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Happy Heart's Guilt-Free Holiday Recipes

Happy Heart dressed for the holidaysBy Liz Moore, RD, LDN

With the holiday season comes lots of candy, desserts, baked goods, fattening appetizers and high-calorie dishes. It can be hard to stick to your healthy goals with the temptations of all these decadent foods. We’ve come up with a few easy recipes that allow you to enjoy seasonal flavors and stay healthy while you celebrate during the holidays.

Our Balsamic Brussels Sprouts recipe is a delicious side dish for a holiday meal. These little cruciferous vegetables are low in fat and sodium, and are a great source of vitamin C.

For a healthier — and tastier — alternative to cranberry sauce, try the Cranberry Apple Relish. Fresh cranberries are a superfood — they are low in calories but are packed with vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants.

Our Sweet & Savory Snack Mix makes a delicious and guilt-free after-dinner treat or party snack. The mix contains nuts packed with heart-healthy fats, dried blueberries loaded with vitamin K to help your blood clot properly, and dark chocolate to protect your cardiovascular system.

All the mouthwatering desserts around this time of year can make us want to ditch our diets. If you want to avoid those sugary and fattening temptations but still enjoy a sweet treat, try our fantastic Cranberry Apple Crumble recipe. It’s so good, you will go back for seconds, and don’t have to feel guilty about it!

We hope you enjoy these recipes and have a happy and healthy holiday season!

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sproutsServes 6


4 cups Brussels sprouts, cut in half
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dried basil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat Brussels sprouts with oil and lay flat in single layer, cut side down, on baking pan. Sprinkle basil and drizzle balsamic vinegar over the entire pan.

Roast until tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Add pepper to taste.

Nutrition Facts: Total calories per serving: 44; Total fat: 2.5g; Saturated fat: 0g; Total Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 40mg; Total Carbohydrate: 7g; Total fiber: 3g; Sugar: 3g; Protein: 0.5g

Cranberry Apple Relish

cranberry relishServes 10


12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 apple, peeled and diced
1/2 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup brown sugar


Bring all ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve warm with turkey or use cold as a spread for a sandwich.

Nutrition Facts: Total calories per serving: 52; Total fat: 0g; Saturated fat: 0g; Total Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 5mg; Total Carbohydrate: 15g; Total fiber: 3g; Sugar: 9g; Protein: 0g

Sweet & Savory Snack Mix

Serves 8

fruit and nut mixIngredients

1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
20 small pretzel twists 


Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Serve as a snack, appetizer or sweet treat after a meal.

Nutrition Facts: Total calories per serving: 145; Total fat: 8g; Saturated fat: 0.5g; Total Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 25mg; Total Carbohydrate: 14g; Total fiber: 3g; Sugar: 9g; Protein: 4g

Cranberry Apple Crumble

cranberry apple crumbleServes 6


4 cups apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg

Crumble topping

1/2 cup rolled oats
4 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp butter 


Heat oven to 350°F. In a baking dish, combine the apples, cranberries, 1/3 cup sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.

In a separate bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar and flour. Cut the butter in small pieces and add to this dry mixture.

Spread mixture over apples in the baking dish. Bake covered for about 45 minutes, taking the cover off for the last 10 minutes.

Nutrition Facts: Total calories per serving: 245; Total fat: 4g; Saturated fat: 0.8g; Total Cholesterol: 10mg; Sodium: 50mg; Total Carbohydrate: 38g; Total fiber: 3g; Sugar: 28g; Protein: 1.5g

Elisabeth (Liz) Moore, RD, LDNElisabeth (Liz) Moore, RD, LDN, is our resident guru in heart-healthy nutrition. She is a registered dietitian for BIDMC's CardioVascular Institute (CVI) and sees patients in BIDMC's outpatient nutrition clinic and the CVI's Cardiovascular Health and Lipid Center. Moore received her BS degree in human nutrition from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Above content provided by the CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor. 

December 2014

Contact Information

CardioVascular Institute at
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215

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