One of the best parts of the holidays is catching up with friends and family around a table full of delicious food. Whether you’re hosting a candlelit dinner or attending a holiday potluck with friends, there are so many options to choose from when it comes to healthy holiday side dishes. 

To help you prepare for the upcoming festivities, we chatted with Jaclyn London, registered dietitian, and Head of Nutrition and Wellness at WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers), to get some tips for making sides that are both delicious and healthy.

Get clever with substitutions

Being mindful of what you’re eating doesn’t mean completely avoiding the foods you love. Using vegetables or other healthy substitutions is a creative way to eat your favorite foods while also getting those nutrients you need. London suggested making holiday side dishes with ingredients like cauliflower rice or chickpea noodles as “an easy way to add nutrient-dense, fiber-filled options that are super tasty and festive.” Yum.

Check out this WW recipe: Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin with Crispy Panko Topping

Embrace premade ingredients

The hectic holiday season often doesn’t leave much time for elaborate recipes. If you’re in a potluck pinch and need to make something quickly, don’t shy away from premade ingredients. For your holiday side dishes, London recommends buying ingredients that are frozen and pre-shredded, spiralized, riced, or prepared for whatever version you might need.

“It may be a little bit more expensive at the outset, but the time you’ll save is invaluable,” she said. “Plus, if you’re anything like me and you underestimate the amount of time it takes to do absolutely anything, I promise this is worthwhile for reducing headache and cutting cost [that] you might spend on store-bought items at the last minute!

Check out this WW recipe: No-Cook Brussels Sprout Salad

Resist the urge to limit yourself

The end-of-year holidays are all about giving, so give yourself a present and indulge in the food you love. London said restricting yourself can make you feel like you “overdid it” if you don’t stick to your strict plans. Instead, enjoy yourself in moderation throughout the holidays.

“If you eat more than you wanted to, no sweat — it’s one day!” London said. “Your breakfast tomorrow is another opportunity to make more nutritious, health-promoting choices that help you feel your best.”

At Gympass, we love supporting our users in making healthy choices during the holidays and beyond. If your company offers Gympass, start your 7-day free trial today and explore thousands of gyms and workout classes near you.