini into strips.
  • Saute zoodles in olive oil or other favorite heart healthy oil for about 3-5 minutes until al dente.
  • Turkey Marinara Sauce:

  • Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the ground turkey and cook until browned.
  • Drain any excess grease and then add in the marinara sauce, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Simmer on low heat until ready to use.
  • Ricotta Snowball Garnish:

  • Blend all of the ingredients, except for the spinach, in a food processor or blender until smooth.
  • Fold in the chopped spinach and set aside.
  • Putting it together:

  • You will plate your zoodles.
  • Then place the turkey marinara sauce on top of the zoodles.
  • And to finish the dish, scoop a small amount of ricotta filling on top for the "snowball."
  • Serve warm and enjoy!
  • Matcha Pistachio & White Chocolate Energy Balls with Dried Cherries


    • ½ cup raw pistachios, shelled
    • 12 Medjool dates, pitted
    • 2 tsp matcha powder
    • 1 tbsp coconut oil
    • ¼ cup dried cherries
    • ¼ cup favorite nut butter
    • ¼ cup of white chocolate chips


  • Place all ingredients into the food processor.
  • Process for one minute or until well blended
  • Roll into about 12 ball servings.
  • Refrigerate for 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
  • The Red and Green Holiday Smoothies

    Red Smoothie:


    • ½ cup red grapes
    • ½ cup raspberries
    • 1 cup strawberries
    • 1 frozen banana
    • 1 cup Greek yogurt with honey or vanilla
    • 1 cup low fat coconut milk or other milk substitute of your liking
    • Ice (optional)


  • Place all ingredients in blender and blend thoroughly.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!
  • Green Smoothie:


    • 1.5 cups of spinach
    • 1 cup of diced mango or pineapple or peaches
    • 1 frozen banana
    • 1 cup Greek yogurt with honey or vanilla
    • 1 cup low-fat coconut milk or other milk substitute of your liking
    • Ice (optional)

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