Here at CarbSmart, we’ve given you lots of ideas to make your holiday low in carbs! How nice it will be to get to the New Year without all those extra pounds and roller-coaster blood sugar! But what about the big day itself? Should we throw caution to the wind in order to enjoy the day? Not necessary! You can have festive low-carb foods on Christmas. I’ll take you through some of the usual treats, and talk about how to cut way down on the sugar and starch, without sacrificing the enjoyment.
Eggnog – Traditional eggnog is actually pretty low-carb except for the sugar. I have de-carbed a traditional recipe made with eggs and cream, or you can cheat! Just mix together whatever combination of milk, cream, unsweetened almond milk, or whatever low-carb combination you like. Then add eggnog-flavored sugar-free syrup (Da Vinci’s is one brand), and whatever alcohol you want, with a little nutmeg sprinkled over the top.
Festive Cocktails – A Cosmopolitan cocktail is a pretty red drink, but regular ones have at least 4 teaspoons of sugar, and often much more. Here’s my recipe for a Low-Carb Cosmo, which uses diet cranberry juice and a few drops of orange extract.
Cheese, nuts, and raw vegetables with dip are easy to put out, without a lot of extra work. Spreads can go on cucumber rounds. If you like, you can dress up the nuts in five minutes — just put them in a pan with some butter, cinnamon, cayenne, and sweetener (recipe).
The Main Meal
Of course, the center of the meal will be whatever “roast beast” you prefer. In our house, we tend to do a “Thanksgiving Reboot”, especially since we are often away for Thanksgiving. Here are de-carbed versions of a few of the traditional sides.
Cranberry Sauce – Cranberries are really a wonderful low-carb fruit, delicious and packed full of nutrients. The only problem with them is that they are very tart, so they are usually loaded down with added sugars (and aren’t very good on their own). Simply add the sugar substitute of your choice instead. You can make a super-easy plain cranberry sauce in no time — just boil them until they pop and add a bit of salt and the sugar substitute to taste (if you’d rather see a recipe, I have one here). If you want something fancier, try this Sugar-Free Cranberry Chutney, or if you lean more to Jello salads, check out this Sugar-Free Cranberry Jello Salad. Also Dana Carpender’s low carb cranberry sauce recipe.
Mashed Potatoes – Probably the most popular low-carb substitute for mashed potatoes is mashed cauliflower, but there are many root vegetables that have much less carbohydrate than potatoes – turnips, rutabagas, or celery root (celariac) are good choices. Compare the carbs in different root vegetables. If you want a fancier dish, I recommend this Mashed Cauliflower Gratin, which also draws great comments when I serve it.
Sweet Potato Casserole – Sweet potatoes or yams don’t have to have gloppy marshmallows on the top! You can roast them simply in the oven as you would a baked potato, and serve with butter and/or a sprinkle of bourbon. Or make this casserole with a pecan topping instead of the marshmallows.
Stuffing/Dressing – When serving roast turkey or chicken, I really like to have dressing. Susie’s and Dana’s low-carb stuffing recipes look wonderful! Here is mine, made with a lot of vegetables and some almond meal based stuffing bread.
There are often sweets around on Christmas Day, and, of course, dessert! Here are some ideas that won’t send your blood sugar through the roof:
Very Easy Sugar-Free Fudge – No cooking for this chocolate peanut butter fudge! Just mix it up in minutes, spread it in a pan, and chill. Only caveat is that you need powdered (not granulated!) erythritol. Done!
Very Easy Chocolate Rum Balls – Also no cooking! You can use any alcohol, or none. Made with almond flour.
Pumpkin – My low-carb pumpkin pie (with pecan crust) has been called “the best pumpkin pie” by people who don’t realize it’s low-carb. Or try a Low-Carb Pumpkin Cheesecake, or a Low-Carb Pumpkin Roll.
A Merry Christmas to all!
What will be on your Christmas Dinner table?