Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners are the two largest meals of the year. Those are the two days when all dietary desires head straight out the window, and we tend to give in to our cravings and food preferences. But it’s not as hard as you’d think to keep these meals healthy. If you’re smart and choose the healthy, low carb side dishes listed below, you can avoid excessive weight gain during the holidays:
Roasted veggies are the perfect first choice for your healthy Thanksgiving/Christmas meals. They’re low in calories and fat, rich in fiber and nutrients, and made wonderfully delicious by the roasting process. Roasted cauliflower, for example, is an amazing source of Vitamin C, folic acid, and B vitamins. Roasted asparagus is a fiber-rich meal. Try to always serve yourself a large portion of roasted veggies before you move on to the rest of the meal.
This classic French dish is a beautiful new option for your special meals. The sliced zucchini and tomato dish makes for a colorful, delicious addition to the veggie side of the dinner. Sprinkle a bit of cheese on top, and you have all the delightful flavor you could ask for. It’s a surprisingly healthy side dish, and one you should try to load up on before you reach for the dinner rolls.
Green Bean Casserole
Green bean casserole is one of those classic Thanksgiving/Christmas dishes. It’s rich, creamy, and loaded with the flavor of butter, cream, and bacon. Definitely not a low-calorie option, but beautifully low in carbs. You’re also eating more veggies, which means you’re consuming fiber that will prevent carbs from being absorbed into your body too quickly. It’s not the healthiest of the side dishes, but it’s far better than candied yams or mashed potatoes!
Cole slaw does tend to have a bit more mayonnaise than you’d consider “healthy”, but you can make your own with a bit of yoghurt, lemon, and spices. Make it with purple cabbage, and you’re delivering your body a LOT of antioxidants. It’s a surprisingly filling side dish that will satisfy your desire for something crunchy.
Pesto is one of everyone’s favorite Italian side dishes. Sadly, it’s made with noodles, meaning it’s incredibly high in carbs. But if you get your hands on a spaghetti squash, you can make a low-carb version that’s just as delicious. You still get to add the basil, garlic, and nut-heavy taste of pesto to your meal, but without overdoing it on the carbs. It’s going to take a bit of getting used to, yet it’s a side dish that your whole family will end up loving.
The very thought of replacing your classic Thanksgiving stuffing with anything but bread may sound sacrilegious. However, using quinoa as the stuffing can be surprisingly delicious. Best of all, quinoa is packed with protein, contains a much broader range of nutrients than bread, and will help to fill you up the healthy way. It does have some carbs, but the high fiber content of quinoa prevents the sugar rush caused by bread. Definitely the healthier alternative—and a tasty one too!
Lasagna Zucchini Boats
This is a side dish guaranteed to be the first to disappear! Simply slice the zucchini in half, scoop out the seeds, and fill the halves with meaty tomato sauce. Slide them into the oven to bake, topped with cheese of course, and you’ve got one heck of a delicious addition to your family dinner. Best of all, it’s low in carbs and highly nutritious!