A nutritionist provides healthy alternatives to holiday favorites

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — All this week, AB1C3 is serving up holiday tips. On Thursday, we’re talking about healthy alternatives to holiday food with easy recipes you can try at home.

We spoke with a registered dietitian at the University of Texas Health Science Center, Dolores Woods, who took us into her kitchen to show us some easy recipes you can try too.

“It’s fresh apples and cinnamon,” Woods said. “There’s maple syrup…”

Woods says you’ll notice these colorful dishes are festive, and the best part is they’re healthier for you.

In her opinion, she says, it’s all about maintaining the flavor while substituting certain ingredients.

Instead of buying apple pie, try making an apple crisp!

“You’re not going to have the crust, which is really high in saturated fat. So instead, it’s just topped with oatmeal and a little bit of maple syrup with nuts, and that’s going to make it healthier overall,” Woods said.

Here are the recipes.

Apple crisp


  • 2 tbsp. of pure maple syrup – split use
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon – divided use
  • 1 cup finely chopped raw walnuts


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Combine apples, 1 tbsp. of maple syrup and a tsp. of cinnamon in a medium baking dish; mix well. Set aside.

3. Combine oats, walnuts, remaining 1 tbsp. of maple syrup, and the remaining tsp. cinnamon in a medium bowl; mix well.

4. Top the apple mixture with the oat mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the apples are soft.

Quinoa filling is another alternative that Woods suggests.

“There’s celery onions and apples that are sautéed and then spices are added — poultry seasoning, dried thyme, salt, pepper, and then quinoa with a little chicken stock,” Woods said. “Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes until the quinoa is done, and that’s it.”

Quinoa dressing


  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 medium celery stalks, chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 1 medium green apple, peeled (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cups low-sodium organic vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 tsp. seasoning for poultry
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley


1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.

2. Add onion, celery and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until tender.

3. Add the diced apple, salt, thyme, sage and pepper and cook for one minute. Add the quinoa and toast for about one minute.

4. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat.

5. Add cranberries. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

6. Add parsley and pecans; mash with a fork and serve.

Not to mention, Woods says quinoa is packed with protein and will absorb all the spices, creating a nice fall flavor, like these Honey Baked Sweet Potatoes.

“You’re probably more familiar with a sweet potato casserole with lots of brown sugar and marshmallow topping,” Woods said. “These are really simple, they’re just sliced ​​and baked with a little olive oil, honey and cinnamon, and you get a really nice glaze.”

Sweet potatoes baked in honey


  • 4 sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Spread the sweet potatoes in one layer on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Drizzle the oil. Brush each slice with honey, and sprinkle the potatoes with cinnamon, salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the oven or until tender. Remove from the oven, turn the slice with tongs and brush with any remaining honey.

3. Transfer them to a serving plate.

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Image Source : abc13.com

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