Eating healthy during the holidays can be tough.

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Starting around Thanksgiving and lasting through January, you’re compassed by endless treats at parties, get-togethers, and grocery stores. 

What’s more, your normal fitness routine—working out, preparing meals, getting plenty of sleep, and so forth—will likely be interrupted with travel, festivities, and other obligations.  

Many fitness folk respond to this scenario by battening down the hatches and trying with all their might to resist the onslaught of indulgences, but this isn’t necessary.

As we’ve covered in previous articles, you can maintain a fit, lean, healthy body while enjoying high-calorie meals and treats over the holidays if you use the right strategies.

One of these strategies is to supplement your higher-calorie “comfort foods” with more filling, high-protein, lower-calorie and lower-fat alternatives. 

And in this article, you’re going to get 40 delicious, macro-friendly holiday recipes for main dishes, sides and starters, desserts, and drinks.

Whether you’re lean bulking, maintaining, or cutting . . . whether you follow a vegan, low-carb, or paleo diet . . . and whether you prefer sweet, savory, or something in between . . . you’ll find a recipe (or five) you’ll want to try on this list.

Enjoy! 

 


Table of Contents
Main Dishes
1. Slow Cooker White Turkey Chili
2. Red-Eye Brisket Stew
3. Baked Apple Pork Chops & Green Beans
4. Skillet Chicken Pot Pie with Butternut Squash
5. Beef Stew with Zucchini Noodles
6. Creamy Lemon Chicken
7. Slow Cooker Peach Salsa Pork Roast with Sweet Potatoes
8. Italian Beef Stew
9. Balsamic Mushroom & Chicken Stroganoff
10. Kale and Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Casserole
Sides & Starters
1. Healing Turkey Soup
2. Baked Crab Cakes
3. Skinny Coconut Shrimp with Apricot Sauce
4. Potted Salmon
5. Mexican Cabbage Soup
6. Roasted Garlic Lemon Broccoli
7. Garlic Mashed Potatoes (with a Secret Ingredient!)
8. Saucy Green Beans & Sausage
9. Broccoli & Cheese Twice-Baked Potatoes
10. Bacon-Wrapped Maple-Glazed Carrots
Desserts
1. Death by Chocolate Cheesecake
2. Healthy Lava Cakes
3. Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta
4. Lemon Cake Batter Truffles
5. Vanilla Egg Protein Custards
6. Baked Rice Pudding
7. Chocolate Blueberry Cake
8. Plum Sponge Cake
9. Honey Vanilla Ice Cream
10. No-Sugar-Added Banana Pudding
Drinks
1. Mulled Tea
2. Sazerac
3. Cincinnati Cocktail
4. French 75
5. Whiskey Unwinder
6. Mango Ginger Kale Green Smoothie
7. Coffee Protein Smoothie
8. Peanut Butter Protein Shake
9. Chocolate Fudge Protein Shake
10. Cinnamon Roll Protein Shake
The Bottom Line on Healthy Holiday Recipes



Main Dishes
1. Slow Cooker White Turkey Chili



Serves 6

Calories 768 | Protein 56 grams | Carbs 86 grams | Fat 28 grams

This slow cooker white turkey chili combines juicy leftover Christmas turkey, vegetables, garlic, oregano, paprika, and a little bit of spice to make a delicious meal that couldn’t be easier to throw together! Perfect for those lazy days after Christmas.

Ingredients

4 cups leftover turkey meat, chopped

4 cups water

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or dairy of choice)

1 cup onion, chopped

1 can (15 ounces) sweet corn

1/2 cup masa flour + 1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoon black pepper, freshly ground 

1/2 tablespoon salt

3 teaspoons minced garlic

3 teaspoons ground cumin

3 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

3 cups (about 12 ounces) shredded Monterey jack cheese

Instructions

Place all ingredients except for the shredded cheese in a slow cooker and stir them together.
Cook on low for 10 to 12 hours or on high for 5 to 6 hours.
Stir the shredded cheese in during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!


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2. Red-Eye Brisket Stew



Serves 6

Calories 598 | Protein 61 grams | Carbs 36 grams | Fat 22 grams

When you want a hearty and healthy Christmas recipe with chunks of meat and veggies, this simple stew will curb your cravings. And it’s quick to throw in the slow cooker in the morning or afternoon, conveniently ready to serve whenever you’re hungry for dinner.

Ingredients 

For the stew:

2 1/2 cups beef stock

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 1/2 pounds brisket, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

3/4 cup brewed coffee

1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, halved

1/2 pound carrots, chopped

1/2 pound parsnips, chopped

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

For the pickled onions:

1 cup seasoned rice vinegar

1 garlic clove, chopped

2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 red onion

Instructions

Whisk together the stock, flour, Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a 6-quart slow cooker.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the brisket with salt and pepper. Cook in batches until browned on all sides. This should take around 5 minutes. 
Put the browned meat in the slow cooker but reserve the skillet. 
Add coffee to the reserved skillet and cook, scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pan so they mix with the coffee for about 30 seconds, then add the mixture to the slow cooker.
Add the potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onion, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover and cook until the beef is tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. Discard any thyme sprigs and the bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve topped with thyme leaves and pickled red onions with cornbread on the side.
To make the pickled red onions: Stir together the rice vinegar, garlic, 1/2 cup water, and 2 teaspoons kosher salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in the sliced red onion. Let stand for around 30 minutes, until the onion is softened.


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3. Baked Apple Pork Chops & Green Beans



 

Serves 4

Calories 591 | Protein 47 grams | Carbs 39 grams | Fat 29 grams

These pork chops are spiced with quintessential Christmas flavours, and couldn’t be easier to prepare—just assemble everything on a baking sheet ahead of time and bake right before serving.

Ingredients

For the pork chops: 

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 (8-ounce) pork chops, bone-in, 3/4-inch to 1-inch thick

1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

16 ounces green beans, trimmed

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped

 

For the apples:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

3 tablespoons maple syrup

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 ℉. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
Melt some butter in a large skillet over a medium-high heat.
Rub both sides of the pork chops with sage, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add to the skillet and sear both sides in butter until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Place the pork chops and green beans in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle the green beans with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic, then season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Place into the oven and roast until the pork is completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 140 ℉, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat and melt more butter. Add the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples just begin to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the maple syrup, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
Serve the pork chops immediately, topped with the apple mixture and garnished with parsley, if desired.


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4. Skillet Chicken Pot Pie with Butternut Squash



 

Serves 6

Calories 373 | Protein 23 grams | Carbs 27 grams | Fat 20 grams

Since a cast-iron skillet can go from the stove to the oven, it’s the ideal way to make a homemade pot pie without dirtying a bunch of dishes.

This healthy Christmas recipe includes a bunch of veggies, and it’s a great way to make use of leftover chicken or turkey.

Ingredients

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup frozen white pearl onions, thawed

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped

1 small bunch kale, ribs and stems removed before chopping

Salt and black pepper, freshly ground 

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 small butternut squash (about 1 1/2 cups), peeled and diced

1/2 rotisserie chicken or leftover turkey (about 16 ounces), meat torn into bite-sized pieces

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 large egg

Instructions

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 ℉. Heat oil in an 8-inch cast-iron or other heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, about 4 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the garlic and sage to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic begins to brown, about 2 minutes.
Add the kale and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing often, until wilted, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the top. Cook, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes.
Stir in the broth, 1/2-cupful at a time, then add the squash. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the squash is just softened and the broth is thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the meat to the skillet, stir, and season with salt and pepper.
Unfold the pastry, smooth any creases, and place over the skillet, allowing the corners to hang over the sides. Whisk the egg and 1 teaspoon of water in a small bowl. Brush the pastry with the egg wash and cut four 1-inch slits in the top as vents.
Bake the pot pie until the pastry is beginning to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 ℉ and bake until the pastry is deep golden brown and crisp—about 15 to 20 minutes longer. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.


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5. Beef Stew with Zucchini Noodles

 

Serves 4

Calories 298 | Protein 30 grams | Carbs 28 grams | Fat 6 grams

The combo of noodles and beef is a classic, as in dishes like spaghetti and meatballs. But this recipe offers a totally different take with zucchini noodles and hearty beef stew.

If you don’t have a spiral slicer to prepare the zucchini, use a vegetable peeler, mandoline, or a large box grater.

Ingredients

1 pound beef stew chunks

1/2 red onion, diced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 celery stalks, diced

3 carrots, peeled and diced

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes

4 cups low-sodium beef broth

2 bay leaves

4 large zucchini, spiralized 

Freshly parsley, chopped (optional garnish)

Instructions

Place a large saucepan over medium heat, and add the olive oil. Add the beef chunks, and cook until browned. Remove the meat from the saucepan, and set aside in a bowl.
In the juices left in the pan from the beef, add in the garlic to cook for 30 seconds. Then, add in the red onions and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute, and then add in the celery and carrots. Cook for 2 minutes to let the vegetables sweat, and then add back in the beef chunks.
Add the Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and cayenne pepper, stirring to combine. Then season with salt and pepper, and add in the beef broth and diced tomatoes. Place the bay leaves on top, and cover to bring to a boil.
Once brought to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cook covered for 40 minutes. Then, let simmer uncovered for 35 more minutes, until the stew thickens.
Divide the zucchini noodles into bowls, and evenly divide the stew into each bowl. Let the warm stew cook the noodles for a couple minutes, and garnish with fresh parsley.


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6. Creamy Lemon Chicken

 

Serves 4

Calories 327 | Protein 39 grams | Carbs 7 grams | Fat 11 grams

You’re likely familiar with lemon chicken, but not like this. This chicken breast is cooked in an incredibly luscious lemon sauce, but all that creaminess doesn’t equal extra fat.

The recipe uses a can of light coconut milk and a little Parmesan cheese to create the sauce. And it’s bright and flavorful thanks to the lemon juice and lemon zest.

Ingredients

4 chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each)

1 can (14 ounces) light coconut milk

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoon flour

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions 

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once warm, cover the pan with cooking spray. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and place in the hot pan.
Brown the chicken breasts on both sides (it will take about 5 to 6 minutes per side). Remove from the pan and set aside. The chicken will not be cooked through yet.
Add the butter, flour, and chopped garlic to the pan and whisk together. Allow to cook for 20 to 30 seconds and then slowly whisk in the can of coconut milk.
Continue stirring, and once your sauce starts to simmer and thicken, add in the lemon zest, lemon juice, Parmesan, and parsley. Whisk together until combined and it starts to simmer.
Add the chicken back into the pan. Simmer for 6 to 7 minutes on one side, then flip and simmer for another 6 minutes. Continue until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has reduced down a little.
The sauce will be quite lemony at first, but it will mellow out once it’s had a chance to simmer with the chicken.


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7. Slow Cooker Peach Salsa Pork Roast with Sweet Potatoes

 

Serves 8

Calories 545 | Protein 49 grams | Carbs 47 grams | Fat 17 grams

Many people avoid cooking pork because it dries out so easily. One of the easiest “hacks” for avoiding shoe-leather-tough pork is to turn to the slow cooker.

With this recipe you get a perfectly done, fork-tender, moist, garlicky, pork roast with a pan sauce of slow-cooked sweet potatoes and peaches in just a few hours.

Ingredients

1 boneless pork roast (2 to 2-1/2 pounds)

Kosher salt and black pepper, freshly ground

1 tablespoon peanut, canola, vegetable, or olive oil

5 small peeled sweet potatoes (about 1-1/2 pounds), cut into 1-inch chunks

2 cups peach salsa

Instructions 

Scatter the cubed sweet potatoes in the bottom of a slow-cooker. Put the lid in place and set the slow-cooker to high heat.
Sprinkle the pork roast generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper on all sides.
Place a heavy-bottomed stainless steel or cast-iron skillet over high heat. Swirl the oil over the bottom of the pan. Carefully place the pork roast in the hot pan and do not move it until it releases easily from the pan and is deep golden brown on the side that just cooked. 
Rotate the roast to an un-browned area and repeat. Do this until you have browned the entire surface of the pork roast. 
Use tongs to set the pork roast on top of the cubed sweet potatoes. Pour the peach salsa over the top, put the lid in place, and cook on high heat for 4 to 5 hours or low heat for 7 to 9 hours. The pork roast is done when it measures 145 °F on an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the roast.


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8. Italian Beef Stew

 

Serves 8

Calories 334 | Protein 41 grams | Carbs 12 grams | Fat 13 grams

This rustic stew goes to show that sometimes the most comforting dishes don’t require much work in the kitchen. With a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, you can turn a cheap chuck roast into what seems like gourmet steak.

Ingredients

7 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 1/2 cups onion, chopped

1/2 cup carrot, chopped

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 lb. boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cubed

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground 

1 cup dry red wine

3 3/4 cups diced plum tomatoes, deseeded and peeled (about 2 pounds)

1 1/2 cups low-sodium, fat-free beef broth

1/2 cup water

2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped

1 bay leaf

1 pack (8 ounces) cremini mushrooms, quartered

3/4 cup carrot, sliced

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions 

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add 1 teaspoon of oil to the pan. Add the onion and chopped carrot; sauté for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic; sauté for 45 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from the pan.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan. Place 1/4 cup flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle the beef with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper then dredge in the flour. Add half of the beef to the pan and sauté for 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove from the pan. Repeat procedure until all the meat is done.
Add the wine to the pan and bring to a boil while scraping the pan. Cook until reduced to 1/3 cup (about 5 minutes). Return the meat and the onion mixture to the pan. Add the tomato and the next 6 ingredients from the list; bring to a boil. 
Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
Uncover, and stir in the sliced carrot. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour or until the meat is very tender, stirring occasionally. Discard the bay leaf. Stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, basil, and parsley.


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9. Balsamic Mushroom & Chicken Stroganoff



 

Serves 8

Calories 187 | Protein 27 grams | Carbs 9 grams | Fat 4 grams

This stroganoff recipe substitutes beef for chicken and sour cream for Greek yogurt, so you still get the creamy, indulgent texture and rich delicious taste of stroganoff, only with far fewer calories. 

Ingredients

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 5 ounces each), cubed

1 yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 package (16 ounces) sliced mushrooms

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

2 cups fat-free chicken broth

1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt

Instructions

Place the cubed chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the mushrooms, onion, garlic, black pepper, salt, balsamic vinegar, and chicken broth. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours.
When the chicken is done, stir in the yogurt or sour cream. Serve as is, over whole-wheat egg noodles, brown rice, or whole-wheat pasta.


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10. Kale and Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Casserole



Serves 8

Calories 251 | Protein 8 grams | Carbs 42 grams | Fat 6 grams

Most casseroles have ground or shredded meat to make a filling one-dish meal, but that’s not necessary if you have lots of veggies, plus quinoa for protein.

This healthy Christmas casserole is filled with carrots, sweet potatoes, and kale—perfect for a hearty winter meal. And depending on what’s in your kitchen, you can use other delicious vegetables like cauliflower, parsnips, and mustard greens.

Ingredients

3 large carrots, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces

4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup dry quinoa

4 cloves garlic, minced

10 ounces kale, chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground chipotle

1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) grated mozzarella or vegan cheese

Instructions 

Preheat the oven to 400 ℉.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy clean-up) and add the chopped carrots and sweet potatoes. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Use your hands to toss the veggies around, making sure that they are all coated with oil.
Place in a hot oven for 30 to 40 minutes (depending on the size of your pieces) or until golden brown. When the veggies are done, remove them from the oven but keep the oven on.
While the veggies are roasting, prepare the quinoa using package instructions. When done, remove from the heat and set aside.
Also while the veggies are roasting, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add about half of the kale to the skillet (or as much as your skillet will hold). Add a splash of water (to help create steam) and cook down. Add the rest of the kale when there is room in your pan and another splash of water. Sauté the kale for about 5 minutes or until wilted down by about half.
In a large bowl, combine the roasted veggies, quinoa, sautéd kale, cumin, chili powder, chipotle chili powder, salt and pepper.
Spray a large baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Add the quinoa mixture to the dish and spread out evenly.
Sprinkle cheese on top.
Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted.
Serve immediately.


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Sides & Starters
1. Healing Turkey Soup



 

Serves 6

Calories 158 | Protein 17 grams | Carbs 23 grams | Fat 1 grams

Soups are a great way to kick off any meal in the winter months, and what’s great about this recipe is it makes use of your leftover turkey, and can be stored in the freezer, ready for whenever you need it.

Ingredients

Bone broth from 1 turkey carcass (about 8 cups)

1 onion

4 carrots, diced

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cloves garlic

2 teaspoons ground sage

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 chicken bouillon

1 cup green beans

1 cup corn kernels

1/4 cup lentils

1/4 cup dry quinoa

Instructions

For the bone broth:


Break apart your turkey carcass and place in a soup pot. 
Fill the pot with water. 
Chop an onion in half and add that if desired. Bring the pot to a boil, then lower to a simmer, cover and let cook for a few hours (the longer the better). You may have to keep adding water. 
Strain the broth and set aside. Pick through the turkey meat and add to the broth.


For the soup:


Add the rest of the ingredients to the soup pan (with the turkey meat and broth). 
Add water as needed. The amount of bouillon is really up to you, as every batch needs a different amount. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Simmer for at least an hour.


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2. Baked Crab Cakes

 

Serves 6

Calories 93 | Protein 16 grams | Carbs 1 grams | Fat 3 grams

These crab cakes retain all the flavor you love but since they’re not pan-fried in a pool of oil, they contain less than 100 calories per cake, making them an ideal appetizer that’s on the “lighter” side.

Ingredients

For the crab cakes:

16 ounce container of wild-caught, jumbo lump crab meat

1 egg, whisked

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

Squeeze of lime juice

A couple dashes of Florida Seasoned Pepper (or freshly ground black pepper)

For the sauce:

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 teaspoon Hot Curry Powder (or to taste)

Dash of cayenne pepper

Instructions 

Preheat the oven to 350 ℉. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the crab cake ingredients gently, as to not break up the lumps of crab meat too much.
Form the crab mixture into cakes, about the size of the palm of your hand.
Put the uncooked crab cakes on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Sprinkle the tops of the crab cakes with Old Bay seasoning.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until set and golden brown.
While baking, combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Adjust seasoning to taste. 
Serve the crab cakes with a dollop of sauce on top and limes slices to the side.


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3. Skinny Coconut Shrimp with Apricot Sauce



Serves 8

Calories 161 | Protein 10 grams | Carbs 22 grams | Fat 3 grams

Once you have a bite of this shrimp, you’ll forget all about its greasy, fried counterpart.

This is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, and the dipping sauce is both sweet and spicy to give you the best of everything in one easy-to-make appetizer.

Ingredients

For the coconut shrimp:

24 (about 1 pound) raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon panko crumbs

2 tablespoons whole wheat flour

1 large egg

Pinch of sea salt

Non-stick spray

For the sauce:

1/2 cup apricot preserves

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Instructions 

For the sauce, combine all the ingredients and place in a small bowl.
Preheat the oven to 425 ℉. Spray a non-stick baking sheet with cooking spray.
Combine the coconut flakes, panko crumbs, and salt in a bowl.
Place the flour in a small dish. Whisk the egg in another bowl.
Lightly season the shrimp with salt. Dip the shrimp in the flour, shaking off any excess, then into the egg, then in the coconut crumb mixture.
Lay the shrimp on the cookie sheet then spray the top of the shrimp with more cooking spray; bake in the middle rack for about 10 minutes. Turn the shrimp over, then cook for another 6 to 7 minutes or until cooked though. Remove from the oven and serve with the dipping sauce.


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4. Potted Salmon



 

 

Serves 6

Calories 207 | Protein 15 grams | Carbs 2 grams | Fat 16 grams

Although potted salmon may seem new and unfamiliar, it’s a traditional food along the British coast.

This is a great make-ahead dish to serve as an appetizer before a dinner party. Pair it with garlic crostini or nutty bread for a simple but stunning take on salmon.

Ingredients

7 ounces smoked salmon

7 ounces cream cheese

3.5 ounces creme fraiche

1/2 lemon (juice of)

1 tablespoon fresh chives

1 tablespoon fresh dill

1 tablespoon fresh parsley

Black pepper, freshly ground 

Instructions

Add all the ingredients into a food processor (maybe chop the salmon up a little before adding) and blitz until you have a coarse paste to your liking.
Add the lemon juice, herbs and pepper and pulse again.
Scoop into an airtight jar (this will keep in the fridge for a couple days).


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5. Mexican Cabbage Soup



Serves 8

Calories 108 | Protein 7 grams | Carbs 20 grams | Fat 2 grams

Borscht is the most popular cabbage soup, but since it’s a hearty vegetable, cabbage shows up in many cultural dishes.

This Mexican soup is nothing like the Russian variety except for the base ingredient. Aside from that, it’s packed with bell peppers, spicy stewed tomatoes, and chili powder. Top with tortilla strips and your favorite taco toppings.

Ingredients

1 head cabbage

2 bell peppers

2 cans (15 ounces each) Mexican stewed tomatoes with jalapenos

2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder

5 cups vegetable broth

1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce

1 bay leaf

1/2 tablespoon oregano

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce (or liquid aminos)

1 tablespoon liquid smoke

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

Slice the cabbage and peppers into half inch strips.
Combine all the ingredients in a large slow cooker (except optional toppings). Don’t worry if not all of the cabbage is covered.
Cook on low for at least 6 hours, or up to 10.
Serve with optional toppings.


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6. Roasted Garlic Lemon Broccoli



Serves 6

Calories 49 | Protein 3 grams | Carbs 7 grams | Fat 2 grams

If you’re looking for a delicious and simple way to serve broccoli, look no further than this recipe. With just a few simple ingredients, you can transform a standard vegetable into a mouthwatering accompaniment to any main meal. Feel free to experiment with different seasonings, too!

Ingredients 

2 heads broccoli, separated into florets

2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 ℉ F.
In a large bowl, toss the broccoli florets with the extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and garlic.
Spread the broccoli out in an even layer on a baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven until the florets are tender enough to pierce the stems with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove and transfer to a serving platter.
Squeeze lemon juice liberally over the broccoli before serving for a refreshing, tangy finish.


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7. Garlic Mashed Potatoes (with a Secret Ingredient!)



 

Serves 8

Calories 262 | Protein 6 grams | Carbs 31 grams | Fat 13 grams

I bet you’re wondering what the secret ingredient is that makes this mashed potato oh-so-good?

Aside from the yukon potatoes, there are actually two things . . . cream cheese and a chicken base. With just a hint of cream cheese you get a silky, creamy depth to your mash. And the chicken base combo adds a depth of flavor and complexity to your dish that will change the way you think about your boring old mashed potatoes forever. And of course, the addition of garlic really gives this mash a hefty kick.

Ingredients

3 pounds yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced

1 to 2 tablespoons chicken stock base

3/4 cup half and half

1/2 cup whole milk

1/4 cup butter

4 ounces cream cheese

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions 

Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with water about an inch or two above the potatoes.
Add your chicken stock base and stir together.
Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer.
Simmer the potatoes until they are cooked through (tender when you pierce them with a knife).
Cook time will depend on the size of chunks you cut your potatoes into—the smaller they are, the quicker they will cook.
When the potatoes are done, drain them using a colander and transfer to a large bowl.
Add the half and half, whole milk, butter, cream cheese, and garlic powder.
Mash everything together until thoroughly combined and smooth.
Adjust the seasoning to taste.


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8. Saucy Green Beans & Sausage



 

Serves 4

Calories 188 | Protein 11 grams | Carbs 26 grams | Fat 6 grams

This healthy Christmas recipe turns bland beans into a fantastic side dish by adding some sweet Italian sausage.

If you want to bump up the protein, or turn it into a meal in its own right, simply double the amount of sausage.

Ingredients

4 ounces sweet Italian sausage

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion

1 red bell pepper

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 can (15 ounces) low-sodium crushed tomatoes

1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425 ℉.
In a 5- to 6-quart saucepan, cook the sausage on a medium heat for 5 minutes or until browned, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
Add enough oil to drippings in the saucepan to equal 1 tablespoon of fat. Add the onion, red pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the vegetables have softened, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomatoes, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook the vegetable mixture for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, trim the green beans and cut into 2-inch pieces. Add the green beans to the pot with the tomatoes; cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the reserved sausage.
Transfer the green bean mixture to a 3-quart shallow baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes or until the green beans are very tender.


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9. Broccoli & Cheese Twice-Baked Potatoes



Serves 4

Calories 188 | Protein 11 grams | Carbs 24 grams | Fat 6 grams

Just because these potatoes are packed with cheese and ground beef doesn’t mean they aren’t a healthy Christmas recipe. With over 10 grams of protein and under 200 calories per serving, you can enjoy them guilt-free.

Ingredients

4 medium russet potatoes

8 ounces 90% lean ground beef

1 cup broccoli florets, finely chopped

1 cup water

1 cup (about 4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheddar, divided in half

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 scallions, sliced

Instructions

Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork. Place in the microwave and cook on medium, turning once or twice, until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, brown the meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Increase the heat to high, and add the broccoli and water to the pan, cover, and cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. 
Drain the broccoli and add it to the meat.
Carefully cut off the top third of the cooked potatoes (reserve the tops for another use). Scoop out the insides into a medium bowl. Place the potato shells in a small baking dish. Add a 1/2 cup of cheddar, sour cream, salt and pepper to the potato insides and mash with a fork or potato masher. 
Add the scallions and the potato mixture to the broccoli and meat; stir to combine.
Evenly divide the potato mixture among the potato shells and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Microwave on High until the filling is hot and the cheese is melted, 2 to 4 minutes.


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10. Bacon-Wrapped Maple-Glazed Carrots

 

Serves 8

Calories 577 | Protein 34 grams | Carbs 30 grams | Fat 36 grams

Want to add some protein to your side dish? Add bacon to your vegetables! This carrot recipe is impressive, but it’s also as simple as it gets.

Ingredients

3 pounds whole carrots

1 1/2 pounds bacon

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions 

Preheat your indirect grill or smoker to 400 ℉. This can also be done in an oven, if needed.
Thoroughly scrub and peel each carrot. 
Wrap each carrot in a piece of bacon, overlapping the ends so they are secured. Sprinkle each carrot with salt and pepper.
Place the wrapped carrots on the grill (or on a baking sheet, if using the oven). Close the lid and cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until the bacon is golden and crisp.
During the last 5 minutes of grilling, brush the carrots with the maple syrup. Grill until the syrup starts to bubble, remove from the grill and serve.


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Desserts
1. Death by Chocolate Cheesecake



 

Serves 12

Calories 350 | Protein 12 grams | Carbs 32 grams | Fat 35 grams

For a dessert that’s decadent, filling, and amazingly low in sugar, try this chocolate cheesecake.

It looks fancy enough to serve for any special occasion. But because of the balance between rich ingredients and zero-calorie sweetener, this contains hardly any simple carbs. Each slice contains just 5 grams of sugar.

Ingredients

For the crust:

1 1/2 cups almond flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup Swerve sweetener (or erythritol)

3 tablespoons butter, melted

For the filling:

6 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate, chopped

1 tablespoon butter

24 ounces low-fat cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup Swerve sweetener

1/2 cup confectioner’s Swerve sweetener

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs, room temp.

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/3 cup heavy cream, room temp.

2 teaspoons melted butter, for greasing

For the toppings:

3/4 cup whipping cream

1/3 cup confectioner’s Swerve sweetener

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

For the crust:


Preheat the oven to 325 ℉. In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, cocoa powder, and sweetener. Stir in the melted butter until well combined.
Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, and then remove and reduce oven temperature to 300 ℉.


For the filling:


In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the dark chocolate with the butter, stirring until smooth. Set aside to let cool.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the sweeteners and vanilla extract, then beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the beaters and the sides of the bowl as needed.
Beat in the cocoa powder and heavy cream until well combined, then beat in the melted chocolate until the mixture is completely smooth.
Brush the sides of the springform pan with melted butter, taking care not to disturb the crust. Pour the filling into the pan and gently shake from side to side to even out. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until the filling is mostly set but still jiggles just a little in the center.
Remove and let cool for 10 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan to loosen. Let cool completely. Once cool, remove sides, cover tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours.


For the topping:


In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream and sweetener. Bring to just a simmer, then remove from heat and add chopped chocolate and vanilla. Let sit for 5 minutes and then whisk until smooth.
Pour over the top of the chilled cheesecake, allowing some to drip down the sides. Chill until set.


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2. Healthy Lava Cakes

 

Serves 4

Calories 256 | Protein 9 grams | Carbs 46 grams | Fat 8 grams

Flourless chocolate cake is known for its silky yet dense, fudgy texture. The melting, oozing chocolate in the middle of these healthy chocolate lava cakes will ensure nobody knows the secret ingredient in this cake.

Instead of a bag of wheat flour, you’ll need to pick up a can of black beans. This chocolate cake also uses applesauce instead of oil or butter, so the fat – less than 10 grams per cake – comes from flaxseed, almonds, and the cacao itself.

Ingredients

1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoon warm water)

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground cayenne

1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup almond meal

1 teaspoon baking powder

4 pieces dark chocolate (about 1 ounces)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 ℉.
Make flax egg and set aside.
In a food processor combine the black beans, maple syrup, applesauce, apple cider vinegar, and half of the sea salt. Pulse to combine (about 1 minute).
Add in the almond meal, cocoa powder and flax egg. Process until combined (about 30 seconds).
Add in the baking powder and continue processing for another 30 seconds.
Grease 4 5-ounce ramekins with coconut oil. Make sure to grease well.
Add a 1/4 cup of batter to each ramekin.
Place pieces of chocolate on top and cover each ramekin evenly with remaining batter.
Place on a baking sheet and bake for 25 mins.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 mins.
Use a knife to loosen the edges and then flip the ramekins over on a plate. They should come loose easily.
Serve warm. 


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3. Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta

 

Serves 4

Calories 205 | Protein 9 grams | Carbs 28 grams | Fat 7 grams

This panna cotta recipe uses Greek yogurt instead of cream, which means you still get the luxurious texture you’re used to, just with a lot less fat.

Panna cotta takes less than a half-hour to make, not including the chill time, yet it tastes like a gourmet dessert.

Ingredients

2/3 cup skim milk, divided

2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin powder

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon raw honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4.4 ounces (about 3/4 cup) dark chocolate, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups nonfat plain Greek yogurt

Instructions 

Pour 1/4 cup of milk into a small bowl, and sprinkle the gelatin on top. When the gelatin softens, after about 10 minutes, stir the two together until combined.
In a medium saucepan bring to a gentle simmer the remaining milk, vanilla and honey.
Add the gelatin, and whisk until the gelatin has fully dissolved into the hot milk.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. Pour the warm milk mixture through a sieve into the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted then stir in the Greek yogurt until fully combined.
Pour the final mixture into small glasses, bowls, or ramekins. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours or overnight.
Serve the Greek yogurt chocolate panna cotta with whipped cream, coarsely chopped chocolate and a sprig of fresh mint.


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4. Lemon Cake Batter Truffles



Serves 30

Calories 171 | Protein 1 gram | Carbs 23 grams | Fat 8 grams

Bite-sized cakes tend to start with a whole baked cake that’s cut down to size. But these cake truffles don’t require any baking.

The recipe still begins by beating together butter and sugar. Then cake mix, flour, lemon zest, and vanilla extract get mixed in to make the truffles instead of cake batter. A touch of milk makes them the right consistency for rolling into balls to coat with either white chocolate or almond bark.

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup lemon cake mix

Zest of 1 small lemon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons milk

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons round sprinkles

16 ounces vanilla almond bark bar (or white chocolate)

Instructions

Beat together the butter and sugar using an electric mixer until combined.
Add the lemon zest. Blend in the vanilla. Add the cake mix, flour, salt, and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Add 1 Tablespoon of milk or more, if needed, to make a dough consistency.
Mix in the sprinkles by hand. 
Roll the dough into one inch balls and place on a parchment or wax paper lined cookie sheet. Chill the balls in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm up.
While the dough balls are chilling, melt the almond bark in the microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. Stir between intervals. 
Using a fork, dip the truffles into almond bark and shake off excess bark by tapping the bottom of the fork on the side of your bowl. 
Place the truffles back on the cookie sheet and top with sprinkles. Repeat with the remaining balls until finished. 
Chill the cake batter truffles in the refrigerator until serving. 


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5. Vanilla Egg Protein Custards



Serves 6

Calories 89 | Protein 8 grams | Carbs 1 grams | Fat 5 grams

Egg Custards are a traditional comforting dessert that are great for Christmas dinner parties.

These ones are as rich and decadent as normal, but are made healthier by removing the sugar and adding a scoop of whey protein powder.

Ingredients

3 cups unsweetened almond milk

4 large eggs

1 scoop Whey+ Vanilla Protein Isolate

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon liquid vanilla stevia

Ground cinnamon or nutmeg, for garnish

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 ℉.
Heat the milk until very hot, steaming but not boiling.
In a stand mixer, beat the eggs, protein powder, vanilla extract, stevia, and salt until blended.
Slowly stir some hot milk into the egg mixture to temper it, then pour in the rest gradually.
Grease or spray 6 ramekins and pour the egg custard mixture evenly into each dish.
Place the ramekins in a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish.
Sprinkle cinnamon or nutmeg over each custard and place the dish in the center of the oven.
Pour hot water into a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes then remove from the water bath to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Enjoy warm or refrigerate.


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6. Baked Rice Pudding



Serves 6

Calories 214 | Protein 8 grams | Carbs 36 grams | Fat 4 grams

If you have a heap of leftover rice to use up, you can quickly turn it into this healthy dessert.

Dump the rice in a baking dish, sprinkle raisins on top, and in a separate bowl stir together all the other ingredients before pouring them over top. An hour later, your whole kitchen will smell like cinnamon vanilla, and you’ll have a homemade rice pudding that’s warm and ready to eat up by the spoonful.

Ingredients

2 cups cooked rice

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (or sucanat)

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups low-fat milk

1 tablespoon. vanilla extract

1/4 cup raisins (double if desired)

1 teaspoon. ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Put the rice in an 8-inch x 8-inch pan, spreading evenly (no need to grease).
Sprinkle the raisins on top.
Mix all the remaining ingredients in a bowl.
Pour the liquid into the pan, covering the rice and raisins.
Bake for about 35 to 45 minutes at 350 ℉.
Let stand for 10 minutes to firm up.
Serve warm or cool.


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7. Chocolate Blueberry Cake



Serves 8

Calories 114 | Protein 4 grams | Carbs 34 grams | Fat 1 grams

This may look like an ordinary chocolate cake, but there’s a surprising ingredient in place of the oil or butter. Instead of using bananas or applesauce as healthy fat substitutes, this recipe includes blueberries. That makes an amazing low-fat cake that tastes amazing.

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup white whole-wheat flour

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground chia seeds (or ground flax)

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup blueberries

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup date syrup (or pure maple syrup)

1 cup blueberries, for serving

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 ℉. In a bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, chia (or flax) and salt. In a blender, combine the water, 1/2 cup blueberries, and balsamic vinegar and blend until smooth.
Make a well in the dry ingredients. Add the syrup and the blueberry mixture. Stir until completely mixed. Pour into an oiled 9-inch round cake pan.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before inverting onto a serving platter.
Serve with blueberries on top, drizzled with additional syrup or agave.


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8. Plum Sponge Cake



Serves 12

Calories 208 | Protein 5 grams | Carbs 40 grams | Fat 4 grams

A classic sponge cake only requires three ingredients: flour, eggs, and sugar. Since there’s no oil or butter, it has a lighter, somewhat springy texture.

What it’s often missing is much flavor, which is why sponge cake is either soaked in syrup (or rum) and covered