I don’t know about you, but I sometimes find it really hard to keep eating healthy food during the Holiday season, and especially on Christmas day! Hard, but not impossible!
While I admit that I tend to indulge a little bit more than usual on that special day, I still managed to successfully healthify a whole bunch of my Christmas favorites and classics over the years. From appetizers to dessert, I am now able to serve my guests and family members a menu that’s totally healthy without leaving them feeling deprived in the least!
Here’s a collection of my ultimate favorite healthy Holiday recipes; hope that you’ll be able to spot something in that list what will inspire you and that you’ll feel like putting on your own table this year!
Any good party starts with appetizers, me thinks… Shrimp and cocktail sauce would be my own personal go-to favorite appetizer to serve, especially on Christmas day…
I would never thing of going and settling for those “ready-made” shrimp rings with tasteless cocktail sauce, though. Home cooked shrimp and Cocktail Sauce made from scratch tastes a million times better and it’s such a breeze to make. You’ll never go back, I swear!
Baked Mozzarella Sticks would be another timeless classic... and another one of my faves!
Some of you will argue that Baked Mozzarella Sticks don’t really belong on a healthy eating food blog. I’ll give it to you, they are definitely not something that you’d want to actually feed off on a regular basis. But, as we are getting closer to the Holidays, I think that most of us tend to indulge a little bit more, and well, if you’re going to indulge, I say these Baked Mozzarella Sticks are a good way to do that and still keep things on the healthy side!
This Cheesy Crab & Shrimp Dip too, might be a tad on the indulgent side, seeing as how it contains quite a bit of cheese. But still, it’s good indulgence, you know. I mean, there also happens to be loads of shrimp and crab meat swimming in that sea of creamy goat cheese, Parmesan, mozzarella and sharp cheddar cheese. Nothing that’s inherently bad for ya…
Plus, it IS the Holiday season after all, so indulging is sort of in order, right? Right!
I’m telling you, if you are a lover of everything cheese and seafood, you’ll want to bathe in this dip.
If you rather opt for something a little bit lighter, here’s a delicious Goat Cheese Shrimp Dip can be served as is with crackers, or quickly and easily get turned into elegant little canapés that your guests will absolutely love and devour.
The best part about these is, they be ready in no time at all!
Of course, you can’t have Christmas without putting a turkey on the table. At least not in this household, you can’t!
Of all the turkeys that I’ve made over the years, this one is by far my favorite. You see, a few years ago, it was my turn to bring the turkey to our family dinner and this is the one that I’d made. Everyone loved it so much, they voted that I be the one to bring the turkey for at least the next 10 years… Frankly, I’ve not made a different one since.
This oven roasted turkey will require that you plan a little bit ahead of time, as it needs to sit in a light orange and apple brine for a bunch or hours before it goes in the oven. But trust me, this little bit of extra work is VERY well worth it: the amount of flavor and juiciness that the orange and apple brine brings to the turkey is totally out of this world.
Pork Shank and Meatball Stew has always been a tradition in my household. Ever since I can remember, we’ve been having it on Christmas, except for that one year when disaster struck and, for some obscure reason, the stew turned sour on us… That was a true catastrophe, and to this day, we still talk about it.
This dish is simply sacrosanct and there is no way we can not have it on Christmas. I learned how to make it from my parents when I was barely old enough to walk!
For years, I tried to come up with a healthy version that would be very true to the original, one that even my dad, were he still alive, would approve of.
Well, I finally did it! This is it, right here…
Ha! Now that one is a no-brainer. If you’re French Canadian, than Meat Pie is an absolute, total must on the Christmas menu. You simply cannot have Christmas without it.
Just like with my sacrosanct Meatball Stew, I worked very hard to come up with a worthy, healthier version of this French Canadian Holiday staple, and finally managed to nail it.
To me, and to my daughter especially, no Christmas feast would be complete without the obligatory Cranberry Sauce.
This delectable, sweet and tangy sauce is typically made with cranberries and… tons of sugar! Of course, I had to come up with my very own version of that, too; One that didn’t call for all that sugar, but that was just as equally delicious, if not better.
And I totally did that. This version not only is much healthier, it also tastes better! In fact, it tastes so good, I tend to eat this stuff by the spoonful…
The recipe for this Cranberry Sauce was never published on my blog: you can find it on page 72 of Paleo Home Cooking
Or… wait… How’s about I share it with you, right here, right now? ‘Tis the season after all, isn’t it? Alright, here it goes…
Nothing goes better with that Pork Shank and Meatball Stew than a good serving of fluffy, creamy mashed potatoes. I never thought I could have it any other way, until I got to taste this Perfect Cauliflower Mash.
This thing is so tasty, so fluffy, so creamy, I think I even prefer it to my beloved mashed potatoes. In fact, I think if were you to put this mash on the table, no one would ever know you weren’t actually serving them potatoes. Try it, you’ll see!
If you’d rather stick with the real deal and aren’t ready to switch to cauliflower just yet, these Healthier Mashed Potatoes might be exactly what you need…
Cuz you know, the way I see it, mashed potatoes don’t need to be filled with all kinds of cream, fat and butter in order to be satisfyingly light, creamy, fluffy and so deliciously comforting! And these are living proof!
Call me strange, but I have to have carrots on Christmas. HAVE TO! And I don’t think carrots get any better than these Honey Mustard Rosemary Glazed Carrots.
Again, they are totally the ones that I intend to make this year… Simple, no fuss, delicious, WIN!
Brussels sprouts are also a big must for me on the Christmas menu.
I mean look at them. Everything about them screams Christmas. Paired with pomegranate seeds, you have to admit that with their gorgeous jewel-like colors, they fit the theme perfectly well! This dish right here, it tastes just as fantastic as it looks… It has just as much flavors and textures to offer as it has colors!
Definitely worthy of this special occasion!
Sometimes, I like to do salad, too… This one is the first of two salad recipes that I’d come up with a few years ago, after I’d been asked to contribute a couple of salads to our family dinner.
While at first, I found the idea of eating salad on Christmas very strange, I ended up falling in love with both the idea and the salad recipes that I came up with that year. So much so, they’ve now sort of become part of the tradition, too!
If you’re also into eating salad on Christmas, or would like to give the concept a try, then I say this one is a solid contender!
This is the second of the two salads that I’d made that year, when I’d been asked to contribute salads to the Christmas menu.
Not only does this one have the colors of Christmas, but it has all the right flavors, too. It certainly makes for a refreshing addition to a menu that’s usually quite “heavy”.
In fact, it’s so deliciously tasty, no one will even realize that it’s super healthy!
I wouldn’t even dream of leaving that out, even though more often than not, by the time we get to it our tummies are so full, there’s simply no room left for anything. Not even a slice of that delicious Pecan Pie. Truth be told, I often end up having a slice the next day, with my morning coffee. I know, not the ideal breakfast, but hey, it isn’t Christmas everyday!
Perhaps I should pass on making the pies this year? Naaaaah… I just couldn’t do that.
Pie will definitely be on the menu!
My son absolutely adores Raisin Pie, so he was a little bit bummed when I practically stopped making pies a couple of years ago.
Last year, however, I decided to surprise him with this Paleo version of his old favorite. While he’s not usually a fan of “paleoified” things, he very much loved that Raisin Pie. And unfortunately, so did I. Funny thing is I’d never been a fan of Raisin Pie, until I came up with this version…
Perhaps you’d be better off not trying it out, just in case you’d get addicted too, you know. I wouldn’t want to be responsible for that…
But on the other hand, you’d be missing out on so much.
So I say try it, at your own risk!
Okay, so there may not be room for an actual dessert after the main course, but there’s always room to nibble on a little sweet treat... to help you digest, you know!
These cute little Orange & Cranberry Jellies are not only pretty and super delicious, they also happen to be very healthy. They are definitely the kind of treat that you can put on the table and eat without feeling guilty about it in the least.
So yeah… I’ll definitely add them to the list. Especially since they are so easy to make!
These adorable festive bliss balls fall in the exact same category, i.e. so pretty, crazy delicious and totally healthy. Positively guaranteed to be a hit, too! It’s not because they happen to be raw, vegan and paleo friendly, completely free of gluten, dairy or refined sugar and filled with nothing but superfoods and wholesome ingredients that they are not absolutely delicious and insanely addictive!
Honestly, they’re almost better than chocolate! Except they’re good for you. Completely, totally, utterly good for you! And they’re super easy to make, too.
Truth is I’d already made a batch for Christmas, but they’re all gone. Yeah. They’re that good. So now, I have to make a fresh batch before the big day arrives.
Next year, I will know not to make them so long ahead of time…
So now, if you’ll excuse me, I think that I should hit the stores and get busy cooking, if I’m hoping to be ready on time for Christmas…
Oh, and just in case you’re in need of more treat recipes, check out this 25 HEALTHY CHRISTMAS TREATS I’d be very surprised if you didn’t find something you liked in there.
Happy Healthy Holiday Cooking!