The countdown to the winter holidays is on. And if you are signed up to host a holiday meal this year, you’re probably counting attendees and chairs while wondering what to make. Since you’ve made it your mission to be more health-oriented in the new year, you want some great new ideas for holiday recipes that won’t break the bank and won’t stretch the waistline.

We’ve got you covered with 4 healthy holiday recipes perfect for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any family gathering you are planning.

Set yourself up for success with these tricks to go along with your holiday recipes.

Before we share our 4 favorite healthy food recipes for the holidays, let’s talk about strategies that you can take to limit overindulgence in sweets and set yourself up for success this holiday season. By following these recommendations, you’ll not only protect your waistline and your teeth, but you’ll also be looking after your body so you have the stamina to make it through the holiday season!

  1. Drink a full 8 ounces of water before each meal. This will hydrate your body and help you feel more full so that you will eat less.
  2. Go for a brisk walk before eating a meal. Getting some quick exercise will get your blood pumping, and will also give your metabolism a jump-start so that you can process the food you are about to consume.
  3. Don’t forgo sleep during the holidays. When we’re tired, we’re more likely to make decisions that aren’t well thought out. Getting seven to nine hours of sleep at night can help ensure your body has the right amount of rest to function properly.
  4. Avoid artificial sweeteners that will leave you craving sweets. When you sweeten food unnecessarily, even with a low-calorie artificial sweetener, your body wants more. Artificial sweeteners get in the way of your body’s natural ability to control calorie intake, understand and act on hunger signals, and manage food cravings.
  5. Snack on some protein when hunger or craving strikes. Rather than reaching for a candy cane, leftover pie, or something sweet, grab a cheese stick or a beef stick. A dose of protein will give you an energy boost and won’t turn to sugar when you are later taking a break on the couch.

4 Holiday Recipes for the Christmas and New Year’s Season

There are so many great southern recipes to sink your teeth into, especially when it comes to the holidays. But, unfortunately, not all of these are great for your teeth or waistline. The Allred Family Dentistry team has put together a list of 4 holiday recipes that you’re sure to love and not feel guilty about. And we promise that we’ll be making some of these very same recipes in our homes this holiday season.

1. Skinny Artichoke Spinach Dip

We might as well start with an appetizer suggestion. Often, holiday guests arrive long before it’s time to sit down for the big meal. So, the chances are that you’ll need a couple of healthy snacks available for your visitors to munch on while they are waiting for the main dish. This skinny artichoke spinach dip packs a wallop of flavor, is perfectly colored for the holiday seasons, and is low-calorie compared to its traditional counterpart.

2. Good-for-You Green Bean Casserole

Next, let’s move on to a tried-and-true side dish to accompany the main selection. Green bean casserole has been as much a staple at holiday meals as pumpkin pie. But traditional green bean casserole is laden with fats and calories, making it an unsuitable choice for health-conscious families. But that doesn’t mean you need to give up on tradition. This healthier green bean casserole recipe is better for you, and your guests will be asking you to share the recipe before the day is done. Be sure to use fresh green beans instead of canned, and swap 2% milk for skim milk if you want to skinny it down further.

3. Bourbon-Glazed Ham

Now it’s time for the main dish, and ham is usually the first choice for families across the United States when it comes to the holiday meal. But ham is often glazed with sugary ingredients, taking away many of the health benefits that the ham brings on its own. So what if you could have a glaze that tasted great and wouldn’t leave you feeling guilty? Well, we’re happy to tell you that this bourbon-glazed ham with peach chutney recipe will do just that. Better yet, this recipe can be prepared in under an hour and has only 350 calories per serving.

4. Pear, Apple, and Cranberry Tarte Tatin

Finally, it’s time for dessert. And, maybe you’re tired of the traditional apple or pumpkin pie that tends to show up at every family gathering. And if you are trying to be more health-conscious, those pies might not be the best choice altogether. But who says you can’t have your apples and eat them too? This pear, apple, and cranberry tarte tatin is absolutely delicious, low in calories, and far easier to make than you might think.

Cut down on your sugar intake this holiday season with healthier holiday recipes.

The link between sugar and your dental health isn’t a good one. Not only that, but recipes high in sugar are bad for your waistline and can increase your chances for diabetes, heart disease, heart failure, heart attacks, and strokes. So, give these healthier holiday recipes a try this holiday season, and let us know what you think at your next dental visit. And if you are overdue for a dental cleaning, now is the time to request an appointment. And in the meantime, happy holidays from all of us here at Allred Family Dentistry.