Hosting a Healthier Christmas Dinner

Posted 12/22/2015 | By HealthCorps

Thanksgiving was only weeks ago and it’s already time for another calorie-heavy holiday meal. Without being a bah humbug, you can eliminate the stress that accompanies trying to please guests, while offering healthier, tasty Christmas classics.

Main dishes

If stuffed ham is a traditional dish, consider stuffing the ham with different fruits and use a bit of honey to lightly sweeten the dish. The fruit will offer a boost of antioxidants.

Rack of lamb is a popular dish so why not place the lamb on a warm salad of lentils and apples. This will allow you to make portions of the lamb smaller, with a protein boost from the lentils.

If pork chops are the main star of the meal, consider making the accompanying apple sauce sugar free. With so many different apples to choose from, and some stevia to sweeten the dish, you can really lighten the sugar and calorie load.

Nowadays you should always have a fish dish on hand for non-meat eaters, and salmon with mushrooms and red pepper sauce offers a nice dose of omega 3 fatty acids.

You can find all these main dishes at cookinglight.com. You’ll have to sign up for free to access the recipes.

Side dishes

Acorn squash with cranberry apple stuffing offers a delicious winter vegetable dish with a tasty, healthy filling. Unlike the traditional recipe that uses loads of butter and flour, this one has 6 easy ingredients and uses healthy oil.

Instead of fat-heavy vegetables dishes, try this Savory Broccoli-Cauliflower Roast. The citrus and green olives add a unique twist to a simple roasted vegetable dish. Using ingredients like oranges and lemons and green olives help to bump up flavor without adding sugar or fat.

Don’t serve just any salad. Go the extra mile and create a unique salad dish. Grilled Endive with Sage Vinaigrette can also be made with radicchio or romaine. A light zesty salad and cooked vegetables should take up half of your dinner plate.

A cheesy gratin is often part of the Christmas dinner meal. Lose the cheese and carbs and try an Apple, Leek and Butternut Gratin. This Martha Stewart recipe uses olive oil, leeks and layers of apple and butternut squash with a light topping of Parmesan cheese. You can use a variety of apples for different textures and taste.

For another tasty and healthy grain dish, try Cauliflower Couscous. This can easily substitute for a traditional potato dish. Nuts and chickpeas add protein to the dish and a variety of spices like red chile flakes, turmeric, curry and cinnamon add robust flavor.

Quinoa has become a very popular go to ancient grains dish. Zesty Orange Quinoa Stuffing offers protein and calcium. This can easily swap out for traditional stuffing made with bread crumbs. An ingredient list that includes vegetables, fruit, champagne vinegar and spices will be a sure hit with your guests.

Your “lighter” dessert list can include a station with Greek yogurt and different toppings, baked apples, fruit kabobs or small bites of traditional desserts. This Raspberry Sponge Pudding is a light dessert that will satisfy. Add some fresh chopped walnuts for a crunchy, healthy topping. For a delicious pumpkin dish, try these No Bake Pumpkin Tarts.

When it comes to drinks, club soda with a splash of juice, iced or hot teas (chai is perfect) with stevia, wine spritzers and low calorie hot cocoa are perfect choices.

It’s so easy to find low calorie, low fat and low sugar recipes online, so make sure to spend a little time before the holiday, searching for a menu that will offer your guests taste without the traditional calorie load!! Or check out our recipe finder for some delicious appetizers, main dishes and desserts!

You may also enjoy reading You Call it Sneaky, but Stealth Nutrition is Smart Nutrition.

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