How to stay healthy and not gain any weight during the holidays and at Christmas is the age old question, isn’t it? Well here are some ideas on how to take some of the old favorites and make them with a slightly new twist that takes out the bad (saturated fat, loads of salt, etc) and puts in the good (lots more nutrition, vitamins, fiber, etc). Pick and choose the ones that appeal to you and mix them together for a holiday menu sure to please the hungry masses and leave them not only wanting more, but asking for the recipes.
Healthy Christmas Dinner
Christmas dinner usually starts with a turkey, so I won’t spend much time on that other than to highly recommend getting an organic, grass fed one over the regular grocery store variety turkeys. I convinced my mom to do so about 3 years ago and we haven’t gone back since. Yes they cost more per pound but consider this – many of the commercially raised ones (apart from being full of hormones, steroids and other drugs to make the grow faster) are pumped full of water and oils before they are frozen. They claim to make them juicier that way – but in reality the turkey just weighs more frozen, and you get less meat.
We used to buy a 20 pounder but the first organic one we bought was only 15 lbs. After my mom cooked it, she said it had WAY more meat, and was certainly much juicier than the regular ones we usually got. And even though the organic one was more per pound, it cost less overall cause we got one 25% smaller and had more meat at the end of the day.
Support your local organic farmers – find a farmer’s market and order a turkey direct from the farmer. If there isn’t one in your area, look for a Hutterite or Mennenite Community – they usually sell poultry and produce.
And now, on to the rest of the meal. Some of my past recipes work well as side dishes for any meal and these two are particularly colorful and great for a holiday table.
Roasted Root Vegetables with Orange Sauce
One of our all time favorites, this recipe is SO super easy to make and no one will be the wiser that it’s good for them cause it tastes so yummy. You’ll love the way it makes your house smell as it cooks.
Edamame Beans, Chickpeas, Shiitake Mushrooms and Spinach
New last week but equally as colorful and flavorful. This can be served on the side and any leftovers can be blended and made into a tasty bean dip (thanks to my subscriber Maria for her comment on the original recipe – great idea Maria!).
1 Tbsp coconut oil
3 shallots, or 1/2 an onion minced finely
1 cup sliced mushrooms (white or brown button)
1.5 cups vegetable or mushroom stock
1 Tbsp Bragg’s
Celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch of sage and thyme
1 Tbsp arrowroot powder dissolved in 2 Tbsp of cold water (it is used to thicken sauces instead of cornstarch, but do not add it to hot water it will clump)
Cook shallots or onion in coconut oil until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the stock, Bragg’s and season to taste. I like sage and thyme in my gravy – you can leave them out if you want or add other spices and herbs you like.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low. Whisk in the arrowroot powder and cook until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Serve hot.
Makes about 2 cups.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Rutabaga
2 large rutabagas, peeled and chopped
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
Celtic sea salt to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp almond milk
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 cup pecans (optional)
1/4 dried cranberries (optional)
Steam rutabagas and sweet potatoes, cook until soft. Mash vegetables in a large bowl and add the oil, almond milk, onion powder until the vegetables are completely broken down and smooth. Add salt to taste. Place mixture into a small ovensafe dish and top with pecans and cranberries if you choose. (I didn’t add either because I used put the mushroom gravy on instead) Place in a preheated oven and bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes.
Serve warm, serves 6-8 as a side dish.
So there’s a few ideas to get you started on a healthy version of your Christmas or Hanukkah family dinner. If you want a few more ideas, you can check out last years Healthy Christmas Dinner. I was looking for a different twist on the traditional stuffing and I found a few, but didn’t have time to try them out in time. There’s lots of things you can do with wild rice, brown rice and quinoa – in place of the usual bread in stuffing. Try some and let me know if you find a good one.
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Healthy Christmas Dinner Ideas Photo Credit: Her View Photography