The holiday season can bring good tidings and cheer, but it can also bring an abundance of delicious temptations that can make it difficult to stay conscientious of your eating habits. Holiday parties and family get-togethers can quickly add up in calories and carbohydrates. Here are some festive recipes that will keep your holiday spirit up, your tastebuds satisfied, and your body healthy.
The most important factor to consider when striving to be health-conscious during the holidays is balance. No matter what kind of tasty hors d’oeuvres you encounter, you can still strike a balance of portions and macronutrients on your plate. Macronutrients refer to the major categories on the food pyramid, such as proteins, carbs, and fats. To balance your portions, try to stick to low-fat meats, one serving of a starch, and veggies for an ideal mix. It is also good to be mindful of sugars, and select small portions when it comes to dessert.
To help you out, we at ARcare have made a list of healthy but tasty recipes specially prepared for the holiday season. Not only will they be a big hit at your next party, but your friends and family will also appreciate your mindfulness, as well.
Slow-Roasted Salmon with Cranberry and Nut Crust
The festive colors of this heart-healthy recipe ensure that it will fit in perfectly with your holiday spread. Plus, being such a protein-centric meal makes this a great main course. The healthy fats found in salmon and nuts provide a nice balance, as well.
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup chopped dried cranberries + 2-3 tbsp extra for garnish
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ⅓ cup chopped parsley + extra for garnish
- 2-3 tbsp finely chopped thyme leaves
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Zest of 1 orange
- ⅓ cup butter, melted + 2-3 tbsp extra for drizzling
- 3 lbs fresh salmon
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking or oven tray with baking paper.
- In a medium bowl, mix panko breadcrumbs, cranberries, almonds, pine nuts, parsley, thyme, and lemon and orange zest together. Stir in melted butter, and season with salt and pepper.
- Pat salmon dry with paper towels, then place on prepared tray, skin-side-down. Season well with salt, and sprinkle crust mixture evenly on top, pressing down gently to adhere. Drizzle a little more melted butter. Place on a shelf in the middle of the oven, and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until salmon is cooked through, and the crust is golden.
- Garnish with more chopped cranberries and parsley for color. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over.
Herb Roasted Turkey Breast with Root Veggies
This succulent turkey breast is another main dish option that is low in fat and high in taste.
- 3 lb boneless turkey breast, thawed if frozen
- ½ tsp mustard powder
- ½ tsp rosemary
- ½ tsp thyme
- ½ tsp sage
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp ground white pepper
For the Veggies:
- 1 ½ lbs potatoes, cut into 1” chunks
- 1 ½ lbs other vegetables (carrots, beets, radishes, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, etc), cut into 1” chunks
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 Tbsp salted butter, melted
- 1 ½ tsp thyme
- 1 ½ tsp rosemary
- ¾ tsp garlic powder
- ¾ tsp salt
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Place turkey breast on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet with high sides (a roasting pan can be used as well).
- In a small bowl, mix together herbs.
- Spread the mixture under the skin of the breast (directly on the meat,) as evenly as possible.
- Place a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the turkey breast to prevent it from browning too fast and place it into the oven.
- Roast for 1 hour.
For the Veggies:
- In a large bowl, toss the chopped veggies and onion with the melted butter and spices to coat evenly.
- Increase your oven temperature to 400°F.
- Remove the turkey breast from the oven, and remove the top aluminum foil.
- If any drippings have collected in the pan from the turkey, carefully drain them into a heat-proof container using a baster or small ladle.
- Arrange the veggies around the bird, and return the pan to the oven.
- Roast for an additional 20-30 minutes, until the veggies are golden brown and tender.
- The turkey is done when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165°F.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let the turkey rest 5-10 minutes before carving.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Garlic Quinoa
Choosing nutrient-dense sides like this can help you avoid overdoing the starchy side dishes typically paired with holiday entrees. Look for options that have more vegetables as sides, as you can eat many more veggies with a much lower caloric value. For example, an entire cup of cauliflower has only 27 calories. Just ¾ cup of mashed potatoes can have 171 calories, not to mention the additional fat from the butter and cheese that often accompany this heavy side.
- 1 small butternut squash about 3 cups cubed, cut into squares
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- ½ cup dry quinoa
- 1 garlic square
- 3 leaves kale
Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Lay the pre-cut butternut squash flat in a pan, drizzle with coconut oil, top with salt/pepper, and roast for 20-25 minutes. The squash is done when you can pierce easily with a fork.
- While the squash is roasting, cook the quinoa according to directions.
- When the quinoa is close to done (but still hot), mix in the garlic.
- Tear the kale and add it to the quinoa.
- Combine everything into bowls, serve, and enjoy!
Roasted Beets and Carrots with Goat Cheese Dressing
This is another tasty side dish composed primarily of veggies.
- 1 ½ lbs golden beets with tops
- 1 ½ lbs red beets with tops
- 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 large garlic cloves, halved
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 8 oz fresh baby carrots
- 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1 oz soft goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Peel the beets and cut into 1-inch wedges. Discard tough stems and coarsely chop the leaves.
- In a bowl, toss the golden beets with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 2 garlic clove halves, and season with salt and pepper.
- Arrange in one-third of a large ovenproof skillet.
- Repeat with the red beets and then the carrots, using 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 2 garlic halves for each vegetable.
- Set the skillet over high heat and cook without stirring until sizzling.
- Cover the skillet and roast in the oven for about 35 minutes, until tender. Transfer the vegetables to a platter.
- In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and half of the shallot. Season with salt and pepper and whisk in the goat cheese.
- In the skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the remaining shallots, and cook over moderately high heat until softened about 1 minute. Add the chopped beet greens and cook until just wilted about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add half of the goat cheese dressing to the beet greens and toss.
- Add the roasted vegetables and toss once or twice.
- Transfer the salad to a platter and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Serve right away.
Your health this holiday season
Being mindful of your eating over the holiday season can help your overall health, and prevent the dreaded seasonal weight. Talk to your doctor about a healthy weight for you, and for guidance on making proper nutritional choices. The caring and professional team at ARcare would love to partner with you in your healthcare. Give us a call at (866) 550-4719 or schedule an appointment with one of our primary care physicians in Arkansas.