How to Prepare Healthy Holiday-Inspired Meals that Still Taste Great

holiday-inspired meals

The holidays can be tricky to navigate when you’re trying to eat healthy. Most people find the heavy meat dishes, surplus of wine and delicious desserts too mouth-watering to resist. With all the Christmas parties and family meals, a cheat day can easily turn into a cheat week, and then all of a sudden your jeans are feeling a little too tight.

Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us over the holiday season. However, you can approach the holidays in a more calorie conscious way. Here are some recommendations on how to manage those holiday cravings and overindulgence.

  1. Incorporate more fish into your holiday dishes instead of turning to meat. It’s is a healthy alternative and a much leaner protein compared to the traditional ham or prime rib.
  2. Swap butter for olive oil, as it’s a great alternative with less saturated fat. Plus, it’s safe to eat for any vegans in attendance.
  3. Have a light snack before a big party. You’re guaranteed to overeat if you walk up to a buffet while starving.
  4. Make a conscious effort to focus on what you are eating and eat slowly. Many people tend to talk and eat at holiday parties and they don’t notice what they are putting in their mouth with all the multitasking going on.

Holiday Recipe Guide

To help you out with our first two suggestions, we’ve put together a recipe roundup of pescetarian dishes that are both healthy and delicious. If your family isn’t too keen on the “fishy” kind of seafood, a mild fish like Tilapia is the perfect choice.

  1. This Salt-Baked Whole Fish recipe by Food & Wine is an easy meal to prepare and a much healthier alternative to your usual Christmas dinner roast beef (and it also doesn’t take the whole day to cook). Salt-baking fish seals in moisture and gives it a wonderful taste. Use any lean, white fish to make this dish—Tilapia is a great and affordable option when you’re feeding the whole family.
  2. Give this Smoked Salmon Tartare With Potato Chip Canapés by Serious Eats a try for any Hanukkah party. These canapés offer a fun bite-size salmon dish by placing fromage blanc and a salmon tartare on top of a fried potato chip. Because fried food is a Hanukkah tradition—due to the significance of oil burning throughout the holiday—this is a perfect treat.
  3. This 30-minute Baked Cod With Scallions and Olives recipe by Cooking with Nonna is an easy oven-baked dish that doesn’t require a ton of effort. It’s also easy to swap the cod out for Tilapia. If you’re feeding the whole family, you can easily load a whole pan up with enough fish for everyone. Just be sure to extend the cooking time if you make extra servings.
  4. These luscious Scallops With Yogurt and Fennel by Food & Wine are accompanied by a yogurt dip that acts as a super healthy alternative to the usual butter sauce. This is the perfect dish to serve on Christmas Eve before you get into the heavy yet obligatory day-of meal.

Preparing for a healthier version of the holidays can be hard, but try any of our favorite holiday fish dishes and party tips and we’re sure you can make it through.

Looking for more advice? Check out How To Eat Healthy At A Holiday Buffet if you’re still feeling stuck on what to do before a holiday party.

Photo Credits: Dragon Images / Shutterstock Inc., gkrphoto / Shutterstock Inc., Food and Wine