Healthy Holiday Recipes

The holiday season can be a challenging time of year to stick to a healthy diet. With countless family dinners, office parties and potlucks with friends, the calories can add up quickly and expand our waistline.

According to research from Cornell University, Americans gain an average of 1.3 pounds during the holiday season. The research showed that it took participants more than five months to shed that holiday weight gain.

While you can’t always control the menu at holiday gatherings, you could contribute a healthier option. Below are a few healthy holiday recipes that won’t make you feel like you are missing out by skipping the unhealthy oils, refined sugars and insurgence of sodium.

Lemony Herb Roasted Chicken 

Prep Time: 15 minutes. Cook time: 1 hour and five minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed with press
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1 whole chicken (4 to 5 pounds), patted dry
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of radishes, trimmed, quartered

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In bowl, mash zest, garlic, thyme, 2 tablespoons butter and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper until combined. With fingers, gently separate skin from breast and thighs of chicken. Place butter mixture under skin; spread evenly. Tie drumsticks together and tuck wings behind breast.
  3. Place chicken on rack fitted into medium roasting pan. Arrange onions and radishes around chicken. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter; brush all over chicken, then sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Pour 1/4 cup water into bottom of roasting pan.
  4. Roast chicken 50 minutes. Reset oven temperature to 425°F; roast, checking to make sure water has not completely evaporated (add another 1/4 cup if necessary), 15 to 20 minutes or until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°F.
  5. Let chicken rest at least 15 minutes before carving. Meanwhile, use Roasted Onion & Radishes and any pan juices to prepare Panzanella.

Herb Roasted Potatoes 

Prep time: 10 minutes. Cook time: 45 minutes.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb. baby potatoes
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. finely minced fresh Basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. finely minced fresh Parsley leaves
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • ½ tsp. sea salt, or to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Lemon Herb Olive Oil Mixture:
    • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
    • Zest of ½ of a lemon
    • 1 tsp. finely minced Parsley leaves
    • 1 tsp. finely minced Basil leaves
    • Salt/pepper, to taste

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with non stick baking paper. Set aside.
  2. Make fine slits in each baby potato, but do not cut all the way through.
  3. In a large bowl, combine prepared potatoes with Olive Oil, Basil, Parsley, Garlic, Maple Syrup, Salt and Pepper. Toss to coat well.
  4. Place potatoes, cut sides up, on baking sheet and roast for 20 to 25 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for Lemon Herb Olive Oil in a small bowl.
  6. After 25 minutes of roasting, baste potatoes with half of the Lemon Herb Olive Oil mixture, and then pop back into the oven and continue roasting for another 25 minutes or until potatoes are cooked.
  7. Once cooked, drizzle potatoes with remaining Lemon Herb Olive Oil mixture and serve immediately. Sprinkle with more sea salt if necessary!

Healthier Pumpkin Pie 

Prep time: 15 minutes. Cook time: 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs, from 9 crackers
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1, 15-oz. can pure pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup well-stirred coconut milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • ⅛ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • Whipped cream, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir graham cracker crumbs, sugar and oil until evenly moistened (mixture will be dry).
  3. Press graham cracker mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate.
  4. Bake until golden brown and crisp, 12 to 15 minutes.
  5. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk pumpkin, coconut milk, eggs, brown sugar, salt and spices.
  7. Pour into crust and smooth the top.
  8. Bake until set, except in the center, and the crust is brown, 45 to 60 minutes.
  9. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  10. Slice. Top with a small dollop of whipped cream, if desired.
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