Healthier holiday menus

Posted by Jen: 

I’ve finalized our menus for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and am pleased with how I’ve managed to work in more healthy foods than in the past:

Christmas Eve – Dinner with friends (followed by a viewing of the original “Grinch”)

  • homemade pizzas – I bought the pizza dough from Whole Foods, but will make the sauce myself.  All of the herbs are from my garden — basil I pureed and froze this summer and oregano that’s still going strong.
  • salads
  • dessert*

Christmas Day – lunch with extended family

  • appetizers – a platter of cheeses, crackers, roasted almonds, grapes, etc.
  • winter salad – greens, chopped apples, toasted walnuts, bleu cheese, a drizzling of vinaigrette
  • soup – Tuscan bean (homemade chicken broth, cannellini beans, spinach, onions, garlic, etc.)
  • mini hot sandwiches – ham and cheese on wheat, cut into smaller sizes
  • dessert*

Christmas Day – dinner with just the four of us

  • grilled steak
  • steamed broccoli and carrots
  • mashed potatoes
  • dessert*

*Christmas  Desserts

  • Buche de Noel – I described this recipe in an earlier post
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake – Using pumpkin that I cooked, pureed, and froze this fall.  I substitute low-fat cream cheese for the full-fat version but otherwise have not tampered with the recipe.

So what I’ve done is worked in more vegetables than usual and cut back on some of the unhealthy/less healthy foods that are normally served on people’s holiday tables.  I also tend to use the freshest organic ingredients and I’m trying to eat more seasonally, which is why our salads won’t have tomatoes, peppers, carrots, etc.  Obviously, since I’m serving grapes with the appetizers, I’m not there yet, but I’m trying harder than in the past.

I’ve cooked Christmas lunch for my extended family for years, but always found the menu to be a challenge.  Obviously, Christmas lunch needs to be a little nicer than usual, but the fact is that traditional Christmas foods (turkey, roast beef, etc.) are too heavy for lunch and we’d all be in a food coma an hour later.  A few years ago, my husband and I finally decided to go with soup and hot sandwiches.  He makes the sandwiches but then cuts them into quarters and removes the crusts, so that they’re smaller.

As for myself, I’ll be managing my portion sizes very carefully.  I’ll balance my foods toward the vegetables, of course, but plan to have a LITTLE of everything.

So that’s what we’ll be eating in Jenworld.  How about the rest of you?  What do you normally serve for your Christmas meals and are you making any changes this year to reflect the healthier you?

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5 responses to “Healthier holiday menus

  1. Oh my…I haven’t even begun to plan that aspect of our holidays. Must..get…healthy…must…meal plan.

    Or…I may just steal yours – looks fabulous!

  2. Most of the holiday menus are out of my control (in-laws, grands and other extended family parties), except for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. We do soups and breads at the party we have at my home on Christmas Eve, it is a snap to lean everything toward the veeeery healthy side! Christmas morning is fresh cracked wheat and freshly milled, whole wheat buttermilk waffles. We have fed the kids foods with at least 1/2 whole wheat for so long that they think white flour stuff tastes weird. I will also be cooking bacon, but one piece of that should do me.

    For your pizza, try the Hormel brand turkey pepperoni, is 70% less fat. tastes better, and doesn’t leave icky puddles of grease all over your pizza. A serving of seventeen slices is 70 calories, or two Weight Watchers points. Perhaps is not the most organic of food items (does have nitrates) but the kids love it, and you can feel a LITTLE better about eating it! Tastes great on sandwiches too!

  3. I haven’t really started to plan yet but we’ll be eating at the in-laws for all of them. I better get on the ball and come up with a game plan. Yours sounds really good. I love homemade pizza.

  4. Your plan does look fabulous. You’re so organized. I’m so . . . feeling frantic and frenzied with the Christmas busyness. About this time each year, I began to be a wee bit wistful for normal life. Just a little.

    I plan to eat the things I like but smaller portions of them. I’ve actually lost three pounds this month, which I’m both thrilled and a bit shocked by. I’ve done well so far. The problems are going to be eating for lots of other reasons besides hunger, that’s what I have to watch out for.

  5. I am so impressed. My sisters and I were just laughing today about how bad we are at planning meals ahead of time. I hope they were all as yummy as they sounded.

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