Making healthy holiday dishes requires a little culinary creativity and ingredients but no extra work. For the most part the “bones” of the holiday meal is already healthy as long as your roast your turkey instead of deep frying it.
Be creative with salads and green vegetables, whip up a few sugar-free desserts using natural Stevia and you will have a delicious, tempting gourmet holiday feast that won’t leave your guests feeling too stuffed or bulging at the seams. Beat holiday weight gain by giving dieters healthy options.
Here are a few ideas for healthy Thanksgiving side dishes and healthy Christmas recipes:
No. 1: Green bean casserole. Instead of making the traditional green bean casserole recipe that uses cream of mushroom soup and French’s French fried onions, opt for a diet-friendly recipe. Some years I steam the green beans and then serve them in a warm glaze of orange marmalade mixed with Dijon mustard, but you can also sauté your green beans with thyme, onions, garlic, cremini mushrooms or shitake mushrooms other and seasonings.
No. 2: Sweet potato casserole: Some sweet potato casseroles recipes are loaded with sugar such as brown sugar and topped with sugary marshmallows. Instead, bake whole sweet potatoes. Use a little maple syrup for sweetener as well as some Truvia or natural stevia. Flavor in the sweet potato casserole recipe comes from allspice, cinnamon or pumpkin or apple pie spices. For the topping, use healthy walnuts or pecans or make a meringue with egg whites, cream of tartar and a little sugar.
No. 3: Sugar free dessert for the holidays: I absolutely love mini cheesecakes using Truvia, a sugar-free sweetener made from a plant. For the cheesecake base I just mix one package of cream cheese with vanilla, 1 egg and 1/4 cup of Truvia. I used pecans with a small amount of butter instead of a cookie or graham cracker crust. For a topping, after the cheesecakes have cooled, I used cherries or slices of kiwi with a dab of apricot jelly glaze (heat jelly on stove). They make a healthy Christmas treat.
No. 4: Colorful Christmas salads and hearty Thanksgiving greens: For a healthy Christmas salad recipe, consider using dried red cranberries or dried cherries for a salad along with feta or goat cheese. Add in healthy walnuts or pecans, but stay away from the candied kind since they are high in sugar. For a healthy Thanksgiving side dish, make a heartier salad with grapefruit and avocado. Use goat cheese, red onions, and a dressing made grapefruit juice and Dijon mustard and spices. Balsamic vinegar dressings also go nicely with fruit and nut salads. Use the colorful lettuces mixed with spinach.
No. 5: Vegetable side dishes: Create a succotash mixing carrots, peas, corn and other favorites. Add spices such as chives and a squirt of lemon.
Although turkey is extremely healthy, the gravy, breads and stuffing are not the best diet choices. If you serve plenty of colorful and healthy holiday side dishes and vegetables, your guests on a diet won’t feel compelled to fill up on unhealthy stuffing, gravies and sugary desserts. Remember to go easy on the butter in your mashed potatoes, too! It’s not necessary to make a mashed cauliflower dish, but put butter on the table for guests who want more butter in their mashed potatoes.
And don’t forget to serve calorie free drinks such as La Croix Grapefruit Sparkling Water, Perrier Mineral water, Syfo Wild Cherry, Zevia with stevia or healthier holiday drinks such as Silk Mint Chocolate Soy Milk.
None of your guests will feel deprived, especially when you offer healthy Christmas treats and mix in a few of the fattening favorites in with the healthy holiday dishes.
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