The holiday season can be both magical and nostalgic when it comes to cooking and baking – not to mention EATING – your family’s traditional goodies. It’s easy to overdo it with platefuls of tasty food.

Meet Heather Leger, the new CareATC on-site Registered Dietitian.

Heather is now accepting patients!  To schedule an appointment, visit

Here are three of Heather’s favorite healthy holiday recipes to enjoy during the holidays.

Recipe 1: Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta


  • 3 strips of applewood bacon (try turkey bacon to reduce fat and cholesterol)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (use a plant-based butter to reduce fat and cholesterol)
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 cups butternut squash cubes
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon diced fresh sage
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon diced fresh thyme
  • 1 cup 2% milk (or a non-dairy milk like almond or oat milk)
  • salt to taste
  • 12 oz. box of whole wheat spaghetti pasta


  1. In a large skillet add the butter and red onion. Sauté until slightly soft, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Next add in the garlic, sauté for 30 seconds, stir and add the butternut squash, chicken stock, sage, and thyme. Stir and cover. Cook until the butternut squash is fork tender, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. When the squash is tender, add all the contents of the skillet to a food processor along with the milk and salt to taste. Puree until smooth.
  4. In the meantime, heat a small skillet to medium high heat, add the diced bacon to the pan and sauté until the bacon is crispy. About 4-5 minutes. When the bacon is done, place it on a paper towel lined plate to let the grease drain.
  5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add gluten free pasta, cook according to directions, (6-8 minutes) do not overcook.
  6. Drain pasta and add butternut squash sauce to the pasta, gently toss together and top with crispy bacon. 

Recipe 2: Granola with Pumpkin Seeds


  • agave nectar, 1/3 cup
  • Splenda Brown Sugar blend, 3 tbsp
  • old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking), 2 cups
  • ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp
  • ground nutmeg, 1/8 tsp
  • roasted pumpkin (pepita) seeds, 2/3 cup
  • cranberries (dried), 2/3 cup
  • walnuts (chopped), 1/2 cup


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together agave nectar and Splenda Brown Sugar blend. 
  3. In a medium bowl, mix all remaining ingredients. Pour agave nectar over mixture and stir to coat. 

Spread oat mixture on baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool and store in airtight container.

Recipe 3: Instant Pot Pumpkin-Spiced Turkey Chili


  • canola oil, 1 tbsp
  • lean ground turkey, 1 lb.
  • chopped red bell pepper, 1 cup
  • chopped yellow bell pepper, 1 cup
  • chopped onion, 1 cup
  • garlic (minced), 3 cloves
  • pumpkin puree, 1 (15-oz) can
  • no-salt-added black beans (rinsed and drained), 1 (15-oz) can
  • no-salt-added kidney beans (rinsed and drained), 1 (15-oz) can
  • no-salt-added diced tomatoes, 1 (28-oz) can
  • low sodium chicken broth, 2 cups
  • apple juice, 1/2 cup
  • chili powder, 3 tbsp
  • ground cumin, 1 tbsp
  • dried oregano, 1 tsp
  • ground cinnamon, 1 tsp
  • ground cloves, 1/8 tsp
  • ground nutmeg, 1/8 tsp
  • salt, 1 1/2 tsp
  • plain nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 1/4 cup


  1. Press the Sauté button, then press the Adjust button to “More” or “High”. When the display says “Hot”, add the oil, tilt the pot to coat bottom lightly. Add the turkey and cook for 4 minutes or until no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Add the peppers and onions and cook for 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add remaining chili ingredients, except the salt, and stir until well blended.
  2. Seal the lid, close the valve, press the Cancel button, and reset to Manual/Pressure Cook for 20 minutes. 
  3. Use quick pressure release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid and stir in salt. Spoon yogurt on top of each serving.