Bringing your own macro-friendly dishes to someone else's holiday meal can sometimes earn you death stares and the occasional rude comment—especially from that relative who has had a bit too much adult hot cocoa. So, why not host your family and friends at your place this year and treat them to traditional holiday fare they won't believe is actually good for them?
Make these four recipes the foundation of this year's holiday feast, and feel good knowing that everyone is eating well.
Slow Cooker Rosemary Fennel Turkey Breast
Rather than spending the morning wrestling with a large bird and making a mess in the kitchen, try the "fix it and forget it" approach. You'll free up your oven for other dishes and minimize cleanup with this slow-cooker staple.
And as a bonus, this turkey cooks on top of a bunch of delicious vegetables, so you'll end up with a built-in side dish! If you've never had veggies that have cooked under meat for hours and hours, well, let me just say these are what we end up fighting for in my house!
- Red onion, chopped, 2.5 cups
- Celery, chopped, 1 cup
- Fennel, chopped, 1-3/4 cups
- Olive oil, 2 tbsp
- Low-sodium chicken broth, 1 cup
- Whole tomatoes, 28-oz. can
- Crushed tomatoes, 14.5-oz. can
- Kosher salt, 5 tsp, divided
- Black pepper, 2-1/2 tsp, divided
- Rosemary, chopped, 4 tbsp
- Fennel seeds, whole, 2-1/2 tsp
- Orange zest, 2 tsp
- Red pepper flakes, 1-1/2 tsp
- Garlic, peeled and diced, 9 cloves
- Turkey breast, boneless and skinless, 3 lbs.
- Sauté the onion, celery, and fennel in extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Increase the heat to high, and stir in the chicken broth. Boil until the broth is reduced by half, about 2-3 minutes
- Break up the whole tomatoes with a wooden spoon, then add them to the broth.
- Stir in 1-1/2 teaspoons of the salt and half a teaspoon of pepper. Transfer the veggies to the slow cooker.
- Use a sharp knife to cut 1-inch slits in the turkey every inch. Insert garlic slices into each slit.
- Place the turkey breast on top of the veggies. Combine the rosemary, fennel, orange zest, pepper flakes, and remaining salt and pepper, and rub the seasoning all over the turkey. Press it in to make sure it sticks.
- Cook on low for 7-8 hours (or 4 hours on high if pressed for time).
- Serving size: 1 slice
- Recipe yields: 10 servings
- Calories: 208
- Fat: 4 g
- Carbs: 12 g (3 g fiber)
- Protein 31 g
Sweet-Potato Casserole With Brown Sugar Pecans
What holiday would be complete without sweet potatoes? Unfortunately, too many sweet potato dishes are sugar-laden and can lead to a dieting disaster. But not this version—it doesn't get much cleaner than this.
Even your relatives expecting the traditional marshmallow-topped casserole will be coming back for seconds.
- Sweet potato, 4 lbs.
- Pecan halves, 2 cups
- Sugar-free syrup, 1/4 cup
- Sea salt, 2-1/4 tsp
- Chinese five spice, 1 tsp
- Water, 1-1/2 cups
- Brown rice syrup, 2/3 cup
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Prick the potatoes all over with a fork, and wrap them individually in foil. Roast until soft throughout, about 60 minutes. Once done, unwrap the potatoes and let cool slightly.
- Combine the pecan halves, syrup, one teaspoon of the sea salt, and the Chinese five spice in a bowl. Remove the pecans once tossed, but save the rest of the bowl's ingredients.
- Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and place in a large food processor. Add the water, brown rice syrup, and remaining soaking juice, and blend until the potatoes are smooth.
- Spoon the potatoes into a 13x9x2 cast-iron baking dish or well-greased glass pan, and top with the soaked pecan halves.
- Bake the potatoes for 40 minutes. Let the dish cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
- Serving size: 1 square
- Recipe yields: 18 servings
- Calories: 212
- Fat: 8 g
- Carbs: 32 g (4 g fiber)
- Protein: 3 g
Warm Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Baby Kale Salad
If you're in need of an easy way to sneak greens into your meal, look no further. This recipe is so easy to make that I often hand it off to a willing guest to take care of. Get ready to hear the ooohs and aaaahs when your guests taste this mouthwatering salad.
- Olive oil, 1/4 cup
- Brussels sprouts, shaved, 2 9-ounce bags
- Apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp
- Brown rice syrup, 1 tbsp
- Baby kale, 5-ounce package
- Coarse sea salt, to taste
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add the Brussels sprouts and sauté until tender, about one minute.
- Add the vinegar and brown rice syrup, and stir to coat the Brussels sprouts.
- Add the kale and toss it until it starts to wilt, about one minute.
- Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the salad to a serving bowl. Top with sea salt to taste.
- Serving size: 1 cup
- Recipe yields: 5 servings
- Calories: 180
- Fat: 12 g
- Carbs: 13 g (5 g fiber)
- Protein: 5 g
Double-Crust Apple Crisp
Aside from tasting heavenly, this double-crust apple crisp will become a holiday staple because it bakes at the same oven temperature (and for nearly the same time) as the sweet-potato casserole. If the opportunity arises, simply bake them together to save on time!
You can also pop it in the oven just as you sit down for dinner; that way, by the time everyone finishes the rest of the meal, they can enjoy a warm, guilt-free dessert.
- Apples, 3 large (or enough to get 6 cups sliced)
- Lemon juice, 2 tbsp
- Sprouted wheat flour, 2 cups and 2 tbsp, divided
- Cinnamon, 2 tsp
- Sea salt, to taste
- Uncooked oats, 2 cups
- Baking soda, 1/2 tsp
- Baking powder, 1/2 tsp
- Coconut oil, melted, 1 cup
- Sugar-free vanilla syrup, 1/3 cup
- Water, 1/3 cup
- Brown rice syrup, 1/4 cup
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Toss the apple slices and lemon juice together in large bowl.
- Combine two tablespoons whole-grain flour with the cinnamon and salt, then toss with the apples.
- In a second bowl, combine the remaining flour with the oats, baking soda, and baking powder.
- Melt the coconut oil in the microwave for 15 seconds. Let it cool, then add it to the oat mixture and stir it with a fork or your hands until you achieve a slightly lumpy texture.
- Spray a 13x9x2 pan with nonfat cooking spray. Spread half of the crumb mixture in the bottom of the pan.
- Top the crumbs with a layer of apples, then pour the vanilla syrup and water atop the apples. Drizzle brown rice syrup on top of everything.
- Top the apples with the rest of the crumble mixture, then bake for 35-45 minutes until the apples are tender.
- Serving size: 1 square
- Recipe yields: 16 servings
- Calories: 259
- Fat: 15 g
- Carbs: 27 g (3 g)
- Protein: 4 g