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We recently analyzed the typical menu for holiday meals and it came in at over 3,800 calories. Both of these menus have it all: flavor, comfort foods and they're guaranteed to fill you up. The Traditional Menu is only 941 calories (and that's if you eat FULL servings of everything) and the Non-Traditional is 903 calories. More calories than one might want for dinner, but hey, you've been good, right? There are times to splurge.
Maple Sage Turkey Breast - 198 calories per serving
The nutrition information for this recipe includes the skin. Most nutritionists will tell you to not eat chicken or turkey skin because that's where all the fat is. Dr. Gourmet recipes that use chicken follow this guideline, but this recipe is really designed for special occasions. Eat the skin if you like because holidays are the time to splurge and roast turkey is the perfect comfort food to splurge on.
Mashed Yams - 188 calories per serving
This is the perfect recipe to substitute for mashed potatoes. The same creamy mashed potato dish that's so comforting with the twist of added flavor. And the added benefit of more fiber!
Holiday Gravy - 77 calories per serving
Stirring the spread and flour together carefully is the key to this recipe and many that require a roux. By using less fat the flour can clump together, but whisking the liquid into the roux slowly works great. Rich creamy gravy for your Mashed Yams!
Cornbread Dressing - 142 calories per serving
This is a wonderful dressing and was an Ask Dr. Gourmet request. The combination of the sweet veggies, the umami flavor of the mushrooms and the herbs make for a great side dish.
Candied Carrots - 96 calories per serving
Most candied carrots recipes are way too sweet and the amount of brown sugar or molasses or maple syrup masks the flavor of the carrots. The combination of the light spread and a small amount of maple syrup with the salt balances nicely with the natural sweetness of the carrots.
Green Beans Almondine - 87 calories per serving
Green beans are a legume and there's no doubt that they are good for you. There's a lot of Vitamin C but look at that fiber. That's as much as 2 slices of some whole wheat breads and this has about a third of the calories.
Holiday Panna Cotta with Chocolate Cranberry Sauce - 153 calories per serving
Panna cotta is Italian for cooked cream and often served at the holidays. It is a tradition throughout other Mediterranean countries as well. The nutmeg gives this recipe a warm, holiday feel.
Holiday meal for smaller dinners. If you are trying to put together a menu that serves fewer guests and is simple to prepare and serve, look no further.
Roasted Yam Soup with Bacon Bits - 1/2 serving as an appetizer: 171 calories
Yams make for the perfect base of a hearty soup. You'd never know that they're good for you and the bacon and sage gives this a rich savory flavor. Serve with a side salad for a complete meal.
Rosemary Turkey Skewers - 184 calories per serving
These skewers are perfect for a weeknight meal. They take about 10 minutes to prep and will keep for about 48 hours marinating in the refrigerator. After that they only take about 15 minutes to cook.
Cranberry Glaze - 63 calories per serving
This sauce is great served over turkey or roast pork for your holiday meal, but you don't have to wait for the holidays to have cranberry sauce.
Wild Rice with Cranberries - 251 calories per serving
This is the perfect recipe for holiday meals. The savory mushrooms and wild rice combine with the sweet cranberries to hit all the taste buds. Serve this with holiday turkey or roast pork tenderloin.
Maple Sage Carrots - 103 calories per serving
The little baby carrots are not really baby carrots. They're grown up carrots that are cut to look like baby carrots. They are a little more expensive, but it makes it easier because you don't have to prep them.
Peppermint Crème Brûlée - 161 calories per serving
This lightly scented peppermint version of the classic Crème Brûlée is really spectacular. It is a lot easier to make than you ever thought and the mint gives it a festive feel. A perfect dessert for your holiday get-togethers.
Timothy S. Harlan, M.D.
December 20, 2010