Healthy Holiday Meals to Keep Your Guests Happy
2022 has been your best health year yet because you’ve been focusing on your overall health and mindful eating rather than giving into crazy fad diets that don’t last. Congrats, way to go! We’re here to help you stay on track through the holiday season.
With holidays throughout the next two months, it can be hard to find ways to enjoy the meals and treats with your friends and family without going overboard and throwing your hard work down the drain. Not to mention your body probably isn’t going to adjust well to an influx of high fat and sugar.
We’ve got you covered. Here are some ideas to host your friends and family this holiday season with a delicious and healthy holiday meal menu! They won’t even know that you’ve made a healthy holiday meal because it will taste that good!
Grab your notepad and pencil, and get ready to jot down some notes for healthy holiday meal grocery shopping.
Start With an Appetizer
Eating a healthy holiday meal doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a full-course dinner during the holidays. You just need to create balance throughout each course and consider what you’re serving.
We kept the appetizer suggestions light to save room for the remaining courses. That makes them easy to prepare.
Stay Fresh & Light
Try a salad and homemade dressing that’s loaded with delicious and light veggies such as carrots, tomatoes, and onions. Start your homemade dressing out with olive oil, and add ground mustard, salt, pepper, and other seasonings to your taste.
Sliced raw veggies with greek yogurt dip is an easy option that keeps everyone on track. The only slight change is the dip you’re serving alongside the cut peppers, carrots, and celery. Skip the store-bought dip or packaged onion dip and grab some plain Greek yogurt. Mix it with some onion powder, and you’re ready to go!
Stay Decadent (but Healthy)
Baked brie with honey and raw veggies—or whole wheat crackers—is a decadent appetizer that is still healthier than baked mac and cheese cups or some other cheesy dip that you would normally serve.
Show Off Your Main Course
The main course is the primary event of any holiday dinner. Let’s keep it that way with our healthy holiday meal. With wholesome options that are equally delicious and healthy, your guests will be begging you for the recipe. Here are a few main courses that are free of high fat, sodium, and empty carbs.
Serve Classic Turkey
Preparing a healthy holiday meal doesn’t mean you have to skip the traditional main courses such as turkey. However, you might have to change the way that you prepare your turkey this year to maintain the quality of the meat. Try an herb-roasted turkey this year that gets its flavor from rich herbs instead of relying on thick sugar-laden glazes to give it taste.
Change It Up with Chicken
Another healthy meat option is chicken. Choose to skip the turkey and look for a special chicken dish that is prepared with fresh herbs and cooked alongside vegetables. Or try finding a recipe that includes a homemade sauce without added sugar.
With more people turning away from eating meat, serving a vegetarian option might make the whole situation easier. Try a vegetarian lasagna with whole wheat noodles this holiday to keep the nutrients high and the carbs low.
Stay Festive and Hearty
Try an alternative main course with stuffed acorn squash including brown rice and turkey sausage in the filling. This delicious meal provides quality carbs and is nutrient-dense. Also, it’s an inexpensive meal that will surprise and delight your guests this season.
One key element of maintaining a healthy holiday meal is to create a balance among the courses. We want to maintain a similar philosophy to that of the appetizers: offer sides but keep them light.
We’ve provided a few options that are easy to prepare and will support the main course of your choosing.
One side that is sure to make its appearance each year is candied yams or sweet potatoes. This year, trade your candied sweet potatoes for baked potatoes topped with cinnamon. The flavor will still be there, but the risk of a sugar coma will be reduced!
Roasted vegetables are simple to prepare, but if seasoned well and roasted long enough, pack an amazing flavor. Try broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower this year with a dash of olive oil sprinkled with sea salt, garlic powder, and pepper. You will be the host of the year!
Fresh & Fruity
Serving a winter fruit salad as a side dish will free up your ovens this holiday season and keep guests from feeling like they need to be wheeled out of your home. Try a salad with spinach, pomegranates, and apples with a homemade apple cider vinegar dressing. Or, really mix it up and serve a grated brussels sprouts salad with walnuts. Both of these salads are flavorful, light, and delightful.
Desserts can be one of the hardest temptations during the holiday season because they are special treats you only see once a year. However, they typically include a lot of fat, sugar, and high carbs that leave you with a sugar rush. If you don’t want to say goodbye to your favorite holiday desserts for good, such as pumpkin pie or cheesecake, then look for recipes that offer substitutes for high-fat dairy and reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe. These small changes aren’t usually noticeable but will make a huge difference in your health at the end of this holiday season. Sugar substitutes like coconut sugar, stevia, monk fruit, or just plain fruit often taste the same but offer significant health benefits.
Stay Healthy this Holiday with Link Direct Primary Care
Curating a perfect healthy holiday meal menu doesn’t have to be a bust this year. At Link Primary Care we care about your overall health, but we also want you to actually enjoy your life. If you’re looking for more advice on how to make small, but impactful changes to your lifestyle so that you can feel your best, then contact us for your free consultation today.