For most health nuts, the holidays are one of the few times of the year that it is okay to indulge. Faced with a month-long celebration of decorated cookies, seasonal coffee drinks, festive cocktails, and comfort food, most people just give in. Knowing that the New Year’s Resolution reset button is right around the corner, most of us will feast our way through December. Personally, I have always maintained my vegetarian diet through the holidays, but I have indulged in more gingerbread cookies, peppermint mochas, winter ales, and seasonal cocktails than I normally would.
This year, I am hosting Christmas dinner at my house for the very first time. It is actually the first time I have spent Christmas in Virginia, and Kyle and I are very excited to spend our first Christmas morning in our new house. Because I get to plan the menu, I want to have plenty of healthy options and serve some really delicious food at the same time. My first Christmas dinner at home presents a few challenges though. I will have two vegetarians at the table, a few people who would prefer to see meat on their plates, and one guest who is following a very strict low-carb diet. I need to serve some meat, some high-protein vegetarian dishes, and several low-carb items. At first the task was a little daunting, but I am always up for a challenge. No, really. Like, always. Maybe to a fault.
Since I love a good problem-solving session, I can honestly say I’ve had a blast working through a menu. I have a lot of ideas and I haven’t narrowed it down completely, so I thought I would share a few of my thoughts here with you. I am positive that some steamed vegetables will make an appearance, but I found the dishes listed below to offer something a little more special on the table. If you too are trying to build a health-conscious holiday menu, maybe some of these dishes will make your list.
As always, please note that I am no expert and if you have a restrictive diet for medical reasons, you should consult with a registered dietitian and your doctor before making any changes to your diet. Or else I might unwittingly lead you down a path paved with peppermint mochas and fried tofu, to possible digestive ruin.
The following recipe collection is very carbohydrate conscious. There are several options that I think would work for those who are watching their blood sugar. I hear that people on the paleo diet also watch their carbs, so some of these might work for them too.
Have ideas of your own that you would like to share? Please comment below with your favorite healthy holiday dishes!
- Cheesy Garlic Cauliflower “Bread” Sticks – 110 calories, 2 g carbs, <1 g sugar, 8 g protein per serving (1/8 of recipe)
- Chopped Salad with Lemon and Dill – 75 calories, 3 g carbs, <1 g sugar, 1 g protein per serving
- Engagement Tofu (sub Splenda for sugar) – 284 calories, 13 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 27 g protein per serving
- Lemon chicken breasts (sub boneless, skinless chicken breasts) – 585 calories, 15.3 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 68 g protein per serving
- Roast Beef with Mushroom Fig Sauce – 243 calories, 8 g carbs, 5 g sugar, 26 g protein per serving – you could probably double this portion and still be good!
- Mushroom-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin – 323 calories, 3 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 39 g protein per serving
- Raw Cauliflower Tabbouleh (no bulgur!) – 139 calories, 11 g carbs, 4 g sugar, 3 g protein per serving
- Turkey and Vegetable Zucchini Lasagna (no noodles!) – 465 calories, 35 g carbs, 18 g sugar, 30 g protein per serving (1/10 of recipe)
- Brussels Sprouts with Pecans – 82 calories, 13 g carbs, 4 g protein per serving
- Roasted Red Peppers with Kale and Rice – 171 calories, 15 g carbs, 5 g protein per serving
- Vegetarian Southern-Style Collard Greens – 122 calories, 14 g carbs, 4 g protein per serving
- Sweet Potato and Turnip Mash with Sage Butter – 88 calories, 12 g carbs, 1 g protein per serving
- Blueberry Tart with Walnut Crust – 177 calories, 17 g carbs, 9 g sugar, 4 g protein per serving