Holiday Favorites Made Healthy

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Need a healthy spin on your favorite holiday dishes??

The Godizilla that tramples my healthy eating during the holiday season is my mother-in-law’s Lemon Bars.  They are tangy and sweet with just enough tartness that they border on, but do not cause the sour pucker or that tinge of jaw pain that accompanies a bite into a lemon.  (Yes I do that,  it’s a hurts-so-good kind thang.) Did I mention the bars have a flaky, pie-crust-like bottom?  This angel of a woman hides dietary Satan horns that pop out when the oven starts pre-heating.  Her lemon bars ooze citrus-sweet goodness. The smell of them baking calls to me like crack to the corner junkie.

These tantalizing bars are full of processed, bleached flour, refined sugars, eggs and butter.  The only nutritionally beneficial thing about lemon bars is the fresh lemon juice and even that has its enzymes baked to death at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.  YIKES!  What’s a girl to do??  I’ve suffered through a few tummy aches by caving in and enjoying one or ten of the delicious bars before it came to me: I could spin it!  I’ve a knack for putting a healthy spin on everything from mac & cheese to pizza to peanut butter pie (another heavenly dish she makes that would melt the strongest dietary resolve).  Why not reinvent the lemon bar in a healthy style that allows me to indulge without stomach pain or mood swings that make Cruela DeVille look like a PETA advocate. As luck would have it, this thought popped into my head while I was on a two week living foods cleanse.  I love the way the universe drops challenges into my lap.
Lemon BarI did it!  I’ve never been more proud of a dish than when I served a dainty little Living Lemon Bar to the Goddess of Lemon Bars and she said “Wow, I think I like these better!”.  Even factoring in the fact that my husband and I gave her the cutest grand-son of all time, which undoubtedly skewed her response in my favor, I was thrilled.  Not only did they satisfy the lemon bar void for the duration of the Living Foods Cleanse , they are also a much healthier alternative to the “real things” that I can enjoy guilt-free while keeping holiday ass-expansion to a minimum.  I loved the challenge that kept my internal-chef-self mentally spinning recipe ideas until a healthy, great tasting alternative was found.  Now I’m jonesing for a new challenge.

Do you have a holiday favorite that you LOVE to indulge in but you value your current pant size to such a degree that you know you should pass??

I’ll do my best to make sure you can have your cake and eat it too.  Send me the recipe that most challenges your dietary resolve and I’ll do my best to spin you a healthier version. Email me directly or comment here on the blog.

Here’s to healthy holiday eating!


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  • Carla

    Hi Joy,
    I have really been enjoying your site and your amazing cookbook. I have gotten so many compliments on what I have been able to whip up from your cookbook, my 14 year old daughter is loving it!
    I have been looking for a way to kick the coffee habit. I have been trying and trying and nothing works. I always end up with horrible headaches so I go right back to the bean! If you have any ideas I would love to try it.
    Look forward to hearing from you, Carla

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