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Healthy Christmas Meal Ideas

Updated on April 6, 2013

Make Your Christmas Meal Healthy and Hearty

Christmas dinner can be a time to indulge in wonderful food, family and friends. But if you're looking to avoid the extra pound that most Americans put on every holiday season (and often keep on for years, according to the National Institutes of Health), healthy Christmas meal ideas can help you enjoy your food without the guilt. These healthy Christmas dinner recipes can help you cut the fat and calories of traditional dishes like mashed potatoes and gravy so you can eat, drink and be merry.

Photo credit:Kevin Dooley

healthy christmas meal ideas - turkey
healthy christmas meal ideas - turkey

Roasted Rosemary Turkey

Healthier than ham

Ham or turkey? At Christmas, both meats are favorites, but if you have to make a choice, choose turkey. It has less fat (if you skip the skin) and less sodium than ham. Here's a recipe for a great Christmas turkey.

Ingredients

3/4 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 (12 pound) whole turkey

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325

2. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, basil, Italian seasoning, black pepper and salt. Set aside. Wash the turkey inside and out; pat dry.

3. Remove any large fat deposits. Loosen the skin from the breast. This is done by slowly working your fingers between the breast and the skin. Work

it loose to the end of the drumstick, being careful not to tear the skin.

4. Using your hand spread a generous amount of the rosemary mixture under the breast skin and down the thigh and leg. Rub the remainder of the rosemary mixture over the outside of the breast. Use toothpicks to seal skin over any exposed breast meat.

5. Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan. Add about 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the pan.

6. Roast in the preheated oven 3 to 4 hours, or until the internal temperature of the bird reaches 180 degrees

Photo credit: foodistablog

healthy christmas meal ideas - red potatoes
healthy christmas meal ideas - red potatoes

Healthy Red Potatoes

Healthier than mashed potatoes

For many of us, Christmas dinner just wouldn't be the same without potatoes to accompany the turkey. But the extra calories you'll get in the butter and milk used to whip the potatoes and the gravy you put on top can add up. If you're looking for healthier spuds, try this recipe for red potatoes with parsley and thyme.

Ingredients

- 8 large red potatoes

- 2 Tb extra virgin olive oil

- 1/2 tsp salt

- 1/4 tsp black pepper

- 1 Tb chopped fresh parsley leaves

- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice potatoes into thin pieces, but don't cut all the way through, so the potatoes look a bit like an accordion. Put the potatoes in a microwave-safe glass baking dish and cover. Cook on high for 12 to 14 minutes or until the potatoes are easy to pierce with a fork. Remove the potatoes from the microwave and drizzle olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Then place the dish in the oven and roast for 25 minutes or until brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle with herbs.

Photo credit: foodiesathome

healthy christmas meal ideas - green beans
healthy christmas meal ideas - green beans

Green Beans with Pine Nuts and Tomatoes

Nuts add protein and Omega-3 fatty acids to this healthy Christmas dish

It's not difficult to come up with healthy Christmas meal ideas when it comes to fruits and vegetables. There are many great recipes for healthy meals. This one adds tomatoes and pine nuts to green beans, so you get protein and Omega-3 fatty acids in a dish that is already festive from the red and green tomatoes and green beans.

Ingredients

- 1-1/4 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and rinsed

- 2 tablespoons olive oil

- 2 large shallots (or one small onion,) peeled, halved and thinly sliced

- 3 tablespoons pine nuts

- 1-1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

Directions

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the beans and cook for about 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain beans and immediately immerse in cold water to instantly stop cooking. Drain in a colandar then gently pat dry. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until golden brown. Add pine nuts and cook for about 3 minutes. In a medium sized serving bowl, add the beans, tomatoes, shallots and pine nuts then gently toss until combined then serve.

Photo credit: Digital Sextant

healthy christmas meal ideas - baked apples
healthy christmas meal ideas - baked apples

Baked Apples

Fewer calories than apple pie and no crust

Pies are a traditional Christmas dessert, and many people enjoy apple pie after their meal. Here's a healthier alternative that will still appeal to your sweet tooth.

Ingredients

- 6 apples (peeled and sliced)

- 1/2 cup white sugar

- 3 Tb flour

- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

- 1/4 tsp ground cloves

- 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries

- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

- 1/2 cup whole milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 2-quart casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Mix together flour, sugar, and spices in a large bowl. Add apples and stir until they're evenly coated with the spice mixture. Add raisins/cranberries and walnuts and stir. Spoon into the casserole dish and pour milk evenly over the apples. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until bubbly. Cool slightly before serving.

Photo credit: Scotdog

Healthy Christmas Meal Ideas

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Love the meal ideas, especially that they are healthy choices. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 4 years ago

      Wow, these really look like great recipes. I'll bookmark this for the holidays. Thanks for thr recipes.

    • PaulWinter profile image

      PaulWinter 4 years ago

      Great healthy Christmas meal ideas. i need to eat healthily at Christmas but never do!

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 5 years ago

      It's never too early to start making your Christmas meal list. Fantastic lens! Sundae ;-)