There’s a reason why the holidays are called diet-busters.
Whether you’re the host or the guest, holiday meal planning can be a bit of a toss-up.
As a host, you have to be mindful for what others can eat: what dietary lifestyles can you plan for? Does anyone have an allergy to gluten or diary? Do you know someone that would scoff at a plate full of veggies? How do you keep them away from your friend that will faint at the smell of meat?
Then, there’s the fear of being a guest. Maybe you just started a Transformation or you’re knee-deep into your new healthy-eating lifestyle. Do you ask for specific dishes just for you? Do you avoid eating the entire time? Do you bring your own food?
Ah, the questions! There’s enough drama with all of our loved ones around one cramped table, food shouldn’t be a stressor. So, we thought we’d make it easy on you by giving you help.
Here’s a list of healthy holiday meals. We’ll admit, some are healthy-ish, but come on, it’s the holidays! You’re not exactly thinking about strengthening your microbiome, you’re thinking of filling up your stomach!
Pick the recipe (or many) that suits you and your guests. They’re perfect for a potluck.
Or get creative with a seasonal veggies. Kale salad and dried cranberries or stuffed acorn squashes are trendy, scrumptious and healthy!
Appetizers are SO important, more important than people think. But they can totally set you up for disaster if you get full too quickly.
Here are some good bets:
Play it safe with veggies.
This Vegetable Wreath recipe from Eating Well is sure to keep you satiated just enough before the main event! Plus, it looks pretty (and a homemade Greek yogurt ranch recipe is included). You can never go wrong with veggies and dip!
Wow the crowd with potato chips.
We’re not talking Ruffles or Lays! We’re talking fries — sort of. We would eat fries 24/7 if we could, but we can’t. And they are hardly appropriate for a formal dinner with loved ones. So, break out the potato rounds instead. Are you catching our drift? With just a few simple ingredients, you’re set. Check out Recipe For Perfection’s olive oil and sea salt oven-roasted, potato rounds recipe!
Get creative with meatballs.
Meatballs on toothpicks are a main-stay in American appetizer culture. Drop the slow-cooked, BBQ-sauced skewers and opt for a healthier route with iFoodReal’s healthy turkey meatball recipe. You’ll need to do make this from scratch, with ground turkey, zucchini and spices. Don’t worry, there is an easy step-by-step guide!
Sides can complement an entree or totally botch it. Butternut squash, parsnips, beets and sweet potatoes are easy to cook, healthy to eat and incredibly satisfying without the guilt. Here are some choices that are delicious and a little more health-conscious:
Craft a salad that will have everyone reaching across the table.
Salads are great sides, and can even be the main course for some. Because of this you’ll want to really hit it out the park. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel, try a tried and true method. Cookie and Kate offers up a delish quinoa salad with roasted sweet potato, kale and pesto vinaigrette with this recipe.
Are you on a Transformation? This dish makes a perfect flex meal, just leave out the potatoes.
Make a stuffing that doesn’t suck.
Okay, so, holiday meals are nothing without stuffing. Every family has a secret, even if it’s just Stovetop. Most people will expect a store-bought, reheated tray. Knock their socks off with this sausage, sage and apple stuffing recipe by Eat Yourself Skinny.
Cover your bases with a gluten-free dish that still delivers.
Unfortunately, some people have to avoid stuffing because of the gluten. So, do your friend a favor (or yourself) and try Food, Faith, Fitness’ gluten-free recipe for a stuffing that lacks gluten but still supplies the yums.
Cut the carbs, but keep the stuffing — Purium style.
We adopted a recipe from Empowered Sustenance, but made a few changes for a bread-free dish that won’t have you feeling as bad after devouring.
When your appetizers and sides are on point, you need main dishes that stick the landing for a standout night. Whether it’s your own or your bringing a dish to another, these main dishes are sure to be crowd-pleasers.
Dazzle with flavor — with no meat!
Plant-based eaters, this one is for you! Cookie and Kate’s recipe for roasted carrots with farro, chipeas and herbed crème fraîche is a true tour de force. Don’t worry, there are vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free variations as well. Who says you need meat for the main course? Not us!
Cut the prep time, but keep the turkey.
If you’ve ever cooked a turkey for the holidays, you know that it can take HOURS. Sometimes you just don’t have time for that. Instead, try this recipe for garlic Parmesan turkey cutlets by Somewhat Simple. This is perfect for smaller get-togethers.
Keep it traditional, but be “smart.”
Traditional turkey is just fine, but make sure to make healthier choices. Choose lower fat condiments and dressings. If you don’t know how to cook a turkey, Greatist offers a great primer for beginners.
Spice up the traditional ham.
You can’t go wrong with ham for the holidays. But why not give it a little flair? Half Baked Harvest give a great alternative with chipotle pineapple jerk glazed harm.
Making room for dessert?
Keep it tasty, but clean.
Why not let spread a little Purium love? Check out our Thanksgiving recipe list for some clean, tasty treats using our product (featuring raw apple pie and pumpkin spice treats).
Go all out with this coffee-inspired dessert.
What’s better than cappuccino near the fire place? Well, how about a cappucinno cloud cheesecake? Chocolate Covered Katie created the perfect vegan recipe, with decadent, smart choices.
End the night with an oldie, but goodie.
Take a fall favorite and combine it with a year-long favorite. Oh yes, we’re talking pumpkin spice and cinnamon rolls. Does that sound possible? It totally is. Minimalist Baker’s recipe hits it out the park.
And don’t worry, Minimalist Baker has a gluten-free recipe, too (it just doesn’t use the pumpkin).
Good luck and enjoy time spent with your loved ones!