In this episode of Healthy Family Project, we talk to Produce for Kids blog contributor and registered dietitian, Holley Grainger of as part 2 of a 2-part series all around holiday snacks.

For part 2, we’re focusing on all things Thanksgiving, Christmas and the upcoming holiday season. Holley shares tips and ideas on creating festive snacks, lightening up your favorite holiday dishes and balancing your diet during this season.

Holley Grainger is a nationally recognized lifestyle, culinary, and nutrition expert as well as a wife, mom, and business owner. She does her best to keep it real and have fun with her family, readers, and clients all while balancing a sink of dirty dishes, a clingy toddler, a preschooler that lives for endless games of hide-and-seek, and a glass of red wine.

Holley’s blog, Holley Grainger Nutrition, shares simple, healthy, flavor-packed meals as well as practical, doable nutrition advice.

The former nutrition editor for and, she has instructed millions of accomplished and aspiring home cooks on how to make simple, healthy, family-friendly meals through online video, media appearances, speaking engagements, national news segments, online instructional guides and social media.

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Want to skip straight to a hot topic? See time stamps below. But of course, we recommend listening all the way through!

  • 2:39 Thanksgiving treats for the kids
  • 6:53 Thanksgiving recipe ideas
  • 12:11 Holiday snacks to make with the kids
  • 15:35 How to balance sugar overload with healthier options
  • 17:13 How to lighten up traditional holiday dishes



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Transcript for Episode 13

This transcript was produced by Otter.Ai. Please forgive any misspellings and grammatical errors.

Welcome to the healthy family project by produce for kids, covering the hot topics in the world of health,
food and family with a dose of fun. Hi everyone today is actually part two of a two part series we are
doing with the awesome Holly Granger of Holly Clever for living with Holly Granger. So in
part one, we talked about how to find balance during the Halloween season. Fun about fun, healthy
treats, and more. So definitely bookmark that episode for next Halloween season because we all know
how quickly these the time goes. And before you know it, we’ll be back to Halloween next year. So in part
two, we are talking holiday treats and tips on making Thanksgiving and holiday foods a little healthier,
without really missing out on any of the taste or the fun. So we’ll also touch on balance and moderation
because that’s always key during the holiday season. And then just a little background we’ve we’ve
talked to Holly several times now. She’s a close friend of produce for kids, we share in the same mission
to create a healthier generation while achieving balance with our families. So we’ve been working with
Holly for several years now. She is regularly contributing content to our site produce for And of
course helping us spread the word on important initiatives like power your lunchbox, you can spot her on
social media outlets with her daughter’s in the kitchen. They’re always cooking up something fun. And
this time of year is especially fun because there’s an extra holiday flair added to the mix. I know most of
us are still trying to figure out what to do with all the Halloween candy. This episode is releasing just a
few days after Halloween. But I promise it’s a good time to look ahead and onto what’s to come this
month. And what’s really coming next as we enter into the busy holiday season. I know if you’re like me,
I’m always find myself saying wow, it flew by so fast. So hopefully today’s information will help you prep
ahead so you can sit back and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. So let’s get on with part two
and jump right on with Holly. So let’s move on Thanksgiving this year. Do you guys have a treat tradition,
I guess or some kind of tradition that you do as a family or something you have ready on Thanksgiving
Day for the kiddos?
Well, we my husband’s family is in town here in Birmingham and my family is in town here in
Birmingham. So Thanksgiving every year is like two days of massive feasting. And so sometimes
Sometimes it’s to feast and one day I think last year we did we split it and did a Thursday and a Friday.
And I think the the final decision is that this year, it’s going to be a Thursday and Friday as well. Which
means you always hear people talk about, oh, you know, Thanksgiving meal to go do it twice. And then
leftovers twice. It just keeps growing. I love it. We have quite a few kids between both families. And so
we really try for the children to let them eat and encourage them to eat what we’re eating. That’s always
that’s always the plan. And I mean, certainly from just the traditional standpoint, we may have some plain
mac and cheese or some other things we’re pretty traditional with what we eat for Thanksgiving as far as
turkey and dressing and mashed potatoes and the whole bit. But we usually with with the treats, we don’t
necessarily go all out. We’ll have different types of desserts and whatnot. But a lot of times we’ll like to
play in the girls and I just since it’s it is kind of a potluck type of meal where everybody brings something,
a lot of times I’ll sign up for dessert, just because that’s something fun that the girls like to make. And in
one year, we made caramel brownies another year and I had this recipe on my side, I’d made a pair
Goulet with like the little sparkling cranberries. And that’s a really nice one around Christmas as well. But
just using those seasonal fruits and things that are you know, things that are ready. And then really with
the girls, we try to do a lot of other things. So like on my husband’s side, my father in law, the last couple
of years has made this huge scavenger hunt around their neighborhood, adults and children and there’s
probably 40 of us at at his Thanksgiving because all his cousins from out of town come in and this is like
their one time that a lot of these family members get together. So we divide up into teams. And Tom, my
father in law has drawn out like maps and wow, the different places in the scavenger hunt and like last

few years and with technology now they’re photo scavenger hunts as well. So you know we have to all
take a picture To around this rock that has this, whatever. And so that’s been really cool as far as just a
way we normally will eat. And then we did scavenger hunt afterwards. So rather everyone kind of either
sitting around and just feeling like, I’m so full, or in a some, some families will eat and be like, Alright,
everybody up, we’re taking a walk around the block. It’s a really fun way and especially because we now
have a trophy, we’re getting very official, I want to come to your Thanksgiving. But now there’s a trophy.
And it’s a race, you know, so we are grown adults with little children, I mean, down to like three years old,
running around this neighborhood, like crazy people, you know, trying to beat each other and trick each
other out. So it’s really fun, but it’s a great way to like, be able to get up and move without necessarily
being like, it’s time to exercise, right. So types of things, you know, are really are really fun and just the
trait of being together with with all your cousins, especially the ones that they don’t get to see as often.
So it’s, it’s nice. And then usually around Thanksgiving is when we’ll go shopping for Advent Calendars.
And we’ll do the Advent Calendar throughout the December. So that’s kind of our time. And then of
course, you know, I’m an a big Alabama fan, my husband’s a big Auburn fan. And that’s iron Bowl
weekend. So we go straight from the Thanksgiving mentality into the whole, you know, in State football,
tailgating mentality, you know, kind of on the turn of a dime, so it we go big, and then it flips pretty quickly.
I love it. That sounds like a lot of fun. So, while we’re on the topic of Thanksgiving, I know you have a
slew of Thanksgiving recipes on your site, just thought maybe you could just mention some of those just
to give us some ideas and then we’ll link up to those so people can go and check out some of those most
popular recipes.
Yeah, and I’m actually developing some new ones for this Thanksgiving, just just some things that are a
little bit different or you know, a fun kind of swap or twist. One thing that I just put up on my site not long
ago is a hot apple pie punch. Now the way it’s written is for adults only because it is apple cider and a
cinnamon liqueur like fireball are one of those that you would heat up either on the stovetop or in the
slow cooker or heat on the stovetop move it to the slow cooker but it smells amazing. I mean it just
smells like yes and when you you know have a mug or whatnot of that with a big blob dollop blob, as I
call it. Squirt however you want to do it of whipped cream on the top, it really does taste like like you
know hot apple pie ala mode in a cup. It’s delicious. And you can certainly take that same concept and
make it you know friendly for the children or for those that would choose not to partake as well. Just
leave out the cinnamon liqueur, and when you’re hitting up at apple cider, put in you know a few extra
cinnamon sticks or whatnot, maybe even a little splash of some vanilla and let that warm up and then
serve it either with a cinnamon stick you know, floating, don’t eat it but you know, floating or some apple
pieces floating about apple rings or spices. And then again with the whipped cream and some fresh
ground cinnamon on top. It’s just it’s just yummy. It’s especially as
it sounds amazing.
It’s just, it’s just a fun twist on an ice cold weather type of fall drink something else that that’s fine on the
site that does really well around around Thanksgiving is my oatmeal that uses leftover sweet potato
casserole. And so you have the leftover sweet potato casserole using something like this sweet potatoes
to help sweeten it up. And those probably has some sugar and whatnot in it already. But adding that to
just plain oatmeal, you know, just a dollop or whatnot and then adding some dried cranberries and
pecans. It makes for a really yummy breakfast and it’s so easy. And then of course, like white chicken,
chili, chili, I have quite a few chilies on the site. But white chicken chili is a great way to swap out that
chicken and use leftover turkey for you know for one of those meals that’s just going to take you
throughout throughout cold season. The chilly season and the cold season both cold as in the flu. But
yeah, so those are just some fun ones. But I am working on some that are more of that traditional
Thanksgiving fair and just sharing a lot of what we eat and make every year. I realized last year that our
family and my husband’s family have the same recipes that we make year over a year. So I’m hoping to
go in and share some of what we’ve had traditionally on my site just to be able. so other people can
enjoy them as well. So instead of instead of keeping them all to to ourselves this year, I’m hoping to put
more of those out. So keep an eye out and and the the link to be able to find those will be so easy. It will
just be Holly Granger comm slash Thanksgiving, it’ll just be you know, like a landing page and all the

recipes will be there. So it’s it’s a one stop shop for someone looking for some inspiration around
Thanksgiving. Oh, that’s
amazing good. I like that simple website to go to and just snag it all there. And I know that you have
some of these leftover spin recipes, which I think is just so important because you can only eat that same
Thanksgiving. I mean, I love Thanksgiving dinner, and I could eat it for a couple of days. But it comes,
there’s a point where you gotta turn it into something
else. Exactly. I mean, and I have some other fun ideas, you know, turning leftover mashed potatoes into
these little veggie and egg potato pockets. So you know, using those for breakfast and whatnot. Just just
some fun and creative ways to do something a little bit different. Because, you know, of course, I could
eat a big giant turkey sandwich the next day, and probably for, like you said for a couple days, but being
able to, you know, cut down on any food waste and turn it into something like a chicken chili or a turkey
chili is just just another way to kind of re rethink and recreate what you can do.
Right. Okay, so moving, I guess moving on through our holidays here. So I guess we’ll be we’ll have
Hanukkah and Christmas and, and all of those fun things coming up. So for my girls, they, you know,
watch I think it’s one of the channels does like a holiday movie. I think right now they’re doing the
Halloween movie every day. But they do the How are the holiday movies through the month of
December? And so of course are like what can we make to go along, you know, because they’re, they’re
my kids and they want to theme it all up. So we do the Grinch kababs we use the mini marshmallows
strawberry green grape, and the girls just really love that. So do you have any fun holiday treats that are
your go twos to share.
We did the Grinch kebabs last year for our like kind of our holiday party at school and those went over so
well. Those are always so fun and such a favorite. It’s fun searching through the produce for kids site to
see what you guys are doing. What two recipes that I’ve shared with you all last year, or even two years
ago, but but did in partnership with y’all were my Santa’s marshmallow pops in my reindeer marshmallow
pops. And those are so simple, you just take you know a large marshmallow and can kind of coat it in a
little bit of white chocolate or just drizzle white chocolate. And then you would make like for the Santa
you take a strawberry and you know cut the green part off so that you just sort of have the the triangle
shape strawberries that would sit flat, put a little bit of white chocolate or even a little bit of whipped
cream that doesn’t always hold as well as the white chocolate. Put the strawberry on top of the
marshmallow you know, put a little white on the top for the hat and then you can put that like on a cake
pop stick and let it dry. And those are so much fun. And same with reindeer. I mean it’s the same
concept. With the Ranger you can use pretzels to make the little antlers and then I always around this
time of year and keeping an eye out to stock up on the little edible eyeballs. Because whether it’s
reindeers or ghost or Santa or something, and I find that my goals or targets are you can order them
online. But my that just makes the biggest difference I A lot of times we’ll use chocolate chips are like I
was saying earlier you know just a little dollop of like the little black cake gel or decorating gel. But those
edible eyeballs sometimes are a riot and the kids love them. So those are really fun. And then we really
like to play there’s some great creative ideas out there on the web around this time. And I have a couple
of roundups on my site of what other people are doing whether it’s something you know, Thanksgiving
turkeys or different types of Santa themed items we’ll make we will make candy canes where it’s literally
like, you know, slice a strawberry slice of banana slice a strawberry slice a banana and shape that into a
candy cane. Then I have some fun little pancakes snowman. So you can either make your own
pancakes or even just use the frozen silver dollar pancakes and line them up just 123 on a plate. Just a
little powder sugar, use of whipped cream to make a scar you know just a little again chocolate chips or
the little gel or whatnot to make some eyeballs and buttons and it just makes it fun and festive of scum.
Like if you’re going to make pancakes anyways, just to give it an actual dusting of powdered sugar for
snow. Just it’s just a little just a little something extra to make your kiddos smile but some of those
recipes are on my site and those are always favorites around that time of year.
Great. So I think we talked a little bit about this or you talked a little bit About this throughout what you’ve
been sharing with us so far, but really important, and a question that we get and families have, and I

have it’s, you know, with Halloween candy, Thanksgiving desserts and sweet treats everywhere you’re
going has cookies and cake. So how can we help families balance out sugar overload with healthier
options? I mean, of course you don’t, you don’t want to totally cut out candy or treats, you have to have
that balance. But do you have any tips on how, you know, what’s a good strategy to make that happen?
Oh, I totally don’t you mean, and I have the same point of view where I think if we tried to ban all sugars
or candy, it would just backfire. But finding that balance. So one thing, and one of the moms made fun of
me last year at the Halloween and the holiday party was instead of like juice boxes, you know, are some
of the I want to call it brands but but you know what I mean, like the juice boxes that are not 100% fruit
juice, that are that are filled with sugar that is not a natural fruit sugar, that that a lot of times appear at
those parties. Instead of serving that to go along with all the sweets all serve just little bottles of water. I
think something as simple as making swaps, just with with your drink, if it’s not milk, or, you know,
smaller servings of 100% fruit juice to stick with water. You know, we talked about the little, all the things
that you can do with cheese and the cheese sticks. I think that’s a really great way to bring forth and
carry through some of those themes, as far as you know, whatever the holiday is, but with a little bit of
fun. All right, well, so last question here. So we hear from a lot of families during the holiday season, that
they’re trying to lighten up their their favorite dishes. So we do a lot of this on our site, we look at those
traditional dishes, and and not to take away from tradition. But you know, just Are there ways easy things
that we can do that keep those things the same? You still get that feeling and that comfort from the
foods. But you know, maybe it’s a healthier swap? So do you have some go to swaps or ideas for
lightening up holiday dishes,
other different things and you know, like, it’s like you said, it’s kind of like you don’t want to take away. But
when there are times that you can make things a little bit lighter, or to make a couple swaps to include
more healthful ingredients. So a lot of times, you know, some of the swap ups that I’ll try to do would be
waste to either cut back on things like saturated fat or the ingredients that you don’t necessarily want or
need as much of. And sometimes it’s easy, unless it’s a baked dish where you have something that
you’re baking is a little bit different, that’s a little bit more like science, but there are ways to swap that as
well. But I will, I can also sometimes just cut back on the amount of butter that’s called for in a dish or cut
back on the amount of oil that’s called for, which is very basic, but very simple. But sometimes you just
don’t need it all. A lot of times for sugar, especially, I will use like, if it’s something that I’ve created or
whatnot, I’ll use really ripe bananas or applesauce, some of those kind of old school ideas. Or maybe I’ll
use honey if it would work. You know, sugar, sugar, but it would be a more natural way to get that
sweetener. If if it would call for and go go well in the dish. Trying to think other times I will just make
simple swaps as far as going from you know, a white flour to a whole wheat flour. If it’s something that
might taste a little bit, you know, sometimes you’re like, Oh yeah, taste one way you get switched to
100% Whole wheat and it just doesn’t taste the same. So sometimes I’ll just go half and half and I’ll go
half and half a lot of times, no something calls for full cream or whatever. And it’s, it’s not like I’m making
a whipped cream and you know there it stands for, it could stand to be lightened in that way you know to
go 2% or 1% along with the heavier product and just kind of half and half it so it’s not taking away from
the inherent yumminess of that dish, but you’re just making you know a couple little swaps to to change it
up. But but certainly anytime that I can power up a dish so that if it’s even something like you know, a
spaghetti sauce or chili or whatever that is instead of you know taking something out I’ll add more in and
so I’ll find ways to grate carrots into it or grate zucchini into it or grate onion into it and try to add more
vegetables. You know, I see a lot of times where people are adding lentils or mushrooms when they’re
using ground beef or going half in half, which is a good way to add more veggies to to your meal without
having to make really big changes. So it kind of runs the gamut And I just tried to pay attention to a lot of
times, if it is, you know, if it’s one dish in a holiday meal, or if I’m making the whole meal, maybe it’s
something that is a bit more indulgent, but then making sure that there is a more nutritious option, you
know, there’s a salad that is really fresh, or there’s some roasted vegetables that are seasoned, you
know, that have some nice warming spices around the holidays. And so that might not have otherwise
been there. So that when you make your plate, you’re, you’re getting a smaller portion of the thing that’s
really indulgent, and you’re loading up with those vegetables and with that fresh produce. And
sometimes that’s just as easy as cutting up apple slices. But, but so it’s not necessarily always taking
away but adding more and really powering it up.

I love that. And and that’s just something I think, as our team here at produce for kids has always
admired about you as your, you know, your I don’t know what the right word is, but the balance, you
know, like looking at it in a way that’s about moderation. That’s about, you know, I like that thought of not,
you know, you don’t have to take things away, like how can I, what can I do to add more fruits and
veggies to it, you know, not necessarily remove things. So, lots of good ideas. That’s a good stuff. And
I’m really excited about your Thanksgiving landing page. I did not even know that was coming. So
but but I found that the easiest way sometimes to just be able to help people find what they’re looking for
is to just put it all on one page with all the links. And so that’s I’ve been trying tailgating lunch boxes, I’ve
been trying to make it easy for people to be able to find what they need on this site. So hopefully, that
your listeners will check it out and, and get some good ideas. And I always love to hear what other
people are doing. So I’m, I’m definitely gonna be keeping an eye on any of the comments and feedback
you get from the podcast. Because I feel like most of my inspiration and creativity comes from my
listeners and readers. That’s really where you know, where I get the ideas, and what helps to inspire
what I’m going to do next. So I’m, I’m excited to hear the thoughts and what, what your audience is doing
as well with all of these different fun holiday treats and ideas.
Yes, that’s a good point. And we’ll definitely on our all of our social outlets, any of you listening, feel free
to leave comments about what works for you what you’d like to see and Holly and I will definitely be
checking in on all of those and and would love your feedback and thoughts and and we’ll be there that
it’s always fun to have those conversations. So well thank you, Holly, for taking the time out of your busy
day to talk to us. I know you have a lot going on. Lots of exciting things. So before we sign off, can you
just tell listeners where they can find you on social media online?
Absolutely. I’m on Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, the works. But it’s Holly And if you go to the website, Holly There are links in all of those places, but
But I spend a lot of my time on Facebook and Instagram and playing and stories in the Facebook Lives
and everything else. So hopefully they’ll join me over there my Facebook pages clever for living with
Holly Granger, but you can just search my name and it should pop right
up. Wonderful. Well, thank you again, and I’m sure I will talk to you soon.
Definitely hope it will connect soon. But it was it was a pleasure to be able to share all of all of the ideas
with your listeners. And yes, happy holidays, the run the gamut of holidays to all to everyone listening as
Thanks for listening in today. I hope this episode has you ready for the holiday season. Be sure to follow
along with Holly on social media and follow along with us at produce for kids over the next coming over
the coming weeks because we’ll be sharing a lot of holiday ideas over there. Don’t forget we have our
festive flavors ebook at produce for kids. So that’s available now. And it’s free. You can find that link in
the show notes or go to produce for flavors, and snag all of those recipes. So you’re all
set for Thanksgiving and the rest of the holidays coming up. And then we also have a great roundup of
kids kitchen gift ideas getting those kids kids in the kitchen, and we’ll link up to those in the show notes
as well. So in addition to helping families live a healthier life produce for kids is dedicated to raising funds
for charities that benefit families and children. So at this time of year especially. We encourage families
out there to help other families it’s a it’s a hard time of year for those people who are facing hard times.
So we encourage you to visit your local food bank or local nonprofit to find out how you can give back
this holiday season. If you can, please leave us a rating in the App Store and tell a friend about the
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