Sneaky Healthy Holiday Recipes

How To Be Sneaky Healthy at the Holidays
(No One Has to Know You’re Eating Vegetables)

Here at S-Dubs, we’re all about balance. And by balance, we mean, a good amount of indulging with just the right amount of healthy-so-you-and-your-skin-don’t-die. If you have food allergies, sometimes it’s almost easier to stay healthy, especially at the holidays. You get to walk into every holiday party, proclaim that you can’t touch the dairy unless they want a broken toilet, and move on. But if you’re just on the sensitive side, or you’re aware that you need a certain amount of healthy food to stay glowy and happy, then it can be a little harder. You want to have a good time, you want to have some of that onion dip, you don’t want to walk around telling everyone that said dip will give you zits for days, but you also don’t want zits for days. Are we speaking your language?

Well, we got you. Here are some tips from the S-Dubs team on how to sneak in some health into your holiday debauchery.


Take a veggie chili. Why? It’s great for cold weather, easy to dip chips in and add all sorts of toppings to, and no one will really notice the missing meat. (If they do, quickly bring up cheese. Mmm cheese.) Fancy? Make some homemade guac or pico de gallo, yo.

Bring actual real, vegetables. This might feel completely un-sneaky. But here’s the thing. People forget about vegetables, but they also sometimes like vegetables. Especially roasted ones that end up soft and sweet and crispy and filling. If people roll their eyes, ask them if they like pooping. If they start to walk away from you scared, start screaming about the benefits of fiber (ie, pooping). Here’s an easy roasted veggie mix: sweet potatoes, butternut squash, Honeycrisp apples (mmm fruit!), carrots, parsnips. Chop small, top with olive oil, salt, pepper and a touch of cinnamon and bake at 425 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on them and turn your veggies so they don’t stick.

Pesto! Pesto is the best. It’s the quintessential sneaky healthy food: it’s really really food for you but is a creamy, indulgent condiment. Madeleine from our team makes the best pesto of all time (we mean it), and there ISN’T EVEN DAIRY IN IT. No one will be able to tell, they’ll just ask you for the recipe and try to make out with you. You’re welcome. Here is Madeleine’s recipe:

You’ll need:

  • Any type of nut; I use almonds because they’re pretty cheap and still have a robust flavor
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh basil (freshness is key!)
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Food processor


Start with the nuts, about a hand full. Once chopped finely in the processor add your garlic, about three cloves. Everything should get a bit pasty looking at this point. Toss in a bit of olive oil just to get everything a little more liquid. Next add as much basil as you can. You can add other leafy herbs or greens as well, including mint or carrot and turnip tops. Squeeze your lemon into a bowl to weed out the seeds and pour in the lemon juice. You should be tasting every step of the way as well to make sure it turns out just how you like it. Finish off with salt. I try to go pinch at a time as not to over-do it.

Add adaptogens to your baked goods. Adaptogens are a class of herbs that soothe the nervous system and essentially make it easier for your body to “adapt” to its external environment. Which is really helpful when the weather is intense or your aunt is… intense. Lizzy, our resident wellness and #skincleanse expert recommends shatavari, reishi, and maca. You can hide all three in something more delicious like chocolate chip cookies or brownies. No one will know, and you can feel pride (and relief) as they all calm down and get happier. (And sexier.)

Speaking of the delicious things, try these No Bake Almond Butter Cup Bars, or these Chocolate-Covered Almond Meal Cookie Dough Balls. They’re already healthified, but you can make them vegan, use honey/coconut oil, opt for white chocolate (great if you’re avoiding caffeine), sneak in the adaptogens, and then you’re basically having a salad instead of a sweet. …Sort of.

So go on. Enjoy that boozy eggnog. Just also fill a plate with sweet potatoes, pesto, chili, and chocolatey herbs. Your skin will be so grateful, and you won’t require quite as much recovering in January. (Aka you can just keep partying!)

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