Have a delicious holiday feast with a healthy twist. Here are a variety options to satisfy your taste buds and impress your guests.
Veggies and Salads
Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration of African heritage and culture that takes place in late December. The week culminates in a delicious feast. In fact, the name Kwanzaa is derived from a Swahili phrase meaning ‘first fruits.’ Sweet potatoes, a staple of African cuisine, are plentiful here in Canada, too’plus, they are loaded with health-boosting vitamin A.
This is a colourful and zesty way to serve potatoes at holiday dinners (and offers more vegetable variety than traditional scalloped potatoes). If you add the potatoes warm to the sautéed vegetables, they’ll absorb the flavours and improve the finished dish. Each serving has 131 calories and 6 grams of fat (1 g saturated fat).
Broccoli, Cranberry and Almond Salad
Usually this dish would contain mayo but this one uses low-fat yogurt instead. Even the kids will love this salad’s sweet taste!
Honey-Roasted Squash with Crumbled Feta and Walnuts
This is a wonderful autumn salad that’s a snap to put together. If I roast the squash a day ahead I can assemble the salad in 10 minutes’the time it takes to warm the squash in a 350°F oven.
Lentil and Cashew Nut Roast
Not only are low-fat lentils richer in protein than many other legumes, but their slightly smoky flavour makes a great base for this tasty nut roast, packed with colourful vegetables and served with a quick tomato sauce.
Traditionally, potato latkes are shallow fried and tend to be a tad greasy. With this recipe the latkes are finished in the oven and require far less oil in the cooking process.
Roasted Cherry Butternut Squash
Rehydrated dried cherries turn simple roasted butternut squash into a special side dish.
For a beautiful presentation, cut the roasted carrots in long pieces and arrange on bed of parsley.
Orange-Maple Sweet Potatoes
Try this method of cooking sweet potatoes and you’ll discover how subtly delicious they are. Here, they are glossed with an orange-maple glaze. Beta carotene and fibre are the sweet potato’s secret weapons against heart disease.
Roast Root Vegetables with Herbs
Use this recipe as a basic guide for roasting single vegetables, such as potatoes or parsnips, as well as for a superb dish of mixed root vegetables. Serve these roast root vegetables with herbs in generous quantities with roast poultry or meat.
Here’s a chef-worthy accompaniment you can do yourself. This vivid three-vegetable mash is based on mashed potatoes tinted and flavoured three different ways’with health-giving sweet potatoes, spinach and beets.
Green Chile Mashed Potatoes
Anaheim peppers are mild and give just a hint of heat when combined with mashed potatoes.
Stuffing and dressing
Dried Fruit & Nut Dressing
This dressing has some crispiness, but if you prefer yours soft, put a cover on it while it’s baking. Any type of mushroom’such as button, shiitake or oyster’will work well.
Wild Blueberry Cornbread Stuffing
Adding fruit to stuffing is a traditional part of the holidays. Wild blueberries offer rich colour and taste’perfect beside favorite herbs like sage and thyme. Whether you stuff the turkey or serve the stuffing alongside, it is an accompaniment that cannot be forgotten.
Smoothies and drinks
Raspberry Mocha Smoothie
This well-rounded smoothie offers a little bit of everything: fruit, protein and even chocolate (for the antioxidants, of course).
Holiday Peppermint Smoothie
Peppermint can reduce headaches and help you feel rejuvenated. And this smoothie makes a tasty alternative to eggnog. Garnish it with a pretty rim of crushed candy cane.
Happy Holidays Smoothie
This energizing cranberry smoothie with a festive looks boosts HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and the cranberries are also a good source of vitamin C’potentially boosting your immune system during cold and flu season. The coconut water hydrates, helping to counter the dry winter air.
Spicy Banana Smoothie
Stuck in the banana-smoothie doldrums? We spiced things up by adding three aromatic, and antioxidant-packed, holiday spices: cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. They give this creamy smoothie a dessert-like appeal.
Chilly-Day Hot Cocoa Mix
This sweet treat is an easy-to-assemble gift for friends and neighbours. Keep some on hand to help warm up after a long day out in the cold winter weather.
Mulled Cider and Cranberry
This recipe brings together the two festive flavours of apples and cranberries into a delicious warm drink.
Combine a can of pumpkin puree, 4 cups vanilla rice milk and a cup of fat-free vanilla frozen yogurt in a blender, adding mace, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. (Add a splash of brandy, if desired.)
Vanilla Chai Latte
Start your chilly morning with a delicious, all-in-one nutritional Vega One Vanilla Chai Latte.
Pumpkin makes for a decadent dessert drink or a healthy breakfast smoothie. Rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C, this squash is also low in calories and high in fibre.
Lower-Fat Pumpkin Pie
This healthier version uses canned pumpkin purée rather than standard pie filling, and fat-free condensed milk rather than heavy cream. Each serving (one slice) has 265 calories and 13 grams of fat (3 g saturated fat).
Noodle Kugel Dessert
Kugel is a traditional Jewish dessert dish served on the Sabbath and festive holidays. This recipe includes nuts and raisins, but you can be creative and add your own favourites, such as bittersweet chocolate chips or dried cherries.
Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies
The smell of gingerbread baking is a welcome sign of the holidays. Here’s a gluten-free version that anyone can enjoy.
This delicious, lightly spiced gingerbread is hard to resist. Enjoy a slice with a cup of tea or try it for dessert, with custard or a little reduced-fat cream or plain yogurt plus, perhaps, a spoonful of fresh apple compote.
Very Fruity Christmas Pudding
Lighter than the traditional pudding, this very fruity Christmas pudding is packed with flavour and soaked in sherry or brandy and orange juice so it’s extra juicy. Served with brandy sauce, it won’t leave you feeling uncomfortably full.
Sticky Date and Walnut Pudding
On a cold winter day, nothing could be more welcoming than a pudding full of dates and toasted walnuts. It is easy to make and has a lovely moist texture. A tangy pineapple and marmalade sauce makes a perfect accompaniment for this sticky date and walnut pudding.
Cocoa-Almond Meringue Cookies
These light, tasty cookies are only 26 calories apiece, making them the perfect sweet treat if you’re watching your waistline. Wrap up a batch in a festive box and you’ll have an easy, homemade holiday surprise.
Candy Bar Cupcakes
Eating a cupcake has never tasted of felt so good, thanks to this trimmer version. They’re a perfect snack to share at your next festive gathering.
Roasted Apple and Sweet Potato Soup with Spiced Walnuts
A harmonious blend of sweet apples, creamy sweet potatoes, savoury spices and hot chillies, this velvety soup is a perfect lunch option on a cold, wintry day. So wholesome is this soup it’s sure to maintain stamina levels for the remainder of the workday.
Roasted Fennel and Potato Soup
If you have never tried fennel soup, you are really missing out on something unique. It’s like a leek and potato soup with a bit more interest and a great silky texture that just begs for a roaring fire on a wintry day.
Creamy Potato and Asparagus Soup
Serve up this potato and asparagus soup as a healthy comfort food for chilly days.
Poultry and beef
Turkey Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Crust
I am such a sucker for shepherd’s pie, but sometimes find that its heavy richness can be a bit much’at least after my third serving. So this recipe uses ground turkey, skim milk and low-fat yogurt, reducing the fat but none of the flavour.
Sage-Brined Turkey Breast
Brining turkey imparts flavour and creates a moist breast. Salt is a necessary part of a brine, so the sodium per serving isn’t low’but everything in moderation, right?
Jeweled Buffet Ham
Cranberry sauce and mandarin oranges make a beautiful, aromatic glaze for cooked ham. This recipe will be a crowd-pleaser.
Golden-Roasted Chicken with Old-Fashioned Stuffing
Always an impressive dish, a whole chicken provides plenty of protein, little saturated fat, and good amounts of B vitamins and zinc.
Snacks and appetizers
Crunchy Vanilla Walnuts
A source of omega-3s and B vitamins, these walnuts are a delicious holiday snack. Pair with a mug of hot chocolate for a soothing, sweet treat.
Crispy Caribbean Veggie Wraps
Filled with a sweet potato mixture, these delicious wraps are great for vegetarians and they’re relatively high in fibre, too. Served with salsa, they’re sure to disappear from appetizer trays fast.
Spiced Pumpkin Tea Bread
Here’s a delicious, richly coloured tea bread that is moist enough to eat without butter. Spiced pumpkin tea bread makes a great addition to a healthy lunchbox, being rich in essential antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.