Gastro-Friendly Holiday Recipes


A holiday guide to beat bloat and yuletide digestive issues.

Deck the halls with lots of yummy foods? Not so fast. If you experience symptoms of Crohn’s, GERD, leaky gut, or IBD, holiday recipes can leave you feeling like a Grinch if you aren’t careful.

If “avoiding tummy troubles” is on your December wishlist this year, good news! We’ve rounded up some gut-friendly recipes to help you get in the holiday spirit without missing out on festive flavors that might otherwise wreak havoc on your body.

A few guidelines to follow:

Limit your intake of rich, high-fat foods as much as possible, as they tend to trigger heartburn and acid reflux. Cut down on alcohol, sweets, caffeine, and acidic ingredients like tomatoes, raw onion, and oil is also a good idea. Thankfully, there are plenty of soothing alternatives available, like apple pie instead of chocolate, baked potatoes instead of mashed, and using ginger in vegetable-based dishes.

Another good idea? Avoid overeating. Stomach acid is more likely to cause heartburn when you overindulge in your favorites too quickly. Instead, try enjoying smaller meals throughout the day, and using smaller plates (which has been proven to make you feel more full, according to studies).  

This year, spread some yuletide cheer to your digestive system with these gastro-friendly holiday recipes. These dishes will help to improve digestive health while you celebrate the season.

Roasted Winter Squash Holiday Bean Soup

(Courtesy of Everyday Health)

Servings: 8

Total Time: 40 min


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 clove(s) garlic – minced
  • 2 medium carrot(s) – chopped
  • 1 medium onion(s) – chopped
  • 6 cup(s) broth, chicken, less sodium
  • 3 pounds squash, butternut – peeled and diced
  • 1 medium tomato(es), plum – chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, red, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper, black ground
  • 30 ounce(s) beans, pinto or 2 15-ounce cans, rinsed
  • 10 ounce(s) spinach – stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 lime – cut into wedges


  1. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add garlic, carrots and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Add broth and scrape up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add squash, tomato, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the squash is very soft and almost breaking apart, about 20 minutes.
  3. Transfer 3 cups of the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.)
  4. Return the pureed soup to the pot. Stir in beans and spinach and cook over medium heat until the beans are heated through and the spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes. Serve with lime wedges.

Healthy Sugarless Cranberry Sauce

(Courtesy of

Servings: 8

Total: 30 mins


  • 2 bags of fresh cranberries (they are usually 12 ounce bags, so approx 24 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup pineapple juice or orange juice (Recommends pineapple)
  • 1/2 cup of applesauce (no sugar added)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • juice and zest of one orange
  • 3-4 Tablespoons of honey or to taste (optional)


  1. Put cranberries, pineapple juice, applesauce and water in a sauce pan and and bring to a boil. Keep on medium heat, stirring constantly until the cranberries start to explode (about 10-15 minutes).
  2. Reduce to a simmer and pour the juice and zest over the cranberry mixture. Simmer 10-15 minutes and remove from heat.
  3. Cool completely and store in fridge at least 4 hours but preferably overnight before serving.

NOTE: This is not as sweet as store versions! Taste at the end of cooking. It is naturally sweet from the fruit juice and applesauce but you can add more honey or stevia to taste if needed.

Hot Chocolate

(Courtesy of Detoxinista)

Serving: 1

Total Time: 5 mins


  • 1 cup almond milk (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
  • 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt


  1. Combine all the ingredients into a saucepan over high heat, using a whisk to break up any clumps. Keep stirring until smooth and piping hot, then pour into a mug and serve warm.
  2. Top with dairy-free whipped cream and shaved chocolate, if desired.

Sparkling Garnet Punch

(Courtesy of Everyday Health)

Servings: 1

Total Time: 4-6 hours


  • 1 1/2 cup(s) cranberry juice
  • 4 cloves, whole
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) water, sparkling
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract


  1. Combine the cranberry juice, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Strain and remove the spices.
  3. Refrigerate for several hours. Just before serving, combine the cranberry juice with the water and almond extract. Serve from a small punch bowl or pitcher.

Baked Fruit Ambrosia

(Courtesy of Everyday Health)

Servings: 4

Total Time: 25 min


  • 1/2 teaspoon orange peel – finely shredded
  • 2 medium orange(s)
  • 1 ounce(s) pineapple, canned – drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon – ground
  • 2 tablespoon coconut – shredded
  • Raspberries (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Peel and section oranges. Cut orange sections into bite-size pieces. Divide orange pieces and pineapple among four 6-ounce custard cups. Sprinkle with orange peel and cinnamon. Top with coconut.
  2. Bake about 15 minutes or until fruit is heated through and coconut is golden. If desired, garnish each serving with fresh raspberries. Serve warm.