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How To Make Popular Casserole Dishes Healthy

Casserole, Healthy, Holiday, Clean Eats, Dairy Free, Cooking

How To Make Popular Casserole Dishes Healthy

With the upcoming holidays, casseroles are usually always on the menu for those big parties + dinners! These casseroles make it easy for hosts to serve a large party. Unfortunately, many popular holiday casseroles use crummy ingredients from cans + processed junk. If you plan on having a casserole for the upcoming holidays, I wanted to give you a resource you can turn to to show you how to use healthier ingredients!

Popular Casserole Served During The Holidays

  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Potato Au Gratin
  • Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Macaroni + Cheese

Healthy Ingredient Switches

  • Milk – Yep, in most casseroles you’ll find milk and many people load their carts up with gallons of it. Make sure to read the blog post that I wrote explaining why  conventional gallons of milk is unhealthy. If you can find some local raw milk that come from grass-fed cows or goats, I will recommend that over the milk you get in stores. Unfortunately, raw milk can be very pricey + harder to find (depending on where you live). Opt for a non-dairy milk, such as plain coconut milk. This is a great substitute for regular cows milk in the casseroles. Almond milk is another popular non-dairy milk, but unless you are purchasing a good quality one (which is pricey and comes in small containers), I don’t use almond milk much.
  • Butter – Butter is AWESOME + very healthy, BUT be careful if you are serving anyone who has an allergy to dairy products. Ghee is a great substitute. If you use butter, make sure you’re buying a butter from grass-fed cows. Kerrygold is a popular easy to find brand!
  • Cheese – Honestly, cheese is hard to substitute. I’m not a fan of “fake cheese” – it just doesn’t do it. (I do use a cashew cheese queso that I like from Life Is NoYoke) If you have to use cheese in a casserole, goat milk cheese is easier for us to digest. If you use a cow’s milk cheese, get one from grass-fed cows. Like milk, I recommend cheeses being raw and local when possible.
  • Canned Soups (Like Cream Of Mushroom) – A popular ingredient, like in green bean casserole, is using cream of mushroom. These canned soups are loaded with a crazy amount of processed sodium, inflammatory vegetable oils, wheat, MSG, unnatural flavorings. No thanks! You can find homemade cream of mushroom soup recipes on Pinterest that use healthy alternatives, like bone broth, coconut milk, mushrooms, spices, etc.
  • Flour – Any casserole that asks to use regular flour is most likely for thickening purposes of liquids. Instead of processed inflammatory wheat flour for thickening, opt for arrowroot powder or tapioca starch.
  • French Fried Onions – Your best bet is to make your own! Slice some onions, coconut milk, a gluten free flour blend (almond flour, cassava flour, etc), and fry them in some avocado oil.
  • Pasta – Instead of regular wheat pasta, I look for more nutrient dense noodles made from quinoa or legumes. These noodles are ideal if you really need a noodle to feel like a regular noodle. If you’re using spaghetti like strands, you can also use spaghetti squash or zoodles (zucchini noodles!) for an even more nutrient dense (and lower carb!) casserole!
  • Sugar – Use healthy substitutes like honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar versus white sugar!

Don’t let these classic holiday casseroles skip the table. All you have to do is switch a couple of ingredients + you can be good to go and indulge without feeling guilty and staying healthy all throughout the holidays! Remember, eating healthy is a lifestyle. Creating delicious nourishing recipes won’t only benefit you, but for all the family + friends you are cooking for!

Lahana Vigliano
lahana@thrivalnutrition.com

Lahana Vigliano is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and CEO of Thrival Nutrition. She has her Bachelor's Degree in Nutrition Science and currently pursing her Masters Degree in Nutrition Science and Functional Medicine. Lahana and her team help support women who struggle with weight loss, hormonal imbalances, digestive issues, chronic fatigue, and many other lingering issues that leaves women not feeling their best. She uses food as medicine, as well as herbs and supplements when needed, to support her clients. She looks at the whole body holistically making sure women are understanding how nutrition, sleep, stress, and their environment impact their health. Connect with her on Facebook + Instagram (@thrivalnutrition).