Christmas dinner can be as healthy and low-fat as you want it to be. Here are some ways to enjoy some of your traditional favorites while cutting back on fat and calories.
Making Healthy Choices when You're Not the Cook
In case you're at the whim of someone else's cooking, here are some choices you can make to keep your personal dinner more healthy. First of all, choose the white meat of the turkey over the dark meat. There's a lot less fat and thus less calories that way. Use 1 or 2 tablespoons of the gravy, versus pouring it over the whole plate. Other items on the table can add moisture and taste to your turkey. Try putting some of the cranberry sauce over the turkey, soaking up some left over salad dressing with it or mixing the mashed potatoes with it.
If there's a choice between mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, take the sweet potatoes. Mashed potatoes are usually cooked with a lot of butter. Even if the sweet potatoes are topped with marshmallows, you can eat around them. Choose between one type of potato and bread. Avoiding double starches can keep your meal more healthy. Start off with more veggies to get a little full before going for the more high calorie items. Have a small piece of pie with no whipped cream, and you'd be surprised how many calories you've saved.
Turkey is a much better meat choice than ham and can be cooked in a healthy way. Use high quality olive oil or low fat butter. You can cut down on oil by replacing some of it with lemon juice, vegetable stock or even a little water to keep it moist. Use herbs to cut down on the salt.
Stuffing can be made lower-fat, but still retain its taste and moisture. You can use lemon juice or vegetable stock to cut down on the oil or butter. A low-fat butter is also an option. You can also use low-fat chicken sausage instead of pork sausage. You could even skip the meat altogether, and use the meatier mushrooms or extra vegetables.
There are several ways to make gravy tasty but less fattening. Strain the fat from the drippings and use less flour or cornstarch as a thickener. Vegetable gums or other pureed vegetables can thicken the gravy with fewer calories, carbs and fat. You can also just let the gravy reduce down to a thicker version. Low fat sour cream can also work.
Healthy Mashed Potatoes
You can use low fat butter and low-fat sour cream and still have very indulgent mashed potatoes. Using broth or pureed white cabbage can add moistness and thickness.
Vegetables and salad are an important aspect of keeping your holiday meal healthy. They help you fill up and give you fiber and vitamins. Avoid adding extra butter or cheesy sauces to the vegetables. There's enough rich food for one meal in the other dishes. You can do a lovely and unusual veggie mix. Use lemon juice or broth and add some raw walnuts for a nice Christmas dinner treat.