The good news: no food is on the naughty list for the holidays.  The reality: holiday gatherings center around sharing food. It’s okay to indulge a little.

For a guilt-free experience indulge mindfully. Eat slowly, taste, savor and enjoy memories that come with favorites. Mindless overeating leads to discomfort and can interfere with enjoying the rest of the day.

With all that said, the holidays can be an opportunity to develop new favorites, especially if there’s been life or health changes over the year.

When exploring new recipes or tweaking old favorites, look to ingredients found in the Meditteranean way of eating ( For example, does the recipe include a fruit, plentiful vegetables, a whole grain, nuts, or healthy fats?

Two of my favorites: a crustless pumpkin pine and a cranberry salsa appetizer.

Several years ago, Flourish with Food focused on pumpkin and offered Libby’s crustless pumpkin pie recipe

My favorite crustless pumpkin pie version is similar. However, this version offers 3 crunch topping options. The maple-apple/pear topping, my favorite, offers great flavor and textures. Where given an ingredient choice, I use sugar and fresh eggs.

This cranberry salsa recipe has been in my recipe box for over 15 years. 


1-½ c. fresh cranberries

2 green onions, minced

1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

¼ cup sugar

2 T. minced fresh cilantro

1 T. grated fresh ginger

1 T. lemon juice

1 (8 oz) fat-reduced, Neufchâtel or fat-free cream cheese

Whole grain Melba Toast crackers


Pulse cranberries in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl; stir in green onions and the next 5 ingredients. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours.

Spread 1 teaspoon cream cheese on a Melba toast and top with 1 teaspoon cranberry salsa.

Tip: Because the cranberry mixture can “bleed” into the cream cheese, I prefer to let each person assemble their own appetizer. A 3-compartment dish works great for presentation.

About Mary Lynne Hixson, MA, RD:

Mary Lynne, a registered dietitian, helps others enhance their health through the advocacy of nutrient-rich food choices and safe food-handling practices. Her expertise also includes counseling patients who have Type 2 diabetes and advising those who are in medically managed weight loss programs. After her 35+ year career, she retired and became involved with the launch of Harvest of Hope Pantry in 2012 as a Board of Directors member. Mary Lynne is a weekly volunteer with Cultivate’s Carry-Out Caravan program, shopping and delivering groceries to seniors in the Boulder area, and also a frequent volunteer with Harvest of Hope.