The holidays aren’t just about cookies and pies!

By Emily VanSchmus
December 14, 2020
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The holiday season is always filled with sweet treats. Whether it’s Christmas cookies, chocolate Advent calendars, or holiday cakes, I typically consume a fair amount of sugar as I countdown to Christmas. And while I have never been known to turn down a snowman-shaped sugar cookie, I’ve been on a health kick lately, so I'm on the lookout for healthier swaps to make this season. 

To find inspiration, I turned to Instagram—where I found thousands of holiday food ideas that are just as fun and creative as a big tray of decorated sugar cookies. I’ve rounded up a few of the ideas that I can't wait to make in hopes that they can also help you (and your family) get into the holiday spirit this Christmas. 

This adorable cheese ball is even more festive than Rudolph’s reindeer games. Melissa from No. 2 Pencil turned a delicious cheese ball (seasoned with Ranch dressing powder and coated in chopped pecans) into a reindeer by adding pretzel antlers, black olive eyes, and a cherry tomato for the iconic red nose look. For the full recipe and how-to, check out Melissa’s blog post.

This veggie tray is anything but boring! Sarah from 30 Minute Foodie piled this Christmas tree-shaped tray ($16, Target) with cut vegetables, fruit, and crackers. It's perfect for munching on as you settle in for a holiday movie marathon.

This tasty snack from Siya’s Mummy’s Kitchen is so easy, even kids can help make it! To make the Santa figure, skewer half a banana, a rice cake, a strawberry, and a mini marshmallow. Once the skewer has been assembled, accessorize with chocolate sprinkle eyes and a small red candy nose.

Festive snacks aren’t just for kids! We love Sarah’s puff-pastry-and-pesto Christmas trees as a Christmas dinner appetizer. To make them, use a star cookie cutter ($6, Joann) to cut puff pastry dough into shapes of varying sizes, then bake until golden brown. When you’re ready to assemble the trees, alternate adding pastry stars and spoonfuls of pesto to a long skewer.

Charcutewreaths are this year’s hottest new food trend: If you haven’t seen them before, they’re essentially a holiday charcuterie board made to look like a decorated Christmas wreath. Melissa’s wreath is made from various kinds of meats and cheeses, accented with sprigs of rosemary and black and green olives. To learn her best assembly tips, check out Melissa’s blog post.

These reindeer pops, made by Clare from Dietician Clare, are a healthy snack with a hint of chocolate (our favorite kind!). To make them, she dipped frozen bananas in a mixture of white chocolate and Greek yogurt, then added pretzel antlers and red candy noses. We can’t wait to make a whole batch of our own!

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