When your family is on the whole food diet, the thought of holidays might seem a little difficult. However, you can still be excited for Christmas even while following this healthy lifestyle!
Here are some of the main difficulties with Christmas and being on the whole foods diet:
- Christmas is often centered around sweet treats, sugar, and chocolate
- Crafts often include candy and treats, including gingerbread houses and sugar cookies
- Stocking stuffers typically involve even more treats
- People enjoy having a big Christmas breakfast or dinner when unapproved foods
There are tons of ways to turn your whole foods Christmas into one where you start new traditions, have delicious food, and even try some brand new recipes. Gather your family around the table and follow some of these tips and tricks for having a whole foods Christmas.
Christmas Eve Whole Food Ideas
Many people have traditions for Christmas Eve that are hard to break. While Christmas morning is usually reserved for a lighter breakfast and opening gifts, Christmas Eve is usually when you eat a big meal with just your family and then often have some type of treatment afterward. You might even have a tradition of making a gingerbread house, which is fun to look at but uses a lot of sugary candy that is not allowed on your whole foods diet. Luckily, there are still lots of options available to you. Here are some different variations on these ideas so that you can still enjoy Christmas Eve with your family, but also stick to the whole foods lifestyle.
Believe it or not, you can make a fruit salad in place of other treats, and everyone in your family will love it! The concept behind this is to not just chop up fruit and throw it in a bowl. This is boring and isn’t going to help your family, particularly your kids, feel like it is a treat. There are a couple of things you want to do with your fruit salad to make it special. First of all, use some fruits that are fun to combine in the winter but that maybe you don’t have all that often. Some good winter fruits to use are bananas, pomegranate, mandarin oranges, kiwis, and apples. The next thing you can do is use a dressing on top that only contains ingredients you are able to have on the whole foods diet. For example, you can make a lemon dressing with lemon juice, olive oil, honey, and poppy seeds. To make it a little sweeter, add some coconut sugar.
You might not be able to make your usual Christmas cookies or make the gingerbread house, but you can combine these two ideas and make gingerbread cookies. Gingerbread cookies are actually whole foods-friendly, not to mention dairy-free and work great if you are on the Paleo diet. The basic ingredients used for gingerbread cookies include molasses, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, cloves, salt, coconut oil, and maple syrup. They usually ask for flour, but you can switch it to almond flour. Tapioca starch can also be added to these cookies.
Winter Glazed Salmon
If you want to make your Christmas Eve dinner extra-special, why not combine a classic meal with a winter twist? A good option is to take healthy salmon and glaze it with ingredients that are popular in the winter, such as rosemary and orange. For the glaze, you can use fresh rosemary, lemon juice, orange juice, honey, orange zest, and cornstarch. Apply the glaze over the salmon, then cook it on the stove with some olive oil. Your family will feel like they are having a special treat on Christmas Eve.
Christmas Breakfast Whole Food Ideas
You may also be a family that likes to make a big breakfast on Christmas morning. Unfortunately, making your traditional cinnamon rolls or egg and cheese quiche isn’t going to cut it when you make the switch to the whole foods diet. Luckily, there are some alternatives that are close to the breakfast foods you enjoy eating but don’t contain sugar, milk, cheese, and other ingredients that are big no-nos. Try out one of these Christmas morning breakfast recipes to wake up to.
Eggs and Potatoes
First of all, if you usually make a big breakfast with homemade quiche or cheese omelets with potatoes, you can still make this breakfast, but do it a little bit differently. Instead of making a quiche with eggs, cheese, and milk, you can instead make a simple scramble. A scramble doesn’t need any milk or cheese as long as you have other ingredients. Put olive oil in the pan, then add chopped veggies to sautee them. Onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, and spinach are all really good veggie options to pair with eggs. Once the veggies are soft, add your beaten eggs and cook them together with the veggies. You can then serve on a plate with any type of potatoes you like.
Does your family like to have a big plate of waffles on Christmas morning? Instead of regular waffles that contain ingredients not allowed on the whole foods diet, you can instead have gingerbread waffles. These are really delicious, super festive, and healthy. For your gingerbread waffles, you will need almond butter and almond milk, eggs, coconut oil, molasses, vanilla extract, coconut flour, baking soda and baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, and allspice. Combine these ingredients and add the batter to your waffle maker. Once they are done, add the almond butter and some pure maple syrup.
Hot Fruit Bake
Fruit for breakfast sounds boring, but when you make a hot fruit bake with seasonal spices, it turns into a delicious Christmas morning treat. Use seasonal fruits that remind you of Christmas, such as pears, cranberries, and apples, then combine them with coconut sugar, honey, and lemon juice. Add some spices to really add to the flavor, such as nutmeg and cinnamon. You can also add some walnuts on top.
Christmas Dinner Whole Food Ideas
Now it is time to think about your Christmas dinner! As you know, if you choose to make a ham, roast beef, or turkey, your family can definitely enjoy that while on the whole foods diet. You just want to be careful about adding sugar and certain ingredients that aren’t allowed on this diet. However, it is usually the appetizers and side dishes to the Christmas dinner that you can’t eat, such as the butter and milk in potatoes and the creamed soup in your green beans. The following recipe ideas are perfect for Christmas dinner and 100 percent whole foods-friendly.
Brussels Sprouts With Cranberries
What better vegetable than Brussels sprouts to go with your Christmas dinner? This vegetable is low in fat, super healthy, and is even a superfood. Not to mention the fact that it is perfect for the holidays since it happens to be in season during the winter. To make it more of a festive side dish, you can sautee the brussels sprouts in some olive oil, adding seasonings like salt and pepper, and maple syrup. When they’re done, drizzle balsamic vinegar, and add cranberries and pecans on top. This is a simple recipe and one that your family will enjoy without feeling like it is a “diet” food.
Pineapple Honey Ham
Instead of having a regular ham for your Christmas dinner, why not go with a more unique recipe? Pineapple is often considered a summer fruit, but many regions have it in season in the winter, and it is the perfect combination to go with honey when making your ham. This gives your ham a nice sweet taste without having to use any sugar. For the glaze on the ham, you want to use organic honey, stone ground mustard, and pineapple juice. Instead of sugar, you can add some coconut palm sugar to the recipe if you need it a little bit sweeter.
Stuffed Acorn Squash
Another winter vegetable that goes great with Christmas dinner is acorn squash. These are small yellow squashes shaped like acorns. You can stuff them instead of chopping to make a really fun side dish for your holiday dinner. For a really impressive stuffed acorn squash, combine almond butter with coconut palm sugar, then mix in some chopped walnuts and fresh cranberries. Take this mixture and stuff each half of the acorn squash, then bake it.
Christmas Dessert Whole Food Ideas
Now it is time to discuss your dessert! This is often one of the most difficult parts of being on any type of “diet” during Christmas, though you should look at the whole foods diet as more of a lifestyle. For dessert on Christmas, you want to think about ways to have something sweet that looks and tastes like a treat, but doesn’t contain regular table sugar, cream, or some of the other ingredients that aren’t good for you and not included in the whole foods diet plan. Here are some desserts even your kids will be impressed by for Christmas.
Chocolate Coconut Fudge
Fudge is a crowd favorite for Christmas, but it is usually made with chocolate that contains dairy along with regular milk to make it creamier. However, this recipe isn’t going to use any type of dairy. Instead of regular chunks of chocolate, you want to use dairy-free dark chocolate pieces or chips. You can usually find them in your baking aisle. Combine these with coconut milk, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. For the coconut layer, you will use shredded coconut, coconut oil, and coconut milk, vanilla extract, and pure maple syrup.
Fruit With Coconut Whipped Topping
A simple way to make a healthy dessert for Christmas is to have bowls of winter fruits, such as the ones previously mentioned, then top them with whipped topping. Unfortunately, you can’t usually regular whipped topping since it contains dairy. However, there are lots of recipes for making whipped topping from coconut milk instead of regular milk.
Eggnog is a very popular drink to have at Christmas, and eggnog fudge is quickly gaining popularity. While you can’t make the eggnog fudge, you can still make eggnog bites that are similar but don’t use any type of sugar, dairy, or flour that is not approved for your whole foods lifestyle. The eggnog bites will use almond or coconut flour instead of regular flour, along with coconut palm sugar, sea salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, nut butter, and soy eggnog.
More Tips For Staying Whole During Christmas
If you are still concerned with your family’s ability to remain on the whole foods diet during Christmas, here are some more tips that can be really helpful.
Take the Focus Off the Food
So much of Christmas and the traditions families tend to have involved food, which often involves unhealthy food and treats. Even if you allow yourself the occasional treat, associating food with a certain holiday is a dangerous trend to start. This puts it in your mind that you can only enjoy that holiday if you eat this certain food or drink a certain type of Christmas cocktail. Instead of doing that, focus on the real meaning of Christmas and spend quality time with your family. Don’t put as much emphasis on certain foods and treats, and instead listen to music, watch Christmas movies, and make crafts.
Choose Activities That Don’t Involve Treats
Speaking of crafts, your Christmas activities don’t have to involve food. Sure you might enjoy making gingerbread houses or decorating sugar cookies, but what if you found some activities that had nothing to do with food? There are tons of activities and crafts that you can do as a family on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day after all of the gifts have been opened. Choose a gift for each child to open on Christmas Eve that also turns into an activity, such as a movie to watch or a new game to play together.
Find Alternatives to Your Family’s Favorites
There are always alternatives to the favorites your family used to enjoy on Christmas. While you shouldn’t rely on replacing your favorites with a whole foods replica, it is okay during special occasions. For example, there is a recipe here for gingerbread waffles instead of regular waffles, and you can find recipes for a whole foods version of mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, chocolate fudge, and even chocolate chip cookies.
Start Brand New Traditions
Now is a great time to start some new traditions on Christmas with your family. You are teaching your kids that eating treats and stuffing their mouths with sugar is not the only way to enjoy themselves. Become active around the holidays, starting a tradition of going on a Christmas Eve walk around your neighborhood, singing carols for the neighbors, or getting in front of the fire with a blanket and watching a movie.