An Ultimate Guide Your perfect Christmas Eve Plate With Great Nutrition

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Along with gifts, food takes center stage during the Christmas holidays. While traditional dinners cover most tables, there is always room for something new. Let’s look at the traditional Christmas Eve plate and some alternatives you might want to add to it!

The Traditional Christmas Eve Plate

On Christmas Eve, many households in the United Kingdom have mince pies with a glass of brandy. According to a Modern Milkman survey, 39% of people stick to this tradition, but as health consciousness grows, we need to reconsider our food choices. Interestingly, the survey revealed that 36% of Brits are doing it wrong by leaving alcohol for Santa.

In the United States, most Christmas Eve plates get built around roasted fowl or ham. You’ll see various vegetables (usually rooted veggies) along with mashed potatoes and gravy. Stuffing is popular with many holiday eaters, as are sides like cranberry sauce.

Some hosts will take things to a whole new level with several baked goodies. Cakes, cookies, pies, and other pastries have become holiday favorites on Christmas Eve. In more recent decades, hard candies, nuts, jello dishes, and other sweets have made the list as well. While appetizer plates are more common on Christmas Day, you may see these more and more the night before. These include meat and veggie trays, cheese displays, and various chips and dips.

Many traditional family feasts also showcase drinks, many of which you only see this time of year. Apple cider, eggnog, and other specialty drinks stand out on Christmas Eve. Younger family members might enjoy rarities at the dinner table, like soda drinks. Alcohol-based drinks are also popular, including spiced cider, eggnog, wine, and mixed drinks.

The Health Implications

Most traditional Christmas Eve dinner plates contain plenty of unhealthy things. Saturated fats, sugars, sodium, and highly refined carbs permeate most dishes. Some items are healthy in one respect but are less healthy in others.

Take, for example, the roasted fowl that many enjoy on the night before Christmas. Most of these meats are lower in saturated fats than ham. Most of them have as much or more sodium, though.

Those favorite holiday baked goods you eat on Christmas Eve consist of refined carbs. Those sugars and white flour can raise some guests’ blood sugar with a glance, little alone a taste. The hard candies, pistachio puddings, and cranberry sauce have lots of sugar, too. Even those holiday drinks you enjoy may pack more carbs than your standard lunch.

Outside of the meal’s contents, most Americans tend to overindulge. Think about the calories you consume between appetizers, drinks, and the meal itself. Then, many guests will go for seconds. Never mind the leftovers you take home and snack on later while doing last minute gift wrapping.

Alternatives to Consider

So, what can we put on our Christmas Eve plate to make it healthier while also ensuring a smooth Christmas delivery? Here are a few ideas.

Go for Lean Meats

If you usually serve ham for Christmas Eve dinner, consider switching to fowl. Chicken and turkey are both nutritious and have far less saturated fat than pork or beef. Should you already serve up roasted fowl for the holidays, keep in mind turkey tends to be the leanest meat. If you already serve up roasted turkey as a holiday tradition, stick with it!

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Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Serve up some sliced fresh fruit for dinner instead of a canned fruit medley. The fruit can replace many of the sugary sweets you might usually serve. It can fill everyone’s sugar cravings with bonus nutrients like fiber and antioxidants. Your blood sugars won’t spike as much and the kids might be less antsy.

Which fruits should you aim for? Berries are great as they are sweet but low in sugar. Cherries are a nice choice and popular during the holidays. You might place some fresh cranberries near the cranberry sauce to see how people like it. Fresh melons cut into cubes are favorite snack around many dinner tables and taste just as good on holidays. Olives, tomatoes, and avocados are not thought of as fruit, but they are. They make healthy and delicious holiday plate add-ons.

Vegetables are standard for most Christmas Eve dinners. Root vegetables like beets, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and onions are popular. You will see lots of green beans and peas on the table as well. These can be healthy in moderation but can add the carbs up fast.

There are tasty alternatives to all the starch that root vegetables offer. Tasty alternatives include collard greens in a slow cooker, or balsamic green beans and pearl onions. You can even mix the fruits and veggies. Try cutting up some apples and fresh beets and adding them to a salad. You are only limited by your imagination when it comes to new holiday traditions when it comes to meals.

Bake Your Own

Another healthy alternative is to bake your own treats instead of serving packaged goods. Cooking with things like almond flour and coconut oil can change the health profile of baked goods. Delicious handmade brownies can replace store bought products without the gluten or dairy. Adding natural sweeteners like maple syrup and coconut sugar allows you to avoid the granulated stuff all together.

Baking your own breads allows you to control what goes into every bread, pastry, and pie you serve on Christmas Eve.

Mix Your Own Drinks

Another way to control calories at Christmas Eve dinners is to make your own drinks. Skip the alcohol and serve up sparkling apple cider with slices of fruit. If sparkling punch isn’t your thing, try adding some cinnamon sticks, allspice, cloves, and citrus peel to that store bought apple cider and warm it up!

Create New Christmas Eve Dinner Traditions

Holiday traditions are what you make of them. Your traditional plate likely looks different from plates from Christmas Eve’s of the past. Don’t be afraid to try new dishes to go along with traditional favorites. You can make healthy and tasty choices while creating new traditions for generations to come!

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