If you’re trying to maintain a healthy diet, navigating holiday parties and family dinners can be a minefield. So many of the things we love to celebrate the season with have unnecessary sugar, fat, and salt. Luckily, there are a lot of people out there trying to make things that are tasty and also healthy. To help you get through the festive season without feeling deprived of deliciousness, we’ve made a list of our favorite healthy holiday side dishes.
If You Want a Variety of Veggies
Vegetables are usually a go-to when trying to find healthy holiday side dishes. However, the same old green beans and steamed carrots might get boring. Plus, some of these veggies have undesirable additives like sugar, salt, and butter. Try some of these instead:
- Maple Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts: This is a simple yet delicious side dish that is sure to please at your holiday gathering. It might even convert the Brussels sprouts haters out there to fans. The Brussels sprouts glazed with a tasty balsamic glaze and are roasted in the oven until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Get the recipe at Kristine’s Kitchen
- Roasted Cauliflower, Tomatoes, Chickpeas with Indian Spices: The spice mix used in this vegetable dish will provide a kick of something different for your holiday table. The main ingredients are all nutritious and made delicious with garlic, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, and cilantro. To avoid salt overload the recipe uses low-sodium chickpeas. Get the recipe at MJ & Hungryman.
- Kale Salad with Apples: The addition of crisp apples to the goodness of dark leafy kale will make this salad a holiday hit. This simple recipe features a homemade maple mustard vinaigrette, dried cranberries, raisins, and walnuts. Get the recipe at A Mind “Full” Mom.
If You’re a Potato Person
Mashed potatoes are a pretty standard side for many holiday meals. But with all the butter, milk, and salt added to this already starchy dish, it’s not the best choice when you’re trying to stay healthy. Here are some alternatives that will satisfy your craving without derailing you:
- Healthy Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes: Cauliflower may not have the same flavor as mashed potatoes, but you can use it to get the same smooth and creamy texture. This recipe doesn’t use any butter but gets plenty of flavor from olive oil, garlic, thyme, and black pepper. Get the recipe at As Easy as Apple Pie.
- Apple Cider Glazed Sweet Potatoes: The sweet potato is always a good go-to substitute for regular white or gold potatoes. This recipe combines oven-roasted sweet potatoes with a spiced apple cider glaze. Full of fall flavor and vegan-friendly! Get the recipe from Oh My Veggies.
If You Crave Casserole
Casseroles are usually hearty but not healthy holiday side dishes. Many have a lot of cheese, cream, and salt. Some of our favorite versions without all the added calories and fat:
- Skillet Squash Blossom: This side dish is as stunning as it is deceptively delicious. The recipe replaces heavy cream sauces and cheese with olive oil, savory spices, and a hint of sweetness from natural maple syrup. You can use any variety of winter squash available in your area A bonus? You can make it in under an hour. Get the recipe at Southern Living.
- Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole: Sweet potato casserole is a holiday staple on many tables. However, like many casseroles, it traditionally includes ingredients that pile on calories. This version nixes excess butter by substituting orange juice to add tangy sweetness. The classic marshmallow topping is swapped out for a slightly healthier homemade meringue that will satisfy your sweet tooth for a third of the calories. Get the recipe from Healthy Seasonal Recipes.
Contact Total HealthcareMD
The holiday season can be full of temptations to indulge in things that don’t mesh with your weight loss goals. This can be especially frustrating if you have been trying to lose weight on a restrictive diet. These diets may work in the short-term, but they can leave you feeling deprived and can even cause longterm problems. If you want to get started with a personalized medical weight loss plan that will yield longterm results, call (919) 436-3777 to make an appointment for a 90-minute consultation at our Cary, NC office.