A Twist of the Traditional – A Healthy Christmas Dinner


A twist of traditional Christmas food by substituting ingredients or adding custom dishes can be a healthy addition to our traditional Christmas dinner.

It’s that time of year again when we look forward to getting together with family and friends while enjoying those traditional Christmas comfort food favourites.

The fact is these days many people are becoming more conscious of the food they eat due to allergies, weight control, lactose intolerance, vegetarian preferences and the list goes on. In some cases, it may just be that the older we get the less our stomachs can tolerate the rich goodies such as those yummy rum balls.

If you are the Christmas dinner host this year it might be tempting to settle for familiarity but perhaps it could be enjoyable to add a healthier twist to the usually rich dishes we present every year. It doesn’t have to be complicated as you can simply add custom dishes or substitutions to the regular ingredients.

A wise idea would be to familiarize yourself with the dietary needs of your guests by checking prior to meal preparation. Often we hear “It’s Christmas time again so I guess I’ll indulge!”, but the Christmas season can also spark anxiety in those who don’t want to betray their dietary requirements by troubling the host with non-traditional requests.

Substitute Healthier Versions of Traditional Foods

Yes it is possible to preserve the essence of good food even if you substitute ingredients or prepare custom dishes. It can be as simple as substituting an ingredient or two to make the dish lower in fat or cooking with vegetable oil instead of butter. You can add a low fat vegetable side dish such as Vegetable and Polenta Casserole to complement the meat dishes and offer low-fat frozen yogurt or sherbet in addition to ice cream, or offer a low-fat variety of salad dressing in addition to the regular. You can still enjoy your all time favourites while simply adding some extra choices.


For more healthy seasonal food ideas visit Jamie Oliver’s website. Jamie Oliver is a health-conscious chef who incorporates style, flare and the art of creating a healthy gourmet dish with simple ingredients and instructions that even us ordinary folk can follow. Some wonderful Christmas seasonal recipes are also located at Living Without website and feature special dishes for all those people with all types of food allergies and sensitivities. One of their feature yummy recipes is No-Fuss Gluten-free Turkey Stuffing.

A delicious vegetarian substitute for turkey is the Vegetarian Pot Pie.

Instead of regular turkey gravy or for an additional vegetarian choice try:

Vegetarian Gravy

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 5 tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water

Sauté the onion in the oil until soft, add the mushrooms and sauté for 1 minute more. Shake the flour, broth and water together in a jar and add this to the onions and mushrooms. Mix in the soy sauce and stir over medium heat until thick.

Apple Cranberry Low-fat Crisp

  • A delicious low fat dessert:
  • 4 cups of peeled, cored apples thinly sliced
  • ¼ cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 tsp lemon juice fresh or concentrate
  • 2 tbs granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder


  • ¼ cup quick cooking oats
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp) brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp butter

Combine apples, cranberries, lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon in bowl; toss to coat. Place mixture in a lightly buttered one-quart casserole dish. Cover. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes. In a bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cut in butter to form a crumbly mixture. Return to oven (uncovered) and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Serve with low fat vanilla yogurt ice cream. Yield 4 servings.

Christmas is a time for joyful giving and receiving and your guests will not only be able to enjoy all the season has to offer but will also appreciate your effort in serving healthy choices at your dining room table.

They’ll know that you cared enough to try something new and those who don’t have food concerns will also the extra choices. You can’t go wrong by adding a healthy twist to the usual oldies so don’t be afraid to venture out into the unknown as it could result in making this year’s Christmas celebration the best one yet.


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