Christmas Family Dinner

Healthy Holiday Recipes That Please The Palate Without Widening The Waistband

Delicious food is at the center of every holiday gathering. Some holiday recipes are passed down from generation to generation, while others are pinned and shared online. With the Christmas holiday fast approaching, scrumptious foods are shared at home, work, Christmas parties, and delivered to your home by well-meaning neighbors.

Wouldn’t it be nice to find some holiday recipes that make your taste buds come alive without wreaking havoc to your figure? No, this is not a holiday wish that only Santa Claus can fulfill. You really can have tasty meals, even desserts, that are guilt free. Read on to brighten your holiday with flavorful recipes.

Roast Chicken and Pomegranate Farro Salad

This recipe from Eating Well would be a lovely replacement for the traditional turkey and potatoes meal that is so popular at Christmastime. The skin is rubbed with a mixture of parsley, shallot, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper, then oven roasted until the juicy, flavorful bird reaches 165 degrees, which translates into around 30-35 minutes.

Instead of a carbohydrate loaded stuffing made of bread, the farro salad is a light and healthy alternative. Festive ingredients such as pomegranate molasses, pomegranate seeds, and toasted almonds lend the desired taste of the season.

Christmas Chicken
Try this delicious, juicy chicken roasted in spices in place of the usual ham or turkey. Accompanied by Farro Salad flavored with pomegranates and almonds, this recipe will surely delight your guests.

Glazed Ham with Blackberry Sauce

As holiday ham recipes go, this one is quite healthy. Using a smoked, bone-in ham shank, this holiday favorite contains only a fraction of the sodium found in typical cured hams. From Health.com, the star of this show is a combination of Dijon mustard and blackberry jam reduced with other key ingredients like white wine to form a perfect glaze.

Christmas Ham
Lower in sodium than traditional cured ham, this is the perfect star for your Christmas table.

Garlic and Thyme Green Beans

Green bean casserole is certainly a staple that can be found on the center of many tables this Christmas. As tasty as this dish is, it is also loaded with calories and fat. The addition of cream of mushroom soup and french fried onions ruins the natural healthiness of the vegetable.

According to Good Housekeeping,garlic and thyme are a perfect complement to the fresh taste of green beans. This is a very simple side that is big on flavor. Taking only 20 minutes for a combined preparation and cooking time, this recipe calls for fresh thyme leaves, garlic, salt, and pepper to bring out the natural essence of the green beans.

Christmas Side Dish
Fresh green beans are always a healthy choice, and a favorite during the holidays.

Lemon Cheesecake

Yes, you read that right — cheesecake! Apparently, there are healthier recipes for making even heavy holiday desserts a little lighter. This lemon cheesecake recipe from the Mayo Clinic website uses lemon zest to create a freshly flavored cheesecake. Feel free to garnish the top with pretty yellow lemon zest for more of a citrus punch, or another equally healthy alternative, such as fresh raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries. If you’re feeling extra festive, a few curls of dark chocolate shaved over the top of the cheesecake would enhance the appearance of the dessert, as well as the taste.

Healthy Cheesecake Recipe
You really can enjoy a guilt free dessert with this lemon zest cheesecake recipe.

The websites cited above have many other healthy holiday recipes for your enjoyment, as well as other useful tools such as menu planners and nutrition information. Start here with your search for holiday recipes.

Do you have favorite healthy holiday recipes? Share them here.

[Images via Shutterstock]

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