Homemade pumpkin pie can be made with less sugar—but it often comes down to your type of crust. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

Whether you plan on celebrating by yourself or with immediate family this holiday season, homemade recipes are a surefire way to ease your mind and appease your hunger.

Made-from-scratch versions of holiday mainstays aren’t just healthier. They’re more delicious, too.

Some ideas to explore for your favorite dishes:

Simply stuffing

Good stuffing can make or break a holiday dinner. The versions from the store may be cheaper, but at what cost?

Comparing homemade stuffing to store-bought, an at-home blend will be more nutritious, contain no additives and taste better. You may need more ingredients for a homemade recipe, but you’re likely to have most of them on hand already.

Plus, you can boost your nutrition by adding in some fresh celery for fiber and carrots for vitamin A. Explore this impressive list of healthy stuffing ideas.

Another added bonus to recipes made from scratch? You get to fill your kitchen with glorious smells—and you create family memories while you’re at it.

Have your kids mix together the wet ingredients (stock, eggs, and butter) while you cook the vegetables.

With fresh sage, parsley and the nutty, toasty flavors of a whole grain loaf, stuffing is an essential dish for a fabulous holiday dinner.

Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for three to four days. Warm it and top with an over-easy egg for a delicious breakfast.

Cranberry cravings

There’s a world of difference between store-bought cranberry sauce and homemade.

You can find plenty of at-home concoctions online, many with fewer calories and less sugar. And let’s be honest—they often taste better when you add the mouth-watering combo of cinnamon and fresh orange.

While it’s easy to pick up a can of cranberry sauce you can quickly heat and serve at home, a homemade recipe only takes 15 minutes and adds a massive punch of flavors and aromas.

Keep in mind the health benefits, too. Cranberries are packed with powerful disease-fighting antioxidants.

Considering most of the ingredients you’ll need are likely in your kitchen already, cranberries are probably the only ingredient you would have to pick up.

Prepare it a day in advance so you’ll have more time to celebrate on your actual holiday.

Leftover cranberry sauce can be stored in your fridge 10 to 14 days. Use it as an added ingredient with yogurt, cottage cheese, salad dressing or sandwiches.

Pie time

We all know what time it is. Pie time!

The comparison between your local grocer’s pumpkin pie and the versions you can make at home might surprise you on every level.

Your homemade pie can be cheaper, healthier and tastier. It also presents opportunities for family time. With help from an adult, kids can mix the fillings and roll out the dough. The little ones will love learning in the kitchen, allowing you to focus on other baking tasks.

You can use canned pumpkin, which is loaded with immune-boosting beta carotene. Also, be sure to make a crust that contains less sugar, like this one.

If you have any leftover pumpkin mix, it stays fresh up to seven days in the fridge. It’s great to add in smoothies, oatmeal or pasta sauce.

If you take those few extra minutes to prepare some meals from scratch this season, you’ll be starting a flavorful new tradition with your family—a tradition that’s healthier, tastier and fun for everyone.

Written by Spectrum Health dietetic interns Alyssa Koopman, Clarissa Kelly and Eva Van Artsen.





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