As Kelly Clarkson reminds us, we all have a dark side, and ‘tis the time of year for making bad food choices. It’s hard to run the gauntlet from Thanksgiving through New Years Day without putting on a few pounds. 

It’s a big challenge to eat healthy during Chanukah. Scarf down a jelly doughnut. Crunch on a deep-fried potato pancake. Gobble gelt as you play driedel. It’s enough to make a label-reader go apoplectic.

But where there’s a will, there’s a way. This Chanukah, try to do things on the healthier side. It being winter, I’ll always default to using earthy, flavorful ingredients to keep it real as the ground freezes up.

  1. Sweet potato/regular potato pan-cooked latkes. You can find my recipe here
  2. Hardy fall and winter squash is still readily available. Last year I tricked my parents into eating butternut squash soup (aka dreidel soup) so that’s an idea. I’d encourage you to go a step further this year, and in the spirit of Chanukah’s dairy tradition why not buy some pizza crust and make a delicious sun-dried tomato and winter squash puree flatbread with cranberries on top? Flatbread in Bedford had that seasonal special out last weekend and it was magnificent.
  3. Instead of popping sufganiyot until your arteries beg for mercy, try something else for dessert. Poach some pears or apples, make some easy apricot sorbet with mint garnish, or go fruit-salad style and mix in some late-season pomegranates just for variety and an Israeli touch.
  4. For when the kids are all funned out and asleep, heat up some spiced apple cider and add a splash of Captain Morgan spiced rum. Any questions?

Do your shopping now. Chanukah is coming- the first candle is this Saturday night.

And for those of you with your long-range goggles on, remember that in 2013, Chanukah overlaps with Thanksgiving!!! That will create a whole bunch of amazing turkey- and cranberry-inspired Chanukah dishes.

I, for one, can’t wait.

This post has been contributed by a third party. The opinions, facts and any media content are presented solely by the author, and JewishBoston assumes no responsibility for them. Want to add your voice to the conversation? Publish your own post here.