For most of us, holidays equate to stuffing ourselves crazy. There’s just far too much turkey, pudding, gravy, cakes and sides that are too hard to say no to. After all, it a season of indulgence. We can’t possibly feel festive eating light and healthy dishes, right? Wrong.
Contrary to popular belief, healthy holiday eating isn’t too farfetched. In fact, there are so many ways you can feast on the tastiest treats and meals without having to worry about gaining unwanted pounds.
Don’t know where to start? Don’t fret. We’ve lined up some of the most delicious, guilt-free and 100% scrumptious dishes you should whip up during this season.
Salads and Starters
Creamy Sweet Potato Soup
What’s better to ring in the cold, cuddle weather than cozying up with a bowl of soup? A creamy sweet potato soup is enough to fill you up with no sweat at all in the kitchen. Get this, it’s dairy free. You have more than enough richness coming from the sweet potatoes and stock you’ll be putting in.
Spicy Kale Salad
Kale spells healthy in four letters. It’s quite the versatile vegetable that’s packed with vitamins, minerals and a whole lot of flavor. Simply place the kale in a salad bowl, pound some garlic with olive oil, lemon juice and chili flakes. Season with salt and pepper and finish off with a healthy grate of pecorino. Yum!
Arugula Salad with Fennel, Apple and Pecans
If you really can’t help but indulge for the rest of the day, at least kick it off with a n super healthy salad. Mix some apples, pecans, fennel and arugula in a salad bowl. Finish that off with a Dijon vinaigrette. It’s not only tasty. It’s also packed with antioxidants and nutrients that will get you through the day.
Brussels Sprouts with Brown Butter and Sage
Butter is everyone’s best friend. This time, it pairs very well with oven-baked brussels sprouts and some bits of browned up sage. Dead simple, extremely delicious. We didn’t say this was going to be a butter-free diet plan, right?
Cranberry Orange Sauce with Thyme
First things first: Ditch the canned cranberries. That’s just going to go against everything your fit body is fighting for. Instead, bring some water, orange juice and zest as well as honey to a boil. Add your fresh (or frozen) cranberries in and add sprigs of thyme. This sauce is so filling, it’s going to make you eat less throughout the meals.
Green Bean Casserole
No no, we didn’t take after Paula Deen’s advice on casseroles. That’s just unhealthy in so many levels. Our healthy twist on this classic side consists of choosing low-sodium, fat-reduced mushroom soup, fresh beans, baking the oven instead of frying them and adding other veggies like asparagus, carrots and cauliflower. Trust us. It’s still as tasty as the unhealthy version.
Herbed-Stuffed Turkey Breast
Here’s the thing: A 20-pounds turkey isn’t just stressful. It’s also entering the dark side of the unhealthy force with all its red meat and fatty skin. Lessen the guilt by opting for a turkey breast instead. Stuff it with some parsley, lemon zest, sage and garlic. Drizzle some olive oil and season to taste. Maximum flavor, minimum guilt guaranteed.
Cranberry-Pecan Stuffed Pork Chops
If you’re not a poultry fan but a lover of robust flavor, then this is definitely the moneymaker. Cut through the bone of the pork chop and create a pocket where you can stuff all the good and healthy ingredients in there: Pecans, cranberries, thyme and a glug of olive oil. Sear the pork chops and use the left-out bits in the pans for the sauce. Oh and pair that one up with some parsnip marsh while you’re at it!
Quinoa and Sweet Potato-Stuffed Mushrooms
Mushrooms are probably the healthiest vessel of flavor out there. Bake some sweet potatoes and just when they’re about to cook, top it off with some spinach to wilt Prep some quinoa and mix it with the potatoes and greens. Now stuff those on top of the mushroom caps and bake until cooked through.
No-Bake Pumpkin Custard
This is one very simple dessert that is set to impress your guests. Simply mix the pumpkin butter, cream cheese, pumpkin puree, and yogurt everything’s well incorporated. Top with pecans. Put it in a bowl to chill until ready to serve. You’re welcome.
Harvest Fruit Compote
Don’t let all those fall fruits go to waste. Combine the apples, nectarines, strawberries, oranges and plums in a heavy-bottomed pot. Squeeze some lemon on top and cover with orange zest. Uncover and stir from time to time. Just remember not to turn the entire thing into a soft, gooey mush.
This is one of our ultimate favorites! In a pan, melt your coconut butter and add the coconut flakes, honey, vanilla extract and a dash of salt. Combine evenly and form into balls. Let them bake for 10-12 minutes until they turn into golden brown balls of holiday goodness.