If you are hosting the big Christmas meal this year, kill two turtle doves with one stone and eliminate the stress of deciding what to feed your guests and the stress of worrying about weight gain by choosing from the recipes below. We've rounded up tons of healthy, lighter versions of Christmas classics sure to satisfy the health-conscious and taste-conscious guests on your list.
Apricot Citrus Stuffed Ham: Stuff your ham with a light, vibrant fruit and a touch of honey for an interesting and vitamin-packed spin on a Christmas pig.
Rack of Lamb with Warm Apple Lentil Salad: Let them eat lamb! Earthy lentils with warm apples make this rack of lamb dish a comfort food that's surprisingly easy to prepare.
Pork Chops with Apple Cider Sauce: Pork chops and apple sauce--there is no combination more classic. Make that apple sauce apple CIDER sauce and we have a winner!
Salmon with Mushrooms and Red Pepper Sauce: Who says the main event needs to be meat? Wow your crowd and give them a healthy dose of Omega-3s by serving up salmon. Even the biggest carnivores will be asking for more.
Acorn Squash with Cranberry Apple Stuffing: Nothing says winter like acorn squash. Bake up this healthy squash and instantly have an elegant serving bowl for the tangy cranberry apple stuffing your guests will ooh and ahh over.
Brussels Sprout Sauté: Convert Brussels sprout haters with this easy sauté. Pancetta adds a salty crunch to this bright and light dish. Top with a poached egg to really impress.
Savory Broccoli Cauliflower Roast: Keep it simple, stupid, with this roasted vegetable dish. Citrus and green olives add an interesting twist to your table.
Grilled Endive with Sage Vinaigrette: Expose your friends and family to the joy that is endive. This simple grilled endive recipe from Integrative Nutrition with a zesty vinaigrette over your Christmas table is the perfect way for them to meet.
Apple, Leek and Butternut Gratin: Skip the potatoes and slip in layers of fruit and vegetables for a gratin that's just as satisfying as the usual cheesy, carby counterpart. Trade in the fat and calories for fiber and beta carotene with this hearty recipe.
Accordion Potatoes: Potatoes get a bad rap, but it's undeserved. White potatoes pack a healthy dose of protein, fiber and potassium. Let them shine in all their carb glory with simple toppings like olive oil and herbs.
Cauliflower Couscous: A great dish for vegetarians AND veggie-phobics, this dish is a Christmas dinner miracle.
Vegan Sweet Potato Corn Bread Recipe: The natural sweetness of the sweet potato adds a complex flavor to the corn bread, as well as a dense, creamy texture even non-vegans will love.
Zesty Orange Quinoa Stuffing: Quinoa is a whole grain powerhouse, full of protein and calcium. Use it in place of bread crumbs for a nutrient dense stuffing with a citrus twist.
Cinnamon and Vanilla Walnuts: Walnuts are a great source of heart healthy fats. Dress them up with a little cinnamon and vanilla for a sweet treat you can feel good about.
NO Bake Pumpkin Tarts: These pumpkin tarts are gluten-free, dairy-free, bake-free and vegan. The only thing they are full of is flavor and awesome nutrition!
Apple Crisp: With a ton of fiber coming from the flax, apples and oats, this dessert is the perfect way to cap off your Christmas meal: full and satisfied without one ounce of guilt- or weight gain.
Kelly Turner is a Seattle-based ACE-certified personal trainer and professional fitness writer. She began writing after becoming frustrated with the confusing and conflicting fitness information in the media and the quick-fix, gimmick-centered focus of the fitness industry itself. Her no-nonsense, practical advice has been featured on DietsInReview.com, FitnessMagazine.com, Yahoo! Shine, and she has a regular fitness column in The Seattle Times. Kelly has her own blog at www.kellyturnerfitness.com or follow her on Twitter @KellyTurnerFit.