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At my house, we don’t really have any Christmas dinner traditions. For us, Christmas dinner varies year by year depending on which side of the family we’re celebrating Christmas with. With my dad’s family we often have subs for Christmas lunch, but Christmas Eve is where we bring out our traditional frozen eggnog; chocolate-coated buckeyes, pretzels, and caramels; Christmas cookies; Muenster cheese; Chicken-in-a-Biscuit crackers; and maybe some grilled shrimp. With my mom’s side of the family we often have a more traditional turkey or ham dinner on Christmas day, complete with mashed potatoes and gravy, salad, dinner rolls, and pie, but even then there’s not one dish in particular that always appears on the Christmas table.
I’ve heard that some families are very attached to certain dishes at Christmas, and green bean casserole is one such dish that I’ve heard mentioned over and over again so I thought I should offer a healthy alternative. If you’re headed to a Christmas feast and need a side dish that everyone (including you) can enjoy, take this green bean casserole! Its creamy, cheesy sauce and crunchy cracker topping will be a hit!
So how is a Trim Healthy Mama or low carber supposed to survive holiday parties and dinners? Here are a few of my tips:
- If you don’t think you’ll have many healthy options, eat something before you go so you’re not ravenous at the party. I recommend something protein-based with some satiating fats to curb cravings.
- Take something “safe” along that you know you can eat. Salad, a veggie tray, a healthy side dish like this green bean casserole – something to accompany the meat that will probably be served.
- When fixing your plate, start with protein. Turkey, ham, or if you’re at a finger-food party, summer sausage, cold cuts, or chip dips that look safe. Cheese slices can work too.
- Add veggies (and veggie dip is often fairly safe as well). Feel free to load up on plain cooked veggies and salad as well (no croutons!).
- Stay away from breads, crackers, sweet sauces, carb-y casseroles (i.e. green bean casseroles with Ritz cracker or French onion toppings), and of course cookies, pies, cakes, and any other sweets made with sugar.
- If you want to splurge, don’t throw everything you know out the window and eat everything in sight! Keep your splurges controlled and hop right back into your healthy eating lifestyle as soon as you get home.
For example, if we were having subs on Christmas Day, I would bring a Joseph’s pita or lavash bread and stuff it with mayo, meat, cheese, lettuce, and mustard.
For Christmas Eve, I would have grilled shrimp, cheese, and some of my healthy buckeyes, truffles, or peanut butter fudge (or all of the above). If I felt like it, I would make some healthy frozen eggnog, but in real life, I’ll probably have a small glass of the sugary stuff as a once-a-year treat (see point #6 above).
For a more traditional Christmas dinner, enjoy the turkey or ham, eat plenty of salad and cooked veggies (stay away from vegetable casseroles with carb-y toppings), and bring a healthy dessert to share! You can check out my pictorial dessert index here for ideas.
What’s your favorite vegetable casserole? Is it a Christmas tradition? Comment below and tell me!
You can find this recipe in my cookbook, Necessary Food.
- 4 cups frozen green beans, thawed
- ⅓ cup Greek yogurt (sour cream would probably work as well)
- ½ cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 T oat fiber
- ¼ tsp. each salt and black pepper
- Rounded ¼ tsp. onion powder
- 3 Light Rye Wasa crackers, crushed (or your favorite on-plan flavor)
- 2 T grated parmesan cheese (the kind from the green shake container)
- 2 T salted butter, melted
- Drain the beans in a colander and use your hands to press any excess liquid out. In a mixing bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, cheese, almond milk, oat fiber, and seasonings. Add the beans and stir to coat. Place this mixture in a small greased baking dish (I used an oblong pan that measured about 8.5x6.5").
- Combine the crumb ingredients and sprinkle them over the top of the casserole
- Bake uncovered at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes or until the beans are soft. Yields 5-6 servings.
I bet yellow squash might work in this casserole too! It would probably be a little more liquidy and wouldn't take as long to bake.
Instead of the Wasa crackers in the crumbs, you could try ½ cup crushed pork rinds or Joseph's pita crumbs.
- Oat Fiber
- Wasa Light Rye Crackers
- You can purchase gluten free oat fiber from the Trim Healthy Mama online store.