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Holiday Nutrition Tips, Swaps

  • Category: General, Cardiology
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Boulder Community Health

Nutrition Tips: Heart Healthy Holiday Swaps

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Michelle MacDonald practices privately in Boulder and is currently dedicated to helping Boulder Heart patients lower cholesterol, improve blood sugar, manage weight and more.

With more than 15 years of experience, MacDonald believes that patients can prevent and delay the diseases linked to aging and inflammation with diet - one delicious bite at a time.

MacDonald has prepared a list of smart holiday food swaps for staying on track this season.

  • For cakes, chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, muffins, pancakes, pie crusts, quick breads, waffles, and yeasted breads, swap out butter, margarine or shortening for a heart healthy oil (like canola or extra-virgin olive oil). When the recipe calls for butter, which is 80% fat and 20% moisture and protein solids, replace 100% of the butter, with 80% oil (canola or olive), and 20% moisture and protein (egg, milk or water).
  • Trade white dinner rolls and potatoes for sides of colorful vegetables like roasted acorn or butternut squash, asparagus, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and green beans.
  • Substitute lighter broth in potato galettes or casseroles, instead of heavy cream.
  • Make a savory holiday snack. Pop your own popcorn on the stovetop and season with Bragg Liquid Aminos and nutritional yeast, instead of cheese. Heat avocado oil in a pot over medium heat with one cup corn kernels and shake occasionally until popping slows down. Season with Bragg Liquid Aminos and nutritional yeast to taste.
  • Fill a charcuterie board with vegetables, hummus, baba ghanoush, mini dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), labneh, dukkah, olives, and smoked salmon instead of cured meats and cheeses. Adorn your board with hearty seeded crackers - like Trader Joe’s Seeds & Grains Crispbread Norwegian Crackers, Mary’s Gone Crackers, Wasa Multigrain Swedish-style Crispbread crackers or Triscuit crackers. Sprinkle with berries and grapes.
  • Savor sweets. Avoid the array of cookies, cakes and pies for a simple chocolate bark made with seeds, nuts and dried fruits or baked apples with cinnamon.
  • Rethink what you drink. Try sparkling water with dashes of cherry and orange juices or fresh lemon or lime juices. Enjoy non-alcoholic botanical or herbal spirits, like Optimist Drinks. Try mulled tea or an unsweetened spicy sweet tea, like Good Earth® Sweet and Spicy caffeine-free herbal tea. You can also brew your own tea, such as hibiscus mint tea.

More Information

For inquiries, contact You can follow Michelle MacDonald on Instagram at @winknutrition.