At your average Christmas dinner, the typical person consumes three times the daily recommended number of calories. But you can have a delicious, satisfying Christmas without going overboard. With these healthy Christmas recipes, you’ll boost your immune system, cut back on excess calories, fat, and sodium, and celebrate the holidays while also celebrating your wellness.
1. Smoked Paprika Roasted Potatoes
The typical bowl of mashed potatoes is usually very high in saturated fat and salt, which spells trouble for your waistline and your immune system. Yet potatoes themselves, when they’re not heavily processed and smothered in cream and butter, are quite healthy. For example, they’re very high in immunity-enhancing vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese. Plus, potatoes are high in antioxidants, carotenoids, and phenolic acids that help prevent chronic diseases.
This Christmas dish makes the perfect accompaniment to your turkey or ham. The potatoes are crispy and decadent, and the smoked paprika adds a meaty, smoky flavor without relying too heavily on salt-based seasonings.
2 1/2 lbs mini potatoes, cut into halves quarters
6 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is heating up, boil a pot of water. Add the potatoes and simmer for five minutes. Drain and set aside the potatoes to cool.
Heat a frying pan with the olive oil, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Add the potatoes and stir well. Fry until the potatoes start to brown on the edges, then pour all the contents of the frying pan into a roasting dish and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, flipping the potatoes once halfway through the roasting process.
2. Sweet and Spicy Green Beans
Green bean casserole is a Christmas meal staple for many Americans since the 1950s. It’s typically made with canned cream of mushroom soup topped with french fried onions. Unfortunately, that means the dish is often very high in saturated fat, trans fats, calories, and salt. If you want a healthy Christmas, try this different take instead.
These sweet and spicy green beans have a deep flavor profile, and pair well with all other Christmas dishes. The sweetness is cut with a hint of spice, and the spice actually can help boost your metabolism and help you burn excess calories while you indulge!
3/4 lbs fresh green beans, trimmed
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp garlic chili sauce
1 tsp honey (ideally local and organic)
2 tsp canola oil
Steam the green beans for four minutes in a steamer basket until the beans are tender yet still firm.
While the beans are steaming, combine the rest of the ingredients and whisk well.
Pour the sauce into a frying pan on medium heat and add the steamed beans. Fry for five minutes or until most of the sauce has evaporated. Enjoy!
3. Savory Cream Cheese-Stuffed Mushrooms
Mushrooms are a powerhouse of nutrition, full of medicinal properties that have been shown to do everything from increasing your white blood cell count to reducing chronic inflammation. But you won’t even think about that as you enjoy this savory, juicy dish that hits all the right notes of umami flavors and creamy textures. It’s ideal as an appetizer, or even as a main dish for anyone in your party who is vegetarian but still wants a smoky, meaty dish.
30 (approximately) crimini mushrooms, de-stemmed and hollowed out
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 c panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
4 oz low-fat cream cheese
2 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
1 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
1/4 c parmesan cheese
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a baking sheet with a paper towel dipped in olive oil.
While your oven is heating up, wash the mushrooms and pull the stems out of each crimini mushroom.
Chop the removed stems, then combine with the garlic, salt, and pepper in a frying pan and sautee the mushroom stems until they’re soft. Add the breadcrumbs, plus the cream cheese and herbs. Turn off the stovetop and mix well.
Place the mushrooms on the baking sheet, hollow side facing up. Stuff with the sauteed mixture, then sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake for 20 minutes or until tender, and enjoy warm!