Holiday meals are full of New Jammies’ traditional favorites, from turkey and stuffing to pumpkin pie topped with fresh whipped cream. With many of these holiday appetizers, entrees and desserts loaded with fat and calories, we like to discover some of the more healthier options for families, especially those with kiddos to please.
One way to start thinking healthy for the holidays is to consider switching out traditional ingredients for less sugar- and calorie-heavy items. Everyday Health healthy living newsletter offers these options, featured in its “11 Healthy Holiday Food Swaps” article. These include skipping:
• Full-fat dips, and eat yogurt dips (hummus with yogurt and lemon recipe)
• Some alcohol calories, drink wine spritzer instead (8 ‘skinny’ holiday cocktails)
• Candied yams, eat roasted sweet potatoes (low-calorie candied yams recipe)
• Store-bought, eat homemade stuffing (low-calorie stuffing)
• Traditional gravy, eat low-fat gravy (click here for recipe from the Mayo Clinic)
These recipes will be a hit with the family this holiday, and help with staying healthy:
We discovered this healthy mama on instagram with a new low carb twist on stuffing.
“It’s really pretty simple: melt 4T butter, sauté 1 chopped onion. Add 2 chopped carrots and 2 ribs of diced celery and sauté till soft. Add about 3 cups of riced or finely diced cauliflower and cook about 8 min. Add 1cup chopped mushrooms and season with salt, pepper, 1/2 t dry sage, fresh parsley and fresh rosemary. Cover and cook 15 min. Add up to 1/2 c broth if it seems dry. Using frozen cauliflower rice brings more moisture. Serve warm and eat it up!!!”
Thanks Jennifer! https://www.instagram.com/jenniferpantall/
Wild Rice with Cranberries & Almonds
This low-calorie (120 per 1/2 cup), low-cholesterol (0 mg) side dish, courtesy of the American Diabetes Association’s Recipes for Living, is a healthful holiday option that can be made for a big dinner, or a small get-together with lots of leftovers, as it serves 11. According to the ADA, wild rice takes longer to cook than other rice, but it has a lower glycemic index of 45 compared to white rice with a glycemic index of 70. This is important for those holiday guests with diabetes or other special diet considerations. The toasted almond slices and dried cranberries are a nice touch for any holiday spread.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 1/2 cups water
1 cup fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth
2 (4-ounce) boxes wild rice
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes.
2. Add the water and chicken broth to the pan and bring to a boil.
3. Add the rice; cover and cook according to package directions; usually about 50-60 minutes.
4. Remove the lid and add in the toasted almonds and cranberries; use a fork to mix together.
MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE: Confirm all ingredients are gluten-free, including the chicken broth, and this can be made gluten-free.
Butternut Squash Soup
Finally we found Jenn, a veggie lovin’ mama, cooking up Roasted Butternut Squash Soup which she considers a cold-weather staple! We love this silky butternut soup served with spicy roasted chickpeas for extra flavor. Vegan, Vegetarian, and T-Rex toppings available, so there’s something for everyone!
Recipe yields approx. 4 bowls or 6-7 cups of soup.
- 2.5 lb butternut squash
- 3 large carrots
- 1 onion (white or yellow)
- 1 TBSP avocado oil (or favorite healthy oil)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 TBSP unsalted butter
- 3 cloves garlic smashed + minced
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- additional salt + pepper to taste
SPICY ROASTED CHICKPEAS
- 15 oz canned chickpeas
- 1 TBSP avocado oil (or favorite healthy oil)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper (spiiicy!)
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp ground cumin
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
Drain and rinse your chickpeas and place on a stack of paper towels to dry a bit. The drier the chickpeas the crispier they’ll get in the oven. Woot!
Cut your squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Pierce skin of squash a few times with a knife. Peel and cut your carrots into 3 portions. Peel onion and cut into 8 quarters.
Place your squash (cut side down), carrot, and onion on a large rimmed baking sheet (or roasting pan). Drizzle with 1 TBSP oil (extra if desired) and season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Pour 1/4 cup of water over the squash. (it will evaporate as the squash roasts)
Pat chickpeas dry and add to your second baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 TBSP oil and season with 1/4 tsp salt. (The rest of the spices will be added after)
Place both pans on the center rack in your oven and roast. Chickpeas will be done at 30 minutes and the squash and veggies will be done after 45-55 minutes. When squash is tender and can be removed from the skin easily with a spoon it’s good to go!
While your veggies roast, combine spicy chickpea seasoning in a small bowl: paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, cumin, black pepper. Set aside and once chickpeas are done roasting, sprinkle with the seasoning blend, mix ’em up, and set aside. They will crisp up more as they cool!
In a medium-large pot, melt 2 TBSP butter over medium heat. For extra flavor, let’s brown the butter first to add some nutty flavor to our soup! Let your butter melt untouched, then once it starts to simmer and brown, add minced garlic and whisk constantly until butter is golden and fragrant. Add your vegetable broth, cover, and reduce heat to low.
Once your squash is ready, allow to cool enough t handle, then peel off the skin of the butternut. Alternatively you can scoop the squash out with a spoon.
Working in batches, blend the veggies with the broth in your blender until silky. I was able to add half the veggies and half the broth and get it all blended in 2 batches. Filling blender only 2/3 full is best as hot liquid expands.
Return the soup to your pot and mix well. Add any additional seasoning to taste and feel free to add extras like nutmeg, allspice, cayenne pepper, etc… If skipping the chickpeas (which have a LOT of flavor) you’ll want to add extra seasoning to the soup. Keep covered over lowest heat setting until ready to serve.
Dive in while it’s hot and top soup with seasoned chickpeas and your choice of toppings from the notes below. I like mine with chickpeas, scallions and a teeny drizzle of cream!
Visit Jenn for more topping and spice ideas for your bowl! This might be bookmark worthy – Peas and Crayons
Wishing you a happy, healthy holiday season!!
New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.