Holiday meals are a special gathering, as family and friends come together to spend time with each other. Because these meals can go for hours, they’re typically centered around a huge cut of meat and plenty of sides flavored with the holiday’s spice blends of cinnamon and nutmeg or the comfort of heavy cream and butter—and this is all before the temptations that await you at the dessert table! There are plenty of ways to lighten up your holiday table with lighter side dishes that the whole family will love—here are a few of our favorites.
Roasted Fall Vegetables with Feta and Rosemary. Focusing on what’s fresh and fitting for the season is a great way to create a vibrant, colorful dish. Gather pumpkin, carrots, garlic cloves—and any other vegetable you may enjoy—and drizzle them with a touch of olive oil and rosemary. Place them in a single layer on a baking pan, then into a 200-degree oven for about 45 minutes. Top the vegetables with crumbled feta and roasted pumpkin seeds, and feast!
Cinnamon Dusted Butternut Squash. Squash is a great alternative to starchy potatoes, and doesn’t need a lot of accouterment to bring out its natural sweetness. All you need to do is take a butternut squash, peel and cube it, then toss it with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and cinnamon. It will smell just like the holidays after about 30-40 minutes in a 400-degree oven!
Tofu Mexican Chocolate Pudding. Looking for a protein-rich treat to enjoy with your family outside of delicious, lighter cookies? All you need is a pound of silken tofu, cinnamon, vanilla extract, honey and a half-cup of melted chocolate chips and a food processor or blender. Once you puree the mixture, transfer it to a container, seal the lid and let it chill for 30 minutes. This makes a lovely end to a meal, especially when paired with a cup of coffee or a small hot chocolate for the kids.
For those following the Jenny Craig program, here are a few delicious options:
Balsamic Kale and Cranberry Salad. Cranberries are a staple during the winter with their bright color and tart bite. This warm salad takes only 15 minutes to prep and 15 minutes to sauté! Begin by sautéing an onion for 3-5 minutes, then add kale, dried cranberries, water and a dash of salt to cook for another 3-6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, drizzle with some of our Jenny Craig Balsamic Vinaigrette and prepare to dig in!
Curried Cauliflower. Curry powder is a beautiful spice blend that gathers coriander, cumin, ginger, dry mustard and turmeric, among other spices, to achieve its rich color. When tossed with lemon and olive oil onto cauliflower florets and roasted in a 425-degree oven for about 30 minutes, the florets will come out looking golden, just like the rich yellow of a comfortable fire.
These are just a few of the healthy holiday sides we’ve come up with, and there are plenty more to be had! Discover other delicious inspirations, like this Velvety Chocolate S’Mores Shake, and healthy holiday eating tips by looking through the Perfect Portion, Jenny Craig’s blog where we like to focus on foods trends and ideas to help you stay inspired and joyful about your weight loss journey. Happy holidays, and may your festivities be filled with bright flavors that celebrate your health and happiness!
Edited by Kari - Jenny Craig