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Healthy Christmas Holiday Recipes

Healthy Christmas Holiday Recipes: Glazed Ham with Apricots, Low-fat Christmas Pavlova, Wine-Poached Pears

Christmas isn’t generally the time for low-fat, low calorie recipes. But if you’re concerned about overindulging, we’ve got some healthier options for this year’s Christmas dinner. Is a guilt-free family feast on your wish list?

This guest-worthy menu of healthy Christmas dinner recipes is loaded with flavor, not calories or fat.
Want to have a fantastic Christmas without piling on the pounds? Check out some recipes, it won’t leave you hungry!

Glazed Ham with Apricots

Yes, ham can be the centerpiece of a healthy meal, just choose a piece that’s lean (ask for shank), low-sodium, and smoked (to reduce fat). Amp up the flavor with apricots and mustard-marmalade glaze.

TOTAL TIME: 2:50 PREP: 0:35 COOK: 2:15 LEVEL: Easy SERVES: 16

Ingredients:
1 fully cooked bone-in smoked half ham
1 package dried apricot halves
2 tbsp. whole cloves
½ c. orange marmalade or apricot jam
2 tbsp. country-style Dijon mustard with seeds

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Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. With knife, remove skin and trim all but 1/8 inch fat from ham. Secure apricots with cloves to fat side of ham in rows, leaving some space between apricots. Place ham, fat side up, on rack in large roasting pan (17″ by 11 1/2″); add 1 cup water. Cover pan tightly with foil. Bake 2 hours.

After ham has baked 1 hour and 45 minutes, prepare glaze: In 1-quart saucepan, heat marmalade and mustard to boiling on medium-high. Remove foil from ham and carefully brush with some glaze. Continue to bake ham 30 to 40 minutes longer or until meat thermometer reaches 135 degrees F, brushing with glaze every 15 minutes. Internal temperature of ham will rise 5 to 10 degrees F upon standing. (Some apricots may fall off into pan as you glaze.)
Transfer ham to cutting board; cover and let stand 20 minutes for easier slicing. Slice ham and serve with apricots from pan.

SEE ALSO: How to lose weight by Christmas

Ham halves are available as butt or shank. The shank half looks more like a classic whole ham because it contains the leg bone. It’s also easier to carve than the butt half, and less fatty.

Accordion Potatoes

For seriously satisfying spuds, try these vitamin-rich reds. Creamier than russets and lower in starch, all they need is a drizzle of olive oil before roasting; sprinkle with parsley and thyme and serve.

TOTAL TIME: 0:47 PREP: 0:10 COOK: 0:37 LEVEL: Easy YIELD: 8 side-dish servings SERVES: 8

Ingredients:
8 large red potatoes
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Carefully slice each potato thinly without cutting all the way through.
Place potatoes on microwave-safe dish and cover with waxed paper. Cook in microwave on High 12 to 15 minutes or until easily pierced with tip of knife.

Transfer potatoes to metal baking pan. Carefully drizzle oil between slices. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 tea­spoon coarsely ground black pepper. Roast in oven 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer potatoes to platter; sprinkle with herbs.

Low-fat Christmas Pavlova

The tastiest Christmas wreath you are ever likely to meet. Plus it has less sugar than most meringues meaning you can have your wreath and eat it too.

Ingredients:
5 medium free-range egg whites
150g/5½oz caster sugar
250g/9oz low-fat natural yoghurt
1 orange, finely grated zest and 1 tbsp juice
drop of almond extract
pinch cinnamon
200g/7oz raspberries
50g/1¾oz flaked almonds, toasted
1 square of dark chocolate

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Directions:
Preheat the oven to 120C/100C Fan/Gas ½. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Whisk the egg whites in a clean glass bowl until soft peaks form. Add the sugar a teaspoon at a time and continue to whisk until you have stiff peaks and the meringue looks glossy.

Arrange 8 large spoonfuls of the mixture in a circle on the prepared tray in a ring to form a wreath. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven to 110C/90C Fan/Gas ¼ and bake for another 1½ hours.
Turn off the oven, leave the door ajar and leave until the meringues are cold.

Just before serving, make the topping. Mix together the yoghurt, orange zest and juice, almond extract and cinnamon.

Top the meringue with the yoghurt mixture and then scatter over the raspberries and almonds. Finely grate over the chocolate and serve.

Chocolate-Cinnamon Bread Pudding With Raspberry Sauce

Sound too rich to be healthy? It’s not. Egg whites cut cholesterol, while low-fat milk eliminates fat. Cinnamon and sugar add spicy-sweet flavors to rich semisweet chocolate. The raspberries provide fiber, heart-healthy antioxidants, and a slightly tart finish.

This low-fat bread pudding is made with multigrain bread and gets great flavor from chocolate chips, cinnamon and a sweet raspberry sauce topping.

Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 50 minutes Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1/8 of bread pudding and 2 tablespoons sauce)

SEE ALSO: When You Skip Sleep, You Eat 300+ More Calories the Next Day, Study Finds

Ingredients:
Cooking spray
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups 1% low-fat milk
6 cups (1/2-inch) cubed multigrain bread
1/3 cup coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate
1 (10-ounce) package frozen raspberries in light syrup, thawed
Fresh raspberries and/or mint sprigs (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
3. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl; stir well. Add eggs, egg whites, vanilla, and salt; stir well. Gradually stir in milk. Add the bread cubes and chocolate; stir well and let stand 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to baking dish.
4. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until puffed and set in center. Let stand at least 10 minutes.
5. While pudding bakes, puree thawed raspberries with their syrup in a food processor. Transfer mixture to a strainer placed over a bowl. Press on solids with a wooden spoon; discard seeds. Reserve sauce. Spoon 1/8 of pudding into dessert bowls or glasses. Serve with raspberry sauce. Garnish with fresh raspberries and mint sprigs, if desired.

Wine-Poached Pears

Dessert doesn’t get any more simple, elegant, or waist-whittling than this. It comes in at 200 calories, with 1 gram of fat, and the red wine is brimming with cancer-fighting resveratrol.

TOTAL TIME: 0:50 PREP: 0:10 COOK: 0:40 LEVEL: Easy YIELD: 8 servings SERVES: 8

Ingredients
1 bottle of red wine
2 c. water
1 c. sugar
4 star anise
8 medium pears with stems

Directions
In 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven, heat wine, water, sugar, and star anise just to boiling on high, stirring to dissolve sugar.
Meanwhile, peel pears, leaving stems on. With melon baller or small knife, core pears through blossom (bottom) end.
Place pears in wine mixture; heat to boiling. Cover and simmer on low 10 to 15 minutes, until pears are tender but still hold their shape, turning occasionally.
Remove pears to platter; discard star anise. Heat wine mixture to boiling on high. Cook 20 minutes, uncovered, to thicken liquid and reduce to 1 1/2 cups.
Cover pears and syrup separately; refrigerate 6 hours or up to 3 days. To serve, spoon syrup over pears.

Now you know that Christmas dinner can be low-cal.

Written by Valentin Bosioc

Valentin Bosioc - wellness specialist, certified personal trainer, certified fitness instructor, celebrity trainer, Musclemania Champion, Ninja Warrior Semifinalist, world wide motivator!

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