no stress holiday menu

The stakes are high, the pressure is on, but at Nourishing Lab we are all about simplifying holiday meal prep so it’s small on stress and big on crowd-pleasing foods that pack a healthy punch. My number-one tip? No matter how the dinner turns out, try to be at peace with it. Overcooked the green beans? Charred the tenderloin? No one will remember—it’s the funny stories and engaging conversation that stay with us.

Start Simply.

vegetable platter on a budget

photo courtesy of Brown Paper Nutrition

You do not have to bake and create everything from scratch. Sometimes the simplest starters are actually the most crowd pleasing. How about a grazing-style cheese platter? 

  • Start with simple crudites (carrots, peppers, celery) and serve with a goat or sheep cheese
  • Almonds and cashews
  • Build in a side of hummus, and why not with some blended spinach to get some greens in there?
  • Add seed crackers or gluten-free Mary’s Gone Crackers
  • Look for authentic sourdough bread (low in gluten!)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sicilian Olives (get your Omega-3 healthy fats)
  • Pears and Apples
  • Grapes
  • Fermented pickles – Bubby’s makes my all-time favorite

This is super simple and also economical. Healthy holiday eating need not break the bank!

Pour Wisely.

I always go for spirits like tequila or vodka with club soda and a bit of lime or lemon. The key here is sugar content: Generally, the higher the sugar, the worse the hangover. Wine tends to be high in sugar and will most likely give you a killer headache the next day (hello, #redwinehangover). If you decide to serve wine, look for organic and biodynamic wines to reduce sulfates and pesticides that can contribute to the hangover. It will also help to stay away from mixers like juice, simple syrups and non-diet sodas. Instead, have fun with healthy pops like mint, lime wedges or lemon twists, fresh ginger, fruit, cucumber or herbs. Arm yourself with these cocktail recipes so you’ll never find yourself wondering what to sip!

Tastes Lovely Skinny Cocktail 

skinny margarita

NL Avocado Margarita 

cocktails

Ruby Thyme Spritzer 

healthy cocktail

Make Your Main.

Don’t overthink it: This can be as simple as cooking a tenderloin or as complex as a crown roast. Here are a couple of recipes I like.

Martha Stewart Beef Tenderloin 

tenderloin

Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Shallots, Poached Pears, and Blue Cheese

pork tenderloin

pork tenderloin

Select Your Sides.

If I could just have a meal of sides, I would (in fact, I have!). There are so many creative ways to get your veggies on the table in a festive way, and the best part is, you can make these in advance.

Rosemary Garlic Potatoes 

rosemary potatoes

Make Ahead Honey Roasted Carrots

roasted carrots

Don’t Forget Dessert.

Want to indulge? Go ahead. There’s always the Golden Goddess Plate to get you back on track. Or try my holiday smoothies for indulgence, without indigestion.

Smoothies For The Holidays

smoothie

photo courtesy of Oh She Glows

 

Published On: December 4, 2019|By |
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