Heart-Healthy Holiday Recipe Round-Up – Tasty Balance Nutrition Los Angeles Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Diana J. Smith

The following post is written by guest blogger and USC Dietetic Intern, Jessica Myers.  Be sure to check out her Instagram page. @myersxhealth for easy and delicious food and nutrition tips!

What do twinkly lights, decorative coffee cups, and the fresh smell of pine all have in common?

holiday hot beverage in a white mub with heart ornament, white snowflake decorations and fir sprigs

That’s right, the holiday season is upon us! After the unprecedented 2020 year we’ve had, we deserve a happy and festive holiday season. Quarantine has even turned many of us into self-proclaimed Martha Stewarts. I’m not kidding, I’ve made too many banana bread recipes to count. While this holiday season is definitely one to enjoy and indulge in, we want to be sure to still be mindful of what we are putting on our plates. Rather than thinking of all the foods I need to restrict, I think about all the delicious and heart-healthy foods that I am able to include on my plate!

Shifting your mindset from “I can’t have my favorite holiday foods” to “I get to have delicious food like mom’s roasted potatoes and grandma’s famous bread pudding” will create a healthier relationship with food and will make following any dietary pattern, like a low sodium diet, more doable and enjoyable. I like to follow the balanced plate method, especially when I have a lot of food to choose from, to ensure I am eating a well-balanced meal including all the food groups! The plate method consists of half of your plate being non-starchy vegetables (green beans, cauliflower, and carrots, for example) a quarter from a lean protein source (turkey, chicken, beans, etc) and the other quarter being a grain or starchy food  (potatoes, rice, pasta, whole grains as much as possible).

 Martha Stewart or not, many of us are still searching for the perfect recipes to whip up for our loved ones! Below are heart-healthy holiday recipes, created by fellow dietitians and recipe developers, for you and yours to enjoy!  If you have a favorite heart-healthy holiday favorite, let me know in the comments!

Note about sodium:  Some authors specifically pointed out that their recipes are lower in sodium. 

Heart-Healthy Holiday Recipes from Dietitians and Food Bloggers

Heart healthy holiday recipe round up collage with pics of cranberry tart, salmon, squash and brussels sprouts


Orange Yogurt Cranberry Tart Judy Barbe RD, author of Your 6-week Guide to LiveBest 

Orange cranberry breakfast tart on a marble cake stand

Photo credit: Judy Barbe

Cranberry Apple Christmas Breakfast Casserole Healthy Seasonal Recipes 

Breakfast Flatbread Pizza with Smoked Salmon, Scrambled Eggs, Avocado & Arugula  Lindsey Pine MS, RDN, CLT, TastyBalance Nutrition

Cranberry Pomegranate Baked Oatmeal Sarah Schlichter, Bucket List Tummy

Cranberry Pomegranate Baked Oatmeal in white baking pan

Photo credit: Sarah Schlichter

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Baked Oatmeal Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, founder of Nutrition Starting You and author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club

Cinnamon Apple French Toast Jessica Myers, MyersxHealth

Cinnamon Apple French Toast on white plate next to decorative pumpkin

Photo credit: Jessica Myers

Kale, Pepper and Chickpea Shakshuka Lindsey Pine MS, RDN, CLT, TastyBalance Nutrition (lower sodium recipe)

skillet with kale, pepper, and chickpea shakshuka

Photo Credit: Darren Muir

Appetizers & Salads

Fruit and Crunchy Carrot Salad Katheryn Kastner, RD.
A note from Katheryn: This carrot salad is bright and colorful and the perfect appetizer or side for a festive meal. No salt added to the dressing, making it a
low sodium recipe.

Celeriac and Apple Salad with Vanilla Honey Dressing Ginger Hultin, Seattle Based RD and Owner of Champagne Nutrition

celeriac salad with pomegranate seeds on white plate

Photo credit: Ginger Hultin

Simple Brussels Sprouts Salad Julie Kay Andrews, The Gourmet RD

Winter Salad with Pomegranate and Goat Cheese Chelsea Jackle, MFN, RDN, LD of Chelsea Dishes. A note from Chelsea: This recipe is featuring high fiber chickpeas + heart-healthy pistachios. (lower sodium recipe)

winter salad with pomegranate seeds and pistachios in glass salad bowl and dressing being poured over the top

Photo credit: Chelsea Jackie

Holiday Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pomegranate Kara Lydon, The Foodie Dietitian

shaved brussels sprout salad on white platter

Photo Credit: Kara Lydon

Walnut-Pepper Spread Food Network

Baked Brie with Jam and Nuts The Mediterranean Dish 

baked brie with nuts and jam in black dish

Photo credit: The Mediterranean Dish

Layered Hummus Dip Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD Owner, Sound Bites Nutrition LLC 

Shrimp Cocktail with Romesco Sauce Lindsey Pine MS, RDN, CLT, TastyBalance Nutrition

Side Dishes

Vegan Zucchini Gratin Minimalist Baker 

sliced yellow squash and zucchini in gratin dish

Photo credit: Minimalist Baker

Cauliflower Latkes (Pancakes) Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, founder of Nutrition Starting You and author of The Protein – Packed Breakfast Club

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts + Cranberries and Pecans Christie Gagnon, RD, LD of Hoorah to Health. (lower sodium recipe)

Cumin Roasted Squash with Lemon Tahini Sauce Marisa Westbrook, UpRoot Kitchen. (lower sodium recipe)

roasted squash and pomegranate seeds in white dish and whole pomegranate fruit on the side

Photo credit: Marisa Westbrook

Smashed Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Glaze, Pepitas, & Cranberries Melissa Macher, RD of Grateful Meal Nutrition

Slow Cooked Harissa and Cumin Green Beans Epicurious  

Lemon Garlic Roasted Asparagus Amy Gorin MS, RDN, Amy Gorin Nutrition 

roasted green asparagus on white platter

Photo credit: Amy Gorin

Whole Roasted Kohlrabi with Pomegranate Reduction Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD of It’s a Veg World After All.        (A note from Lizzie: This recipe emphasizes heart-healthy pomegranate juice.)

Roasted Leeks & Persimmons with Goat Cheese Lindsey Pine MS, RDN, CLT, TastyBalance Nutrition (lower sodium recipe)

Green Beans with Pecans, Cranberries & Parmesan Karman Meyer, RD, LDN and founder of The Nutrition Adventure

white bowl filled with green beans, shaved parmesan cheese and dried cranberries

Photo credit: Karman Meyer

Pesto Scalloped Potatoes Laura Yautz, RDN at Being Nutritious 

Make-Ahead Corn Casserole From Scratch Megan Byrd, The Oregon Dietitian

Israeli Salad with Apples, Cranberries and Herbs Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network

Wild Rice with Shiitakes and Toasted Almonds Victoria Abbott Riccardi, Eating Well

Easy Roasted Root Vegetables Sara Haas, RDN, Author and Consultant Culinary RD 

Butternut Squash Cranberry Apple Bake Lauren Sharifi, Lauren Sharifi Nutrition 



Roasted Salmon with Herbs and Pomegranate Jenny Shea Rawn, MS, MPH, RD of My Cape Cod Kitchen  

salmon filet topped with pomegranate seeds and herbs

Photo credit: Jenny Shea Rawn

 Bison Steaks with Fig Balsamic Sauce Food & Wine 

bison steaks on wood cutting board with bowl of fig balsamic sauce

Photo credit: Jonny Valiant, Food & Wine

 Easy Baked Fish with Garlic and Basil The Mediterranean Dish

Scallops with Grapefruit and Onion Salad Food & Wine 

Grilled Cornish Hens with Herb Brine Southern Living

Grilled Citrus Chicken with Raspberry Red Wine Sauce Lindsey Pine MS, RDN, CLT, TastyBalance Nutrition

Vegan Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese This Healthy Kitchen

Sun-Dried Tomato Vegan Meatballs The Minimalist Baker

sun-dried tomato vegan meatballs on white platter with fresh basil leaves

Photo Credit: The Minimalist Baker

Chard and Herbed Ricotta Galette Ivy Manning, Eating Well

Vegetarian Vegetable Wellington OMG! Yummy 

vegetable wellington on parchment paper next to chef knife and herb sprigs

Photo credit: Beth Lee OMG! Yummy

Festive Beverages 

Virgin Prune Pineapple Sangria + Rosemary Syrup  Amy Gorin MS, RDN, Amy Gorin Nutrition. (lower sodium recipe)

virgin prune sangria in glass mug surrounded by oranges, apples and rosemary sprigs

Photo credit: Amy Gorin

Hot Wassail Christie Gagnon, RD, LD of Hoorah to Health. (lower sodium recipe) 

Ginger Pomegranate Sparkler Lindsey Pine MS, RDN, CLT, TastyBalance Nutrition (lower sodium recipe)

Simple Vegan Eggnog Cocktail Ginger Hultin, Seattle Based RD and Owner of Champagne Nutrition 

Gingerbread Hot Cocoa Laura Yautz, RDN at Being Nutritious 

gingerbread hot cocoa in glass mug topped with whipped cream and in front of christmas tree with lights

Photo credit: Laura Yautz


Cookie Dough Hummus Chrissy Carroll, Snacking Sneakers 

cookie dough hummus in green bowl with spoon sticking out of top

Photo credit: Chrissy Carroll

Roasted Pear with Dried Plums and Pistachios Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, founder of Nutrition Starting You and author of The Protein – Packed Breakfast Club. (lower sodium recipe)

No Added Sugar Fruit and Nut Bread Elizabeth Ward, Better Is The New Perfect. (lower sodium recipe)  (A note from Elizabeth: This is not grandma’s fruitcake! It’s a quick bread that is packed with great taste without added sugar. It’s low in sodium, and happens to be gluten-free too!)

slices of no sugar fruit and nut bread on white platter

Photo credit: Elizabeth Ward

Holiday Spice Cake Christie Gagnon, RD, LD of Hoorah to Health. (lower sodium recipe)

Cranberry Semifreddo Lindsey Pine MS, RDN, CLT, TastyBalance Nutrition

Cheesecake with Blackberry Compote Klara Knezevic, RDN, LD, CLT, Rebecca Bitzer MS RD & Associates  

Customizable Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles Mackenzie Burgess, Cheerful Choices. (lower sodium recipe)

green and brown chocolate truffles

Photo credit: Mackenzie Burgess

Warm Berry Crumble Jessica Myers, myersxhealth (lower sodium recipe) –> Recipe Below!

berry crumble in white bowl garnished with fresh blueberries

Photo Credit: Jessica Myers

If you are anything like me, then you manage to somehow botch any baking recipe that you attempt to make. They say perfectionism is key for baking so being the perfectionist that I am, I really thought I had baking in the bag. Apparently not. This is why I love to make this warm berry crisp. There is no such thing as messing up when baking a crisp, so you better believe this is my go-to dessert recipe, year-round!

I also love making this because most of the ingredients are items that you have laying around at home. Plus, I can use up all of those frozen berries that I buy for my smoothies and forget to use! Need more of a reason to try this recipe? Believe it or not, this crisp also makes for a heart-healthy dessert thanks to the addition of walnuts, flaxseeds, almond flour, and berries. Essentially, this warm berry crisp is packed with fiber, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and many micronutrients making it healthy for your heart, literally and figuratively. Happy Holidays!



Warm Berry Crumble

berry crumble in white bowl garnished with fresh blueberries

This crumble is a heart-healthy dessert thanks to the addition of walnuts, flaxseeds, almond flour, and berries. It’s packed with fiber, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and many micronutrients and super simple to make!

3 cups frozen berry mix 

6 medjool dates, pitted

packed cup almond flour

⅓ cup walnuts

2 Tablespoons ground flaxseeds 

⅓ cup unsweetened coconut flakes 

½ lemon, juiced 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon 

2 Tablespoons melted coconut oil 

1 packed Tablespoon arrowroot starch 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

To make the topping, add the coconut oil, dates, and ½ of the vanilla extract in a food processor and blend until it looks like a paste. Then add the almond flour, walnuts, coconut flakes, ground flax seeds, and ½ of the cinnamon, and process into a crumb-like consistency. Set aside. 

Add your frozen berries and arrowroot starch to a bowl and combine well enough so the mixture is evenly coated. Add the lemon juice, and the remainder of the cinnamon and vanilla extract and mix well. 

To a lightly greased baking dish, add the berry mixture and then sprinkle the topping all over on top. 

Bake until the berries begin to bubble and the topping is golden brown for about 30 minutes. 

Remove from the oven, let it cool a bit and enjoy!

Keywords: dessert, heart healthy, low sodium, gluten free, dairy free, vegan

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