The 79 healthiest traditional Christmas recipes
Each family experiences Christmas differently, but we all associate it with food, food and more food. They are the parties in which we most indulge in the noble art of good food, when we gather around delicacies of all kinds. Is proposing a healthy Christmas to be a little Grinch? Absolutely! Everything can be made compatible.
I am the first to prepare with great enthusiasm the menus for the designated dates, and I think it is worth indulging in special treats. At the end of the day, these are days to celebrate and enjoy, but that does not mean that we have to overdo it without control. It is not necessary to disappoint at the table with "healthy and light dishes", it is possible to make a healthy Christmas with very traditional dishes.
The keys so that Christmas does not weigh us too much
There are tips that seem a bit repetitive and obvious to me, but since human beings are not distinguished by learning from their mistakes, it does not hurt to remember them. Yes, we will eat more and also more caloric things this holidays, but with some control it is possible to reach January without regretting too much.
- Be very careful with snacks and appetizers before the main dishes. At parties we sin to offer too many starters and snacks that add empty calories and take away hunger.
- You also have to control the size of the portions and the number of dishes on the menu. We tend to make the mistake of going over with food, and in the end there is always left over, or we end up stuffed. Let us remember that it is about tasting delicious dishes, not about ending up sausage.
- If you have a sweet tooth, treat yourself but of real quality, which are worth it. Better a selection of top-notch sweets, taking them with control, rather than fussing with trays of polvorones and industrial chocolates of dubious quality. And nothing to always have them at hand, nobody forces us to eat a piece of nougat every time we pass in front of the tray.
- Alcohol is another danger that we can pass ourselves through without realizing it. It is very typical to meet with family and friends before family gatherings, and it is not uncommon for canes, glasses of wine or mixed drinks to parade at almost any time of day, and always with snacks. If possible, at dinners and meals, drink water, even if it is accompanied by the corresponding glass of wine, to balance.
- Sauces must also be watched, sometimes they are very caloric and unnecessarily heavy. Avoid industrial ones as much as possible and always prioritize the homemade.
- In general, it is necessary to ensure that vegetable products are abundant in all dishes, with many vegetables and seasonal vegetables.
- Avoid fried foods; There are many Christmas dishes that do not need batters or take out the fryer.
- It is better to choose fresh and light desserts based on natural fruit, or mild dairy such as natural yogurt. If later we are going to get the Christmas sweets we can even skip the dessert.
- Starving all day to go on an empty stomach for dinner is not a good idea. In addition to altering our normal rhythms, we will arrive with a terrible hunger and we will fall more easily into uncontrolled binges. Fasting to "make up" is not a good plan.
- Maintain a good level of physical activity or take advantage of the holidays to do some more sport. The cities are very beautiful, let's take the opportunity to take long walks after lunch and dinner.
Appetizers and snacks
To whet your appetite while your guests arrive, it is best to offer small bites that do not take away hunger or are excessively caloric. Nothing typical snacks such as chips or dried fruit cocktails, it is much better to buy them natural and offer them roasted by ourselves, flavored with some spices.
The typical crackers and crunchy snacks can be made homemade in a healthy way, for example with chickpea flour and spices. As a base for the typical canapés, toasted homemade bread, whole grain crusty bread Knäckebrot or blinis or crêpes also homemade are good options.
And do not miss a selection of vegetables, which can be canned if we are looking for good quality. National asparagus, piquillo or roasted peppers, artichokes ... Pickles are also good options, keeping an eye on the amount of salt.
A selection of good dishes in teaspoons, glasses or skewers are also colorful appetizers that can be very light, for example mussels with vinaigrette or pickled with homemade cider, prawns with fruit or portions of grilled octopus.
As for the typical dips, creams and spreads, there is a wide variety of healthy recipes that always triumph. Traditional or colored hummus, guacamole, baba ganoush or tzatziki are creams that are very popular and that can be served with raw vegetables. And if we change the pate and foie for a vegetarian version, much better.
Starters and first courses
Stronger and more showy than the pure aperitif, the first dishes that parade around the table can take on too much prominence before the main one. That is why we must prioritize light recipes, which cheer up the stomach without filling it too much, and which are not heavy.
Vegetable or seafood creams and the humble but so comforting broth are great options. Without loading them in excess of fatty dairy and without adding pasta or other caloric ingredients, they tend to feel very good. Also be careful with the garnish, although a decorative touch is always appreciated.
- Warm cream of asparagus with cockles
- Leek cream with crunchy ham
- Christmas consommé
- Roasted cauliflower cream with cumin
- Prawn bisque
- Curried mussel cream with fresh chives
- Crispy red cabbage salad with persimmon and pomegranate
- Grilled chicken salad with endive and pomegranate
- Prawn tartare with avocado and pomegranate
- Prawn cocktail in Sriracha sauce
- Stuffed avocados
Nor can you miss a good salad, showy and full of color, better with seasonal products. There are many options to make a fall-winter salad, we could even bet on "cooked salads", such as roasted vegetables or ratatouille. Let's save the pasta and rice ones for another time, and you don't have to go crazy adding ingredients either.
What does not fail as a first course is the seafood. As traditional as it is healthy, generally low in fat and rich in protein. The key is not to serve it with caloric sauces like mayonnaise, and to control the portions. Isn't it better to distribute a couple of carabinieri per person, instead of taking out an infinite source of frozen prawns? Mollusks are also good options, with light and delicious sauces such as marinera or green.
- Scallop carpaccio with citrus
- Mussels with marinara sauce
- Mussels in scallop sauce
- Mussels with mustard
- Clams in hot sauce
- Clams a la marinera
- Grilled scallops with tomato water with mint and lime
- Prawns in oyster sauce
- Prawns sauteed with spices
Main meat dishes
In many families a meat dish is expected as the center of the menu, and that is not incompatible with a healthy dinner. Although lamb and duck are less advisable because they contain a lot of fat, other typical products such as turkey, chicken or pork tenderloin are lighter pieces and are very rich in protein.
The important thing is to choose lean cuts, to control the portions very much and to choose healthy preparation techniques, without adding extra calories when it is not necessary. For example, roast chicken or turkey is a good and rich option, as long as we do not coat it in fat and do not eat the skin.
To avoid very caloric and heavy sauces, we can accompany pieces such as roast beef with sauces based on vegetables or fruits, which also make a delicious contrast and lighten the palate. We will avoid stuffed with bacon, paté and bread and too many fruits and dried fruits, very caloric if eaten in excess. Puff pastry presentations are not recommended if we want to lighten the menu, and the truth is that they are not necessary if the meat is good.
- Christmas turkey
- Baked chicken
- Baked Chicken Thighs
- Spiced Baked Chicken
- Baked pork tenderloin with claudian plums and citronella
- Pork tenderloin in beer and honey sauce with onions and chestnuts
- Pork tenderloin with grape sauce
- Old-fashioned loin
- Microwave salted tenderloin with orange sauce
- Mustard roasted veal
- Roasted quail with orange glaze
If we don't mind choosing, fish is almost always a better option when a lighter Christmas is our goal. Not so much because it is healthier, it is also that the fish is digested better and is less heavy. White is, of course, less caloric and softer, but it would not be a bad option to invest in a good salmon if we have the opportunity.
Typical Christmas dishes such as hake in seafood sauce or baked, sea bass in salt, baked sea bream or monkfish in green sauce are true delicacies and also very healthy. The key, again, is to serve reasonable portions, not to accompany them with caloric sauces and to ensure that the garnish is light.
- Monkfish in green sauce with clams
- Cod with seafood sauce
- Hake in cava with prawns
- Baked bream
- Hake in green sauce
- Sea bass in salt
- Cod with almond sauce
- Salmon gravlax or Scandinavian style
- Baked salmon with citrus
- Fish and seafood casserole
- Monkfish and seafood zarzuela
To accompany the main dish we will always choose vegetables and greens. Some people prefer to garnish the salad on the menu, a very fresh and totally acceptable option that can be appreciated to refresh the palate. Be careful, yes, with the dressings and possible sauces; a good extra virgin olive oil and little else we will need.
It is preferable to avoid potato garnishes on Christmas menus, because they are also too satiating. There are many dishes based on seasonal vegetables that will surprise the table, which is also easy to give a Christmas touch. Roasted vegetables always taste better than just cooked, or we can get original with a presentation on skewers.
- Sweet potato skewers glazed with orange, miso and honey
- Cumin roasted carrots
- Roasted cauliflower with paprika with dried fruits
- Green beans with grapefruit and nuts
- Brussels sprouts with sage
- Rosemary apple puree
- Baked Glazed Carrots and Radishes
- Roasted pumpkin with kale or kale
- Sweet wine glazed onions
Christmas dessert and sweets
As I said before, it may not be necessary to serve dessert if the menu has been strong and then Christmas sweets await us. In my house, in fact, there is no dessert on Christmas Eve, since that is when we inaugurate the nougat tablet and I give permission to open my homemade cookies.
In any case, the sweet allows us to get more creative because there is not really a typical Christmas dessert of Christmas Eve or Christmas. A simple fruit salad well presented, or a showy fruit carpaccio, will be appreciated at the table. There are also more elaborate recipes with which to put the finishing touch to dinner or lunch without damaging the stomachs of the guests.
As for the typical sweets, we must assume that they are caloric, very sugary and many with a lot of fat. We should not be martyred if we know how to control ourselves, but we can choose those that are nutritionally more recommended. The hard almond nougat is one of the best options, since a large part of its calories comes from the dried fruit, despite the fact that it contains a lot of sugar.
If we make homemade sweets we can better control the ingredients and lighten them to our liking. For example, healthy homemade truffles with good dark chocolate, the Roscón de Reyes without filling, polvorones with oil instead of butter, traditional sweets based on nuts, etc. Better to avoid pralines with questionable fillings and poor-quality supermarket ice creams.
- Pineapple carpaccio with vanilla, coconut, lime and pomegranate
- Yogurt cream with mango and lime puree
- Chia pudding and chocolate with yogurt
- Chocolate balls with apricot and orange
- Red fruit and yogurt ice cream without a refrigerator
- Greek yogurt cream with raspberries
- Chocolate, avocado and banana cream with dates
- Caramelised mango with spiced rum
- Simple mango and raspberry millefeuille
- Vegan fluffy chocolate mousse
- Vegan chocolate truffles
- Roasted apples
You can enjoy an irresistible and healthy Christmas at the same time, without giving up our favorite traditional dishes. You just have to use your head a little, control the quantities and choose the recipes that by themselves are healthier and lighter. There is also nothing wrong with indulging in a few whims, as long as they provide us with good nutrients and not mere empty calories.
Remember that not only calories are important, and when we talk about "healthy Christmas" we are not just referring to not gaining a few kilos. Let's fill our tables with real food, with good products and homemade preparations without too many artifice, prioritizing the raw material and forgetting about eating for eating. We will enjoy much more and the body will thank us.