Holidays bring loved ones together to celebrate traditions and revel in good cheer. Many celebrations include socializing, gift-giving, and food. Lots of food.
It can be tempting to cheat on a diet. With so many gatherings and once-a-year food offerings, it can be difficult to avoid eating things in moderation, or at all. Here are a few recipes and tips to keep a smile on your face while you eat through the season.
Try A New Side
Some of the most exciting dishes on the holiday table are the supporting cast: the side dishes. Collard greens, green-bean casserole, fruit salad, potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes; all of these dishes are staples for families across the country.. There are several alternatives available for some of your favorite side dishes. A favorite can be this recipe for Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pomegranate and Hazelnuts. Boasting less than 300 calories per serving and a 4.5 star rating from tasters, this savory dish includes several seasonal favorites.
Another notoriously fattening holiday favorite is eggnog. If you’re a fan, this is a tough one to avoid. Bowls of this delicious beverage are common at holiday parties before, during, and after every celebration from November to January. Thankfully, there’s this delightful Low-Fat Eggnog recipe that is better for you AND its homemade.
A Lighter Main Course
All table dressings, however, pale in comparison to the star of every meal: the main course. These healthy holiday recipes provide a wide variety of dishes that will keep diners happy. Among the options: low calorie Beef Tenderloin, heart-healthy Rack of Lamb, low sodium Roast Chicken, Game Hens, and even gluten-free Beef Stew. All of these sound (and look) wonderful, but the most intriguing offering may be the Orange Roasted Duck. The ingredients are simple, but delicious: oranges, marmalade, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Each serving of this beautiful bird is a mere 297 calories and 10 grams of fat.
A Family Favorite Reimagined
Perhaps you have your own recipe, one that you’re known for and simply must include on the menu… Maybe you can tweak the recipe a bit to avoid some unwanted calories. Try coconut milk for heavy cream (don’t worry; it won’t make everything taste tropical). Substitute cacao nibs for chocolate chips, meringue for frosting, or vanilla extract for white sugar – any of these small adjustments can keep your guests pleasantly surprised. For more recipe substitution tips, check out these healthy holiday cooking substitutes.
The stress that comes with every bite of holiday food can weigh heavily on an eater’s shoulders. The links above can help you deflect the stress and keep a smile on your face (but in case you need a bit more assistance, here’s a list of 17 Holiday Health Tips).
No matter what you celebrate this season, enjoy the food.
Food Network: Healthy Holiday Recipes
Eating Well: Healthy Christmas Recipes and Christmas Menus