The holidays are a wonderful time full of joy, love, and delicious food. With all of the meals we share with our loved ones, it can be hard to stick to our diets and eat healthy. In order to help you avoid the holiday food stress, Can’t Lose Diet has done the research and is here to provide you with healthy alternatives to some of our favorite holiday foods, so you can feel good about filling your plate! Click the links in the article to find simple, healthy recipes for your holiday dinner table.
Fresh, Light Holiday Appetizers
So many of our holiday appetizers are full of fat and calories, which is partially why we love them so much! However, there are ways to revamp your appetizers this holiday season to keep them just as delicious (if not more) while making them a much healthier option. Why load up on fat, carbs, and calories before the main meal even begins?
One healthy and simple appetizer alternative is to substitute low-fat or nonfat yogurt or nonfat sour cream for regular sour cream in all of your dip recipes. The flavor of your dips for vegetables or crackers will not suffer from this easy fix, and the amount of fat and calories will drop significantly. For reference, an ounce of sour cream has about sixty calories, while an ounce of nonfat plain Greek yogurt only has fifteen to twenty calories. This is a big difference, and every scoop adds up to a healthier holiday!
Tired of green bean casserole and fat-heavy holiday vegetables? Switch up your veggies this season with a bright, colorful salad that packs a punch of flavor, as well as vitamins and protein. This grapefruit, endive, and arugula salad is easy to make and includes plenty of gorgeous holiday colors. The walnuts in this recipe add a bit of protein, and the vinaigrette is light and delicious. A holiday salad is a simple way to add colors to your dinner spread and typically only takes a few minutes to prepare so you’ll have plenty of time to cook up some other healthy dishes to go with it!
Sides & Main Courses That Won’t Overstuff You
There are few things more comforting than a heaping plate of your favorite holiday foods, and sharing them with family and friends. Try preparing these foods a little differently, or swapping out heavier ingredients for healthier options to create main courses that won’t leave you feeling overstuffed.
Mashed potatoes is one of the great comfort foods of the holiday season, especially when loaded up with plenty of butter and gravy. This holiday favorite is loaded with calories and carbs that might fill you up more than you’d like. Instead of mashed potatoes, cut calories and empty carbs by making mashed cauliflower instead. Because it is much healthier and lighter, you can still opt for small amounts of low-fat butter and gravy if you like, but this dish is flavorful enough that you may find you don’t need them!
Rather than a stuffing made with bread, butter, and other carbs and fats, opt for an alternative stuffing that uses grains and plenty of fresh winter vegetables. A farro stuffing with butternut squash, red onion and almonds will still fill you up while replacing heavier foods that leave you sluggish with enriching grains and seasonal root vegetables.
It doesn’t get much more festive than a holiday ham, and the glaze we put on it is often the most delicious part. Many ham glazes contain plenty of sugar, making your main course into more of a dessert than you think! Consider using one of many ham glaze recipes that opt for fresh fruit and spices to give them sweetness and flavor rather than sugar. Some great flavor ideas include orange honey mustard, tropical pineapple, and spicy cherry glazes. Get the recipes here.
Sweet Dessert Treats with a Healthy Spin
Our sweet tooth can often be our downfall during the holidays, when it can feel like we’re constantly surrounded by massive amounts of unhealthy dessert choices. There are many creative ways to have a dessert that satisfies your craving for something sweet while keeping things healthy so you still feel like yourself at the end of a long meal.
For our chocolate fiends out there, sometimes dessert is not really dessert unless it contains some form of chocolate. If this sounds like you, try using dark chocolate instead of milk or white chocolate for your desserts. Dark chocolate has less sugar than milk or white chocolates, and contains compounds that may actually improve blood circulation and heart health. Rich dark chocolate is a much better option than milk and white chocolates, which are heaped with fat and carbs.
It can be hard to avoid carbs and sugar during the holidays, especially when it comes to dessert. One simple trick to keep things sweet while skipping the sugar is to use fresh fruits in your desserts. This no-bake strawberry cream pie gets its sweetness from Medjool dates, coconut, and chopped strawberries. A great aspect of fruit desserts is that they’re versatile and can easily be customized to fit our tastes. If you’re not a fan of strawberries, try using blueberries or even pomegranate seeds instead. These colorful treats are the perfect way to end a healthy, nourishing holiday meal.