When the holidays come around, there’s a lot of talk about “avoiding the sugar trap” and staying healthy amongst the onslaught of rich feasts and sweet treats. A great way to keep your body nourished while still enjoying what the holiday menu has to offer is by choosing whole-food plant-based ingredients!
Alright, so we get the “plant-based,” but what about the “whole-food” part?
To start, there isn’t one specific definition for whole-foods plant-based eating (WFPB), mostly because it’s not “necessarily a set diet — it’s more of a lifestyle” and can drastically change depending on the person who’s practicing. For instance, some people practice a vegan WFPB way of life, while others may include animal products.
With that said, there are a few principles that WFPB eaters follow including focusing on “whole, minimally processed foods,” limiting or avoiding animal products, filling the plate with plants (veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts), removing “refined foods, like added sugars, white flour, and processed oils,” and paying especially close attention to “food quality, with many proponents of the WFPB diet promoting locally sourced, organic food whenever possible.”
During the holidays, following a WFPB way of life doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have those delicious holiday cookies, but it does emphasize finding those plentiful whole foods and plant-based alternatives. For instance, choose nutrient-rich coconut sugar over refined white cane sugar. Try a vegan butter alternative. Opt for creamy oat milk or coconut milk over cow’s milk.
Looking to jump on the WFPB wagon for the last couple of weeks of the holidays? Here are a few recipes from the Food Monster App to get you started, keep you festive, and blow the socks off your family and friends with delicious flavors with a healthy twist!
1. Raw Peppermint Oreos Dipped in Dark Chocolate
Source: Raw Peppermint Oreos Dipped in Dark Chocolate
“Raw” doesn’t necessarily indicate that a recipe is healthy, plant-based, or made from whole foods, but generally, in the vegan world, it gets you pretty darn close! This Raw Peppermint Oreos Dipped in Dark Chocolate recipe by Emily von Euw has all the goodies without sacrificing the holiday spirit of splurging. Filled with 100 percent plant-based foods, these cookies are also a rich source of healthy fat from nuts, coconut oil, and cacao butter, and are naturally sweetened with dates.
2. Potato Leek Quiche
Source: Potato Leek Quiche
For Christmas morning, alongside those pancakes and waffles, try serving up this whole-food-filled alternative! This Potato Leek Quiche recipe by Nele Liivlaid sources its meaty texture from leeks, carrots, and potatoes instead of eggs and creates a delightful, flaky crust from protein-rich chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, and spices. A great sugar-free alternative to give you that nutrient boost for the day!
3. Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips
Source: Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips
Looking for that healthy, whole-food-based snack to replace those chocolate-covered morcels that always seem to linger about the house during the holidays? This Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips recipe by Nicole Dunai will do the trick! These apple chips are naturally filled with fiber, and the tart sweetness is carefully offset by the slightly spicy cinnamon coating.
Gratitude: Plant-Based Thanksgiving Cookbook
No other holiday captures the spirit of home cooking the way Thanksgiving does. This is why you need the ultimate Thanksgiving cookbook, One Green Planet’s Gratitude: Plant-Based Recipes to Create your own Thanksgiving Tradition! In the cookbook, you’ll find our 100 most popular plant-based thanksgiving recipes like Soft Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts, Spiced Apple Cake with Cashew Frosting, Sweet Potato Chocolate Pudding with Nut Crumble Topping, Cinnamon Apple Hand Pies, and hearty entrees like Roast Root Vegetable Stack With Dukkah, Vegducken: Butternut Squash Stuffed With Eggplant, Zucchini, and a Mushroom Lentil Stuffing, and Seitan Roast With Sausage and Pear Stuffing and Apple Cider Gravy and so much more!
4. Key Lime Tart
Source: Key Lime Tart
Instead of the traditional pie or cake for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day dinner, how about going with a whole-foods, plant-based tart? This Key Lime Tart recipe by Buffy-Ellen Gill is brimming with all the nutrient-rich ingredients you could ask for, including almonds, dates, coconut, ginger, avocado, and cashews. Incredibly nutrient-dense and yet still sweet enough to delight the taste buds of none WFPB eaters.
5. Lentil Paté
Source: Lentil Paté
This Lentil Paté recipe by Florian Nouh is not only a great side for a holiday feast, but it’s also a super healthy, whole-food-filled snack that is perfect to have in the fridge for those moments when you need an energy boost. Lentils are one of the most protein and fiber-rich plant-based ingredients, making this paté a powerful companion to get you through the holidays.
6. Coconut Oil Cookies
Source: Coconut Oil Cookies
Super simple, 100 percent plant-based, and rich in whole foods, these Coconut Oil Cookies by Kristen Genton are a great recipe to bring home to the family or share at the office. Based around healthy fat-filled cashews and coconut oil, this recipe also opts for nutrient-rich coconut sugar and fiber-filled applesauce to naturally sweeten and thicken!
7. Spaghetti Squash With Lentil Marinara
Source: Spaghetti Squash With Lentil Marinara
Take a walk on the vegetable side this holiday by serving up this filling and delicious Spaghetti Squash With Lentil Marinara recipe by Susan Edelman. This recipe truly has it all: brimming with fiber from lentils and squash, antioxidants from tomatoes and carrots, a bit of vitamin D from mushrooms, and a range of nutrients from the central ingredient, spaghetti squash.
8. Zucchini Ribbon and Caramelized Hearts of Palm Salad
Source: Zucchini Ribbon and Caramelized Hearts of Palm Salad
To go along with those gravy-covered dishes, take a stab at this hardy, nutrient-dense salad. This Zucchini Ribbon and Caramelized Hearts of Palm Salad recipe by Tori Cooper is properly filled out with meaty hearts of palm, zucchini, tomato, avocado, corn, and blackberries. Swap out the sugar, and you’ve got a great low-sugar option that’s rich in whole foods!
9. Tahini Blondies With Blueberry Chia Jam Swirl
Source: Tahini Blondies With Blueberry Chia Jam Swirl
Instead of the traditional brownies, try out whipping up some blondies this year! This Tahini Blondies With Blueberry Chia Jam Swirl recipe by Courtney West uses natural sweeteners such as maple syrup, sweet rice flour, applesauce, lemon juice, and blueberries to pair with the earthy, nutty flavor of tahini, teff flour, and oat flour. A wonderfully sweet yet balanced treat for the holidays!
10. Zucchini Coconut Fritters With Tomato Hemp Salsa
Source: Zucchini Coconut Fritters With Tomato Hemp Salsa
Another great Christmas morning alternative, this Zucchini Coconut Fritters With Tomato Hemp Salsa recipe by Courtney West adds a twist of spice to your traditional holiday morning meal! Plus, you’ll start the day with a dose of nutrient-dense veggies and healthy fat!
11. Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies
It’s not the holidays until you’ve tried your hand at a chocolate chip cookie recipe of some sort! This Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe by Nicole Dunai is a great recipe for beginner whole-food, plant-based eaters. The bulk is based around protein and nutrient-rich chickpeas and oat flour, sweetened with plant-based maple syrup, and sources a dairy-free alternative for those melty chocolate chips that bring the cookie together!
12. Red Quinoa and Beet Burger
Source: Red Quinoa and Beet Burger
Burgers may not be a traditional holiday meal, but they are certainly a traditional American meal. This year, try your hand at fully plant-based, whole-food-rich burger alternatives like this Red Quinoa and Beet Burger recipe by Ana @ The Awesome Green. The “meat” is created from super nutritious quinoa, beet, flax, olive and coconut oil, onion, and whole bread crumbs and drizzled with avocado and tahini-based dressing!
13. Caffeine-Free Pink Latte
Source: Caffeine-Free Pink Latte
The holidays already wind us up enough, why add caffeine to the mix? With that said, just because it’s caffeine-free doesn’t mean it can’t be an enjoyable experience! This Caffeine-Free Pink Latte recipe by Rachel Evans uses antioxidant powerhouse beet powder, naturally sweet dates, maca powder, and non-dairy milk to create a delicious caffeine-free beverage that still gives you a boost!
14. Indian Golden Mashed Potatoes With Curried Gravy
Source: Indian Golden Mashed Potatoes With Curried Gravy
A twist on the traditional, this Indian Golden Mashed Potatoes With Curried Gravy recipe by Melanie Sorrentino is the perfect whole-food side dish for a holiday feast! Based on creamy red potatoes and whipped into a delicious lather with coconut milk, olive oil, and tomato sauce, this curry-rich recipe will bring out the traditional flavors in the rest of your meal!
15. Raw Hot Fudge Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Cakes
Source: Raw Hot Fudge Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Cakes
Just because it’s a whole-food-based recipe doesn’t mean it can’t be incredibly indulgent! This Raw Hot Fudge Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Cakes recipe by Medha Swaminathan is super simple, rich, and brimming with nutrients, including potassium and magnesium-filled bananas, healthy fat-filled peanuts and coconut, and anti-inflammatory raw cacao powder.
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Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home
Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental well-being, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health, and more! Unfortunately, dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, and prostate cancer, and has many side effects.
For those interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend purchasing one of our many plant-based cookbooks or downloading the Food Monster App which has thousands of delicious recipes making it the largest vegan recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Here are some resources to get you started:
- Weekly Vegan Meal Plans
- Plant-Based Health Resources
- Plant-Based Food & Recipes
- The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition
- Plant-Based Nutrition Resources
- Budget-Friendly Plant-Based Recipes
- High Protein Plant-Based Recipes
- Plant-Based Meal Prep
Easy Ways to Help the Planet:
- Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based recipe app on the App Store to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
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