Holiday meals are full of New Jammies’ traditional favorites, from turkey and stuffing to pumpkin pie topped with fresh whipped cream. With many of these holiday appetizers, entrees and desserts loaded with fat and calories, we like to discover some of the more healthier options for families, especially those with kiddos to please.
One way to start thinking healthy for the holidays is to consider switching out traditional ingredients for less sugar- and calorie-heavy items. Everyday Health healthy living newsletter offers these options, featured in its “11 Healthy Holiday Food Swaps” article. These include skipping:
• Full-fat dips, and eat yogurt dips (hummus with yogurt and lemon recipe)
• Some alcohol calories, drink wine spritzer instead (8 ‘skinny’ holiday cocktails)
• Candied yams, eat roasted sweet potatoes (low-calorie candied yams recipe)
• Store-bought, eat homemade stuffing (low-calorie stuffing)
• Traditional gravy, eat low-fat gravy (click here for recipe from the Mayo Clinic)
These recipes will be a hit with the family this holiday, and help with staying healthy:
Spinach Parmesan White Bean Dip
Found on Pinterest, one of our favorite resources for ideas for healthy recipes and fun holiday do-it-yourself projects, this simple, vegetarian, five-ingredient, gluten-free dip is “packed with protein and veggies, and tons of cheesy flavor.” Sounds great to us!
1 cup baby spinach, packed
1 15 oz. can white beans, small
2 tbsp freshly squeeze lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1. Blend in food processor; salt and pepper to taste.
2. Serve with carrots, celery, cauliflower, pita chips or any healthy chip or veggie stick that goes great with dips.
Wild Rice with Cranberries & Almonds
This low-calorie (120 per 1/2 cup), low-cholesterol (0 mg) side dish, courtesy of the American Diabetes Association’s Recipes for Living, is a healthful holiday option that can be made for a big dinner, or a small get-together with lots of leftovers, as it serves 11. According to the ADA, wild rice takes longer to cook than other rice, but it has a lower glycemic index of 45 compared to white rice with a glycemic index of 70. This is important for those holiday guests with diabetes or other special diet considerations. The toasted almond slices and dried cranberries are a nice touch for any holiday spread.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 1/2 cups water
1 cup fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth
2 (4-ounce) boxes wild rice
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes.
2. Add the water and chicken broth to the pan and bring to a boil.
3. Add the rice; cover and cook according to package directions; usually about 50-60 minutes.
4. Remove the lid and add in the toasted almonds and cranberries; use a fork to mix together.
MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE: Confirm all ingredients are gluten-free, including the chicken broth, and this can be made gluten-free.
The American Heart Association offers many healthy options for traditional recipes on its website at recipes.heart.org. This citrus-roasted recipe for a turkey breast, to make holiday prep easier, caught our eye for a healthy take on festive meals.
”Try this new Simple Cooking with Heart take on traditional turkey. Its seasoning gives the dish a base of flavor, and orange marmalade adds tangy sweetness. Serve with potatoes and carrots. Enjoy the taste of Thanksgiving year-round!”
Nonstick cooking spray
1.5-1.75 lb. boneless, skinless turkey breast (all visible fat discarded)
2 tsp. dried mixed herbs (mix a combination of any/all – rosemary, basil, parsley, tarragon, chives, thyme, sage)
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3 Tbsp. orange marmalade
1 lb. washed potatoes (can use any type of potatoes), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 medium carrots (peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Spray a 9×13 inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Place turkey in the dish.
3. In a small bowl, mix dry ingredients (herbs, salt, pepper, garlic powder). Rub half of mixture over the turkey.
4. Spread marmalade over turkey.
5. Stir potatoes, carrots and oil in to remaining herb mixture. Place vegetables in dish around the turkey. Bake for 1 hour.
6. Remove from oven and let sit 5-10 minutes to allow juices to redistribute.
Better Homes and Gardens knows a little something about entertaining, and has spent decades being one of the foremost experts on food. So it’s no surprise they’ve put together a list of Healthy Apple Desserts that includes this easy recipe that slow cooks while everyone is visiting.
“Instead of serving caramel apples on a stick, we cut apples in half, topped them with a sprinkle of cinnamon and cloves, and cooked them in a slow cooker. We added a drizzle of caramel topping later, along with a few chopped pecans, to create a healthy apple dessert that wows.”
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
5 medium red-skinned cooking apples (such as Rome or Jonathan), cored, and halved
1/2 cup apple juice or apple cider
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar-free caramel ice cream topping
1/2 cup toasted, chopped pecans
1. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and cloves. Core and halve the apples.
2. Place 1/2 of the apple halves in a 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker. Sprinkle evenly with some of the cinnamon mixture. Add remaining apples and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon mixture.
3. Pour apple juice and lemon juice over apples. Stir to coat apples evenly.
4. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, stirring gently halfway through cooking time.
5. Spoon apples and cooking liquid to individual serving dishes. Drizzle with caramel topping and sprinkle with pecans.
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