Holiday food is the indisputable best kind of food. We will not hear arguments on this. The itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny problem is that it tends to be high in all the stuff that’s bad for us. In our opinion, that’s the only thing standing between us and hosting a “Christmas” dinner every week. Here’s the thing: you can put a little twist on those classic dishes to make them a little (actually, a lot) healthier. And you don’t even have to compromise on taste! We promise. Cross our hearts.
By swapping out just one or two ingredients, you can take the high-fat, high-carb holiday classics and turn them into something you could potentially eat everyday (*wink*). Or, you know, you could just completely ignore all this health drabble and treat yourself. It’s the holidays, you deserve it.
But if you want to have a healthy turkey dinner at any point, we got you covered.
Bread, bread, bread. That’s the best part, but it’s also the part of the meal that fills you up and it’s nearly pure carbohydrates. It doesn’t have to be though. with some simple subs, you can take those carbs waaay down.
Instead of classic bread stuffing, opt for pecan stuffing. In this recipe, you up the veggie content (so they’re the stars of the dish) and add pecans or cauliflower. If you can’t even entertain the thought of swapping your stuffing for this breadless version, you could always make it half and half (half vegetables and half bread) to make it healthier without going overboard.
Mashed potatoes are essential and some people get downright religious about them. For a healthy twist on the classic, try puréed cauliflower. It ends up being the same texture as mashed potatoes so if you don’t say anything, you just might trick your family into believing it’s potatoes. Actually, you might want to do this just because it would be a funny experiment. Wait until everyone is digging into their pie and then tell them that the potatoes weren’t actually potatoes. It will be hilarious. Surprise!
Gravy is sneaky because it’s just a sauce, but it contains fat from the turkey and flour for thickening. Or maybe it doesn’t. That’s your choice because you could totally substitute the flour with finely-ground chia seeds for the same effect with fewer carbs and all the benefits of chia (fiber, antioxidants, protein, calcium, etc.).
Another sneaky sauce, although you probably could have guessed it’s chocked full of sugar. But that’s only if you make it that way. Substitute refined sugar for something else like stevia or maple syrup and use it in moderation. It’s also a good idea to add in cinnamon for seasoning. Not only does it add in another flavour so you need less sugar, cinnamon helps your body regulate your blood sugar. Win-win.
Red velvet cake
Okay, it’s not as traditional a holiday dessert as pie or cookies, but it’s red and festive and delicious. And open to healthy substitutions! If you’re making red velvet cake (or anything really), coconut flour is lower in carbs than the regular stuff. Also you can add iron, vitamin C and fiber to your cupcakes by using beets to get that red colour rather than food colouring.