Christmas, like Thanksgiving, does not have to cause you to buy bigger jeans this holiday season. While the end of the year is always tempting, with families coming together to enjoy home-cooked meals (and desserts), it does not have to be totally unhealthy. Skip the fried foods, biscuits and gravy and try these healthier food options instead.

Mashed Cauliflower with Garlic and Rosemary


Instead of potatoes, which are carb-laden, cauliflower is one of the vegetables that should be on your Thanksgiving menu. Aside from being a good source of vitamin C, it also protects against cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Cauliflower also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital for normal metabolism, and vitamin K, which plays an important role in bone health. Try this recipe from Nom Eat Nom for Mashed Cauliflower with Garlic and Rosemary. 


1 head cauliflower steamed, 2 to 3 cloves fresh garlic chopped, 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt, 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil, Sea salt, pinch of crushed red pepper, 3 full sprigs of fresh rosemary with stems removed.

Directions: Combine all the ingredients, except the rosemary, into a food processor until smooth.

Add rosemary and pulse several times until it is evenly distributed.

Cranberry Bruschetta


Cranberries are always popular during the fall season, as families use them to make cranberry sauce to add color and flavor to the Thanksgiving table. It is also a popular and nutritious juice. But have you ever eaten cranberries as is? Whole cranberries provide surprising benefits, as they add plenty of flavor and dietary fiber, with only 25 calories in a half-cup serving. Diet. Com offers the perfect food option for a healthy cranberry dish—Cranberry Bruschetta.


2 cups fresh or frozen Cranberries,  1/4 cup, sugar substitute,  3 tbsp, red wine vinegar,  1 red onion, thinly sliced into rings  2 garlic cloves, minced 3 tbsp, minced fresh basil 1 tsp, oregano, 1 8 oz loaf whole grain French bread,  8 tsp. extra virgin olive oil



Combine cranberries, sugar and red wine vinegar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add onion and garlic, return to a boil and reduce heat.


Simmer on low for 10 minutes or until cranberries pop. Pour into a glass bowl. Stir in basil and oregano. Cool at room temperature.


Cut bread diagonally into 16 (3/4-inch) slices; brush both sides with oil. Broil each side for 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown. Top each slice with cranberry mixture.

Slow-Cooked Provençal Beef


If turkey does not excite your pallet, beef is another meat that is popular and can be used for a Christmas dish. While beef sometimes gets a bad rep for its saturated fat, it certainly has health benefits to consider. Nearly half of the fat in beef is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid—the heart-healthy fat found in olive oil. Also, most of the saturated fat in beef actually decreases your chances of heart-disease by either lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, or by reducing your ratio of total cholesterol to HDL (good) cholesterol. Additionally, beef provides high-quality protein and many important nutrients such as iron, zinc, and B vitamins. Try this recipe from EatingWell for Slow-Cooked Provençal Beef Stew.


[GARNI] 2 large green leek leaves, (about 6 inches long), 1 bay leaf, 1 stalk celery, 2 sprigs fresh parsley, with stems, 3 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 2-inch-long strip tangerine or orange peel

[STEW]3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, 2 ounces pancetta, or bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, 3 pounds beef stew meat, such as chuck, trimmed and cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided. 2 medium yellow or red onions, chopped, 3 cloves garlic, chopped, 1 1/2 pounds carrots, sliced into 1-inch rounds, 2 tablespoons tomato paste. 1 pound button mushrooms, halved if small, quartered if large. 1 bottle (750 ml) full-bodied red wine, such as Burgundy or Pinot Noir, 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, Freshly grated zest of 1 tangerine, or orange


1.      Preheat oven to 250°F.

2.      To assemble bouquet garni: Place one leek leaf on the counter. Top with bay leaf, celery stalk, parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs and tangerine (or orange) peel. Place the second leek leaf on top and tie the bundle together in four spots with kitchen string. Set aside.

3.      To prepare stew: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in an ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pancetta (or bacon) and cook until barely brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving any drippings in the pot.

4.      Add beef in batches (do not crowd the pot) and cook until browned on all sides. Transfer to a large bowl and season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

5.      Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pot and add onions and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add carrots and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste. Season with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Transfer the mixture to the bowl with the beef.

6.      Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pot. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; set aside.

7.      Pour wine into the pot and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Return the browned beef, the carrot mixture and the reserved pancetta (or bacon) to the pot along with the bouquet garni. Press down on the beef and vegetables, making sure to submerge them completely in the wine; if necessary, add just enough hot water to make sure they are covered. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the pot and press it directly on top of the stew, covering it completely.

8.      Transfer the stew to the oven and cook, with the lid off, until the beef is tender enough to cut with a fork, about 3 hours. Check every hour to be sure the ingredients stay submerged in liquid during the entire cooking time. If too much wine evaporates, add a little hot water to make up for the loss. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, stir in the reserved mushrooms.

9.      Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Combine chopped parsley and tangerine (or orange) zest in a small bowl and scatter on top of the stew just before serving.