Three (Healthy) Sides for Your Christmas Dinner

Christmas Plate.jpg

While the term Thanksgiving dinner might be code for “turkey, stuffing and gravy”, Christmas Dinner is usually anything but the big bird on a platter.  Prime rib, pork roast and ham are a few of the offerings I’ve heard people say they are serving this holiday season.  But what about sides to go with those mains? Typically side dishes are what do the most damage to our healthy eating holiday plan.  Many are filled with cheese, cream, butter and other sources of unhealthy fats and calories.  If you’re looking to ‘healthy up’ your sides and not give up flavor or a festive look, then read on for a few of my suggestions (and links to the recipes).

Before we get to dinner, I have to make a quick stop for an appetizer. Appetizers with less guilt are a great way to start your evening.  Choose endive leaves as a base for transporting a yummy spread like honey drizzled goat cheese. Goat cheese is easier to digest than cow’s cheese and a little goes a long way. Raw honey keeps the nutrients in tact and walnuts offer healthy fat.  Try this recipe: 

Spread herbed goat cheese onto cleaned and separated endive leaves. Sprinkle raw walnut pieces on top and drizzle with raw honey.  Arrange on a platter and serve.

Now, on to dinner and three sides to try:

Pomegranates are in season and their beautiful color adds a festive flair to salads.  Try this one for a healthy ingredient, brightly flavored addition to your meal:  Avocado, Endive, Apple and Pomegranate Salad. (note: some medications react with grapefruit, so if this applies to you, substitute with orange.) 

Who doesn’t love bright green veggies as a side? Elevate your heavy, fat filled green bean casserole to a new level with this side dish: Green Beans with Walnuts and Lemon Vinaigrette. This is always a hit when I serve it!

And if you’re looking for a side dish that fills the comfort food need, this cauliflower dish uses roasted cauliflower to add depth of flavor to a great mash potato substitute.  

Whatever may end up on your table next week, I hope it is the love of family and friends that truly make for a treasured meal.  Thanks to each of you for reading and supporting the Grow in Wellness blog… you are all appreciated! 

Merry (Healthy) Christmas!