The holidays are my absolute favorite time of year especially when it comes to having those big family dinners all together. It inspires me to see grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters alike all gathered together and getting to eat, share stories and make memories.
With that said, I’m always trying to keep the family on track when it comes to staying healthy. There’s no reason to gorge during the holiday season and spend the rest of the year trying to lose the weight, plus the damage has already been done if you’ve consumed high cholesterol or sugary foods.
I’ve scoured Google as well as Pinterest to bring you the best tried and true recipes to feed your family this holiday season. Not only are these healthier options, but they are just downright delicious as well!
Turkey Vegetable Trays
We all know kids love to play with their food, so why not bring that idea to the table. Encourage your children to eat their vegetables with this fun and easy design idea. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes of veggie prep and you are on your way to a fun and healthy addition to your turkey table! Check out the recipe from my friends at Eating With Food Allergies (http://www.eatingwithfoodallergies.com/turkeyveggieplatter.html).
- Romaine lettuce
- 1 cucumber, sliced
- 1 each red, yellow and green bell pepper, sliced crosswise and cut in half reserving the bottom of the green bell pepper for later
- 20 to 30 baby carrots
- 1 black olive cut in half
- 1 celery stalk cut into thirds (you only need 2)
- Get a large serving plate and cover with the Romaine lettuce leaves
- Place the sliced cucumbers in an oval overlapping each other toward the bottom of the plate
- Add the red bell pepper slices cradling the cucumber slices in a half circle
- Add the yellow bell pepper slices above the red in another half circle
- Finally add the green bell pepper slices above the yellow in a half circle
- Take your carrots and place them vertically above the bell pepper slices
- Place the bottom of the green bell pepper and use as the turkey’s face then place the black olive pieces for eyes and use a slice of the yellow and red bell pepper slices for the beak
- Place toothpicks in the face to hold the creation together
For the Legs: Cut the piece of celery in half lengthwise. On each piece, carefully slice lengthwise from the end of the celery piece to almost the center. Do this twice on each piece. Place the celery in ice water and place in the refrigerator until the ends curl. When curled, nestle the un-curled end under the cucumbers.
Sweet Potato Casserole
I love my sweet potatoes with marshmallows during the holidays, so do my kids and my husband. The way I learned to make this scrumptious side dish was with loads of butter and sugar. Realizing how many calories this family favorite had, I decided to do some research to clean it up. I found the perfect delicious yet still healthy Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole over at Kristine’s Kitchen Blog (http://kristineskitchenblog.com/healthy-slow-cooker-sweet-potato-casserole/).
- 5 medium sweet potatoes scrubbed, peeled and chopped into 1” cubes
- 2 medium apples peeled and chopped into 1”pieces
- ½ cup of water
- ¼ cup of honey
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup 1% milk
- ½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons butter substitute (optional)
- Combine sweet potatoes, apples to the slow cooker
- Add the honey, water, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt on top
- Cover and cook on high for 3 to 3 ½ hours until sweet potatoes are soft
- Pour the mixture into a large glass bowl including any liquid from the crockpot
- Use an electric mixer or hand potato masher until smooth
- Add optional butter substitute and milk, stir until mixed together
- Add chopped pecans on top
Cinnamon Apple Chips
When it comes to dessert at the holidays, I feel like we are all suckers for a big piece of pie or some sort of sweet treat. This year, why not serve a healthy dessert that everyone will love. Plus, it’s healthy and still fills that sugar craving you have after a big hearty meal. Over at Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen (http://www.carriesexperimentalkitchen.com/cinnamon-apple-chips/#_a5y_p=3836336), we have slightly altered the Cinnamon Apple Chips to be made with a sugar substitute making it even that much healthier. You can always add a sugar free caramel to drizzle over the chips to make them that much more decadent, but keeping your family healthy as well
- 4 red apples (preferably McIntosh)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of Ground Cinnamon
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar substitute such as Truvia or Splenda
- Cooking Spray
- Core the apples and then slice into approximately 1/8” thick slices
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit
- In a large bowl combine the apples with the cinnamon and sugar substitute until apples are fully coated on all sides
- Spray a baking sheet with the cooking spray and lay out the apple slices, ensuring they do not overlap one another
- Bake between 2 to 3 hours – the apple chips will appear dry yet soft.
- Remove from oven and allow chips to cool before serving