Dinner-table indulgence is almost as ubiquitous a part of Christmas as Santa. Unfortunately, your body isn't going to process the calories you consume on Christmas differently than it will process the calories you consume on any other day, so going too hard on the cookies could get you in some major trouble.

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While it's unrealistic to think that most people will make it through the season with no "cheats" or indulgences, it is important to stick to the healthy stuff when you can, which is easy to do when the healthy stuff is this delicious!

First, what's Christmas without a little apple cider? Unfortunately, while apples themselves are one of the healthiest foods around, adding copious amounts of sugar to them is a pretty bad idea. Most eight ounce servings of apple cider will have over a hundred calories, plus around twenty grams of sugar.

More egregious offenders, like the syrup-and-whipped cream loaded Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice, offer nearly four hundred calories and nearly eighty grams of sugar! Our recipe, on the other hand, contains only fifty calories and nine grams of sugar per serving, half as much as the typical stuff.

Our simple recipe also replaces the added sugar with healthy stevia and brings a ton of flavor thanks to some fat-burning spices. Party guests who are of age and not currently on the 123Diet are also free to experiment with spiking our cider with a little whiskey!

applecider

Then, there's our crunchy cinnamon chickpeas, an easy to make substitute for the far-higher calorie nuts that's sure to please all your family's vegans and health freaks.

In one 54 calorie serving, this simple snack will offer you over ten percent of your recommended daily intake of the vitamin folate, plus small amounts of the minerals iron, phosphorus, copper, and manganese.

The high protein and fiber content of chickpeas also means that this low-calorie appetizer could help you feel more satiated when it comes time for your main course. Finally, since these chickpeas are topped with cinnamon, you'll get to enjoy some extra fat-burning and anti-inflammatory benefits as well.

Rounding out our luscious Christmas feast is a lovely chicken bruschetta. Our version actually has a lot in common with typical bruschetta recipes when it comes to the sauce itself.

However, we left the cheese and olive oil optional, switched up the plain vinegar to fat-burning apple cider, and swapped the bread on which bruschetta is traditionally served for some melba toast crumbs, which we use to coat the chicken.

There's not much to lose by giving these healthy swaps a try this Christmas. In January, we're pretty certain you'll be glad you did!

merrychristmas2

Hot Apple Cider

apple cider

This apple cider has all of the fun but way less of the sugar! Estimated nutritional value of 50 calories, .4g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 10.3g carbohydrates, 0.6g fiber, .3g protein, and 9.1g sugar.

Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook time
10 minutes
Yield
1 serving (1 fruit)

Ingredients

  • 1 apple juiced (pulp can be used for apple cookies)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of allspice
  • Pinch of lemon zest
  • Stevia to taste
  • Water

Directions
Heat the juice with spices and a little water in a small saucepan. Serve hot with a cinnamon stick.

Recipe provided by

Crunchy Cinnamon Chickpeas

crunchy cinnamon chickpeas

This light and crunchy snack is sure to be the hit of your table! Estimated nutritional value of 54 calories, .8g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 9 g carbohydrate, 2.1g fiber, 2.8g protein, and .3g sugar.

Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook time
40 minutes
Yield
4 servings (1 protein each)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked and cooled chickpeas
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 packets (2g) of Stevia

Directions
Preheat oven to 400ºF (180ºC fan-forced oven/ 200ºC conventional oven). In a mixing bowl, combine the chickpeas, cinnamon, and stevia. Mix them all together and then spread them on a lined baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, tossing them around every to minutes. Make sure they don’t burn, but make sure they are completely baked as well. Turn the oven off, crack the door, and allow them to cool slowly with the oven. Remove, then make sure they are completely cooled before storing in a air-tight jar.

Recipe provided by

Bruschetta Chicken

bruschetta chicken

Enjoy a light spin on a tasty Italian classic! Estimated nutritional value of 279 calories, 4.1g fat, 64 mg cholesterol, 31.9 g carbohydrate, 4.9g fiber, 28.6g protein, and 7.5 g sugar.

Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook time
1 hour
Yield
Makes 1 serving (1 protein, 1 vegetable, 1 Melba toast)

Ingredients

  • 100 grams thick sliced or whole chicken breast
  • 1 Melba toast crushed into crumbs
  • 2 medium Roma tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Bragg’s liquid aminos
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 3 large fresh basil leaves rolled and sliced
  • Pinch of dried oregano
  • Pinch of marjoram
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions
Marinate chicken in lemon juice, Bragg's, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Mix Melba toast crumbs with dry spices. Coat the chicken in Melba crumbs/herb mixture and fry chicken in small pan until golden brown. Deglaze the pan periodically with a little broth to keep chicken from burning.

For the bruchetta sauce; chop tomatoes finely and put into small bowl. Roll basil leaves together, crush lightly and cut horizontally to create fine slices. Mix ingredients together with lemon juice, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Serve chilled bruchetta sauce over the hot chicken.

Phase 3 Modifications
Brush chicken breasts with olive oil and substitute balsamic vinegar (check the sugar count) for the bruchetta. Serve with fresh grated parmesan cheese or lay a slice of provolone cheese over the breast then top with bruchetta sauce.

Recipe provided by

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