A Healthy Christmas Eve Menu – Grain-free, Gluten-free

My Bariatric Life Health Guide
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    Whether you are entertaining a crowd or spending the holiday as a couple, one of the highlights of the season will be the Christmas Eve supper. It is a time to gather together and feast the joyous celebration of our love and companionship for one another.

     

    Holiday recipes need not be “bad” for your health. In fact, a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that holiday weight gain is not lost over the course of the year. Therefore, our goal should be to maintain our weight and not gain during the holidays. Try healthy adaptations of your favorite recipes and go into the coming year in good health.

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    My Bariatric Life’s Christmas Eve Menu

     

    I focus on traditional holiday recipes, freshly made, that take advantage of what is locally in season. During the Victorian Era, greenery and fruits were brought inside to whisk away the mid-winter doldrums. In my cold-weather region, fresh fruit would have been hard to come by, so the Victorians enjoyed dried fruits and nuts. In keeping with this tradition, for the appetizer course, I am serving a platter of dried fruits and cinnamon-toasted almonds alongside goat cheese from my local dairy farm.

     

    Health benefits: With only 80 calories and 6g of fat per ounce, goat cheese is lower in fat and calories than cheese made from cow’s milk. Dried fruit and cinnamon-toasted almonds provide fiber and healthy fats that will satisfy your desire for sweetness and stave off hunger.

     

    The centerpiece of the main meal is a Balsamic Roasted Turkey recipe from Elena’s Pantry -- one of my favorite recipe developers. I skip the apple stuffing that Elena uses in her recipe and instead use a stuffing idea from Rachael Ray. I’ve used Rachel’s method of stuffing a freshly made herb paste under the skin of the turkey for many years now. It makes for the most delicious turkey I have ever served my family. In fact, I never make turkey without it.

     

    Health benefits: Balsamic vinegar and the herb paste make a moist turkey without all the added fat of basting the bird in butter or the high sodium content of brining the bird.

     

    My favorite part of the feast are the side dishes. I make a lot of sides and eat a little nibble of each for an explosion of culinary tastes on my tongue! I love Urban Poser’s French Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots, a far tastier and healthier adaption of the Campbell’s Soup classic dish.

     

    Full of vitamins and flavor, roasted root vegetables are a dinner staple in my home during fall and winter. In keeping with the use of balsamic on the turkey, I will adapt Isabelle Boucher’s recipe for Balsamic Roasted Carrots to include root veggies such as Brussels sprouts, onions, parsnips, turnips, beets, and white sweet potato. My very favorite winter green is kale, and NomNom Paleo’s recipe for Quick and Simple Stir-Fried Kale with Bacon showcases the vegetable, although I will use turkey bacon in my version. My husband’s favorite cauliflower dish is Olive Oil, Garlic & Romano Cheese Mashed Cauliflower from Faithfulness Farms, and it’s a great dish to serve in lieu of mashed potatoes. For gravy, I either will make Brittany Angel’s World’s Best Paleo Gravy or none at all because the turkey is so good that it really doesn’t need it.

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    Rounding out the feast will be dessert. Fresh cut honeydew melon and cantaloupe (and whatever fresh fruit tickles my fancy) served with a dipping Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Fondue from Cavegirl Cuisine.

     

    Health benefit: Dark chocolate (but not milk chocolate or white chocolate) is a potent antioxident according to The Journal of the American Medical Association. And one teaspoon of almond butter provides 25 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin E, which protects you from oxidative damage.

     

    For more healthy adaptations of your favorite recipes, read my articles 25 Recipes for a Grain-free Thanksgiving and 35 Spectacular Grain-free Thanksgiving Sides. These recipes work quite nicely as side dishes for your Christmas feast! Also check out my Borne Appétit! recipe collection on Pinterest for more healthy holiday dishes.

     

    Living life well-fed, 

    My Bariatric Life 

     

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Published On: December 17, 2013