Healthy Side Dishes For Special Occasions

With the holiday season upon us, weight gain is something you may consider inevitable. However, with a few steps, you can create some really healthy side dishes and enjoy food that won’t end up on your waistline.

In this article, we’ll go over two really healthy side dishes that will be a big hit at any dinner and won’t add that dreaded holiday weight.

Two Healthy Side Dishes For Special Dinners

Artichoke Hearts with Black Olives and Lemon

This is a really delicious dish that doesn’t require much of any kitchen skills whatsoever. If you know how to shop for jarred artichoke hearts, canned olives and a whole lemon, you already know how to make this dish.

It’s low calorie, low carb, low fat, and actually adds monounsaturated fats to your diet.

What you’ll need: 1 large jar of artichoke hearts; 1 can of black olives; 1 lemon; 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil; red pepper flakes; black pepper and salt.

To prepare this dish, drain the hearts and olives in a strainer and throw a medium-sized pan on the stove (frying pan, saucier – something with a wide bottom). Next, put the pan on medium heat and add a few tablespoons of olive oil.

Once the oil has heated up, toss in your artichoke hearts and move them continuously. We’re looking for a little bit of a brown color, but mostly just to heat them through.

Once heated, place in your olives, the remaining olive oil, a teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and squeeze half the lemon over the dish.

That’s it; you’re done! This dish is really tasty, quick, and extremely healthy.

Brussels sprouts with Bacon

I know; you’re probably thinking that bacon isn’t a “healthy” side dish. Well, we’re only going to use three or four slices, and they will be completely drained. Sure, it’s a little added fat, but it’s a healthy dish overall.

What you’ll need: A pound or two of Brussels sprouts; fresh basil; olive oil; bacon; red wine vinegar (or white wine, balsamic, whichever type you like); some garlic and a red onion.

To start this dish, boil a large pot of salted water on the stove. Now, you want to leave your sprouts whole for now and just toss them in. Let them cook for 7-10 minutes (until almost fork tender) before draining them and setting them aside.

While they’re cooking, you can slice up 3 to 4 slices of bacon and render it down over medium heat in a pan. Discard all the fat drippings and drain the bacon on some paper towels and set aside.

After the bacon is cooked, add a few tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and finely chop 2 tablespoons of garlic and half the red onion and add to the pan with a sprinkling of salt. You want to sweat these veggies down until they’re almost translucent. It should take around 5 minutes.

While these veggies are cooking, carefully slice your sprouts in half and put them into an unbuttered, ungreased baking dish.

When your veggies are soft, add in 1/3 cup olive oil and ¼ cup vinegar. Next, take the drained and cooled bacon and crumble it overtop the onion, garlic and oil mixture. Once it’s combined, pour it over the sprouts in the baking dish. Mix it around some so all the sprouts are coated, and then cover and bake for 20 minutes at 350.

This low-fat dish is really healthy and exploding with flavors and textures. It perfectly complements a holiday roast beef and is a guilt-free way to enjoy the holidays.


As you can tell, both of these dishes use olive oil to pack in a lot of flavor. This is a great way to eliminate some bad oils from your diet during the holiday season and to add in some monounsaturated fats.

Take it easy on the salt for these dishes and remember to always eat in moderation, even if it is a healthy dish.

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