The holidays means family, festivities, and food — lots of food! Though keeping calories in check can be a challenge, these five diet-friendly holiday dishes will put a smile on all of your dinner guests’ faces.

1. Lemon-Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan Cheese

Packed with fiber and antioxidants, Asparagus is also tasty, especially when it has lemon and parmesan cheese to bring out its flavor. This dish a real crowd pleaser, indeed.

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches asparagus (ends removed)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1/2 ounce shredded parmesan

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425°
  • Toss asparagus with olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a roasting pan
  • Roast mixture for 1/2 hour, tossing occasionally
  • Drizzle lemon juice over the asparagus to taste
  • Top asparagus with parmesan cheese

2. Butter-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

This recipe is healthy, light in calories, and full of flavor (thanks to the pecans and butter). Yet each serving is only 100 calories.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, halved
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Directions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil
  • Add Brussels sprouts
  • Boil 5 minutes
  • Drain Brussels sprouts
  • Transfer to a serving bowl
  • melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat
  • Add pecans
  • Cook mixture until the butter is golden brown
  • Remove from heat
  • Add lemon juice
  • Pour pecans and butter over Brussels sprouts
  • Serve

3. Apple-Cinnamon Bread Pudding

This warm and hearty dish is surprisingly low in calories but not in flavor.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 slices whole wheat bread, lightly toasted
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

DesktopCopy-CS-1_lkefeh

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325°
  • Mist baking dish with cooking spray
  • Combine the melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl
  • Drizzle 2 teaspoons of butter mixture over each slice of bread
  • Spread mixture to the slices’ edges
  • Cut bread slices into small cubes
  • Transfer bread slices to baking dish
  • Combine eggs, milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and salt in a second bowl
  • Pour mixture over bread
  • Allow to rest 15 minutes
  • Stir in apple cubes
  • Mix granulated sugar with cinnamon
  • Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over pudding
  • Place baking dish in a large roasting pan
  • Fill roasting pan halfway with water
  • Bake pudding 30 minutes
  • Let cool before serving

4. Cheddar Corn Bread

This dish might be deceptively rich in flavor but it relatively poor in calories, having only 125 per serving.

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 egg whites, beaten
  • 1/3 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425 °
  • Coat two 8-inch round cake pans in cooking spray
  • Mix buttermilk, oil, and egg whites until combined
  • Combine dry ingredients together
  • Add wet ingredients to the dry
  • Combine wet and dry until mixture is smooth
  • Distribute batter evenly between the pans
  • Sprinkle batter with cheddar and scallions

5. Tomato Dip

This dip works perfect as a creamy, rich appetizer. Yet each serving has only 125 calories and 5 grams of fat. You will need a food processor.

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons light cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup light cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • 4 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 bag baked potato chips

Directions

  • Combine cottage cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, cream cheese, lemon juice, garlic powder, and hot sauce in food processor
  • Pulse until smooth
  • Add buttermilk until desired consistency has been reached
  • Scrape mixture into bowl
  • Serve with chips

Smart holiday dining

The holidays are here, and with them come lots of high-calorie meals. If you fear that your figure’s in danger, fear not. There are healthy holiday dishes that are low in calories and rich in nutrients. Best of all, their delicious taste is sure to please you.

References

  1. "40 Easy, Elegant Recipes for Christmas Dinner," Real Simple, December 16, 2016.
  2. "Healthy Christmas Holiday Recipes," Eating Well, September 21, 2017.
  3. "Healthy Holiday Recipes," Food Network, November 20, 2014.
  4. "No-Fail Holiday Dishes," Cooking Light, November 11, 2013.

christmas | cooking | Food | how-to | recipes | Thanksgiving