These healthy and delicious Christmas recipes really do allow you to have your cake and eat it. There are healthy Christmas treats and recipes for a healthy Christmas dinner. Plus, there are side dishes, starters and those all-important sauces.
Health and Christmas may not naturally seem to go together hand in hand. But even at Christmas you may want to continue your healthy diet (or even start one!) Healthy Christmas recipes can be every bit as delicious and enjoyable, and a treat to share with friends and family. Sharing healthy food together is a lovely way to enjoy time together and care for friends and family.
Feasting around midwinter is a tradition that goes back thousands of years. And still today, food is a hugely important part of our Christmas celebrations. But nowadays most of us are lucky enough to have access to much more food than we would have done in the past.
According to a survey carried out for the Independent a couple of years ago, the average person eats nearly 6000 calories on Christmas day alone.
That’s 3 times the average energy requirement for a woman, and certainly enough to give many people a tummy ache.
For many of us Christmas lunch is the most important meal that we prepare throughout the year, and the average family spends over £150 on food and drink over the holiday period.
A traditional Christmas lunch isn’t inherently unhealthy. White meat, sprouts, carrots…. However, it’s the trimmings, the snacks and other treats that are pushing us towards the 6000 calories.
But you really can enjoy healthy Christmas treats which are better for you. Often it’s just a case of finding the right recipes.
So here are our favourite healthy and delicious Christmas recipes. Give some of them a try!
Healthy traditional Christmas recipes
These recipes are a healthy twist on Christmas classics. They are all low in added sugar, but traditional ingredients such as dried fruit and sweet spices add plenty of flavour.
No added sugar Christmas fruit cake
This low sugar fruit cake recipe has all the richness of dried fruit and sweet spices, but without the extra added sugar. Try decorating it with dried fruits and nuts rather than the usual icing. If you are on a low fat diet, try this fat free fruit cake recipe (it's also much lower in calories).
Honey and almond marzipan
This healthy marzipan recipe contains much more of the good-for-you almonds, and much less of the not-so-good-for-you sugar. It's an easy, healthy recipe that takes minutes to make. Roll it into balls to enjoy as sweets, or or use it to make decorations for your Christmas cake
Healthy mince pies
A healthy mincemeat bursting with juicy dried fruit, apple and Christmas spices, wrapped in a thin crisp pastry case. A homemade mince pie is always going to impress, so why not try this healthy mince pie recipe.
Healthy Christmas pudding recipe
This healthy Christmas pudding is lighter and spongier than a traditional pud. It's still rich in spices and dried fruit, but is also gluten free, low in saturated fat, and has no added sugar. It's a bit easier to digest after a big Christmas feast!
Alternative healthy desserts for Christmas
If you're not a fan of Christmas pudding, try one of these lighter desserts. They are special enough for Christmas day, but are low in added sugar and saturated fats.
Healthy trifle (gluten free)
This healthy trifle recipe is made with healthier ingredients. There's still delicious layers with a creamy custard, but less saturated fat and no gluten.
Low fat lemon cheesecake
This low fat lemon cheesecake is light, lemony and totally delicious. Made with a healthy oat base and cottage cheese, it still tastes like an indulgent dessert. The perfect antidote to a heavy Christmas lunch!
Avocado chocolate mousse
Avocado chocolate mousse is an incredibly easy, healthy recipe. It has a delicious indulgent creamy texture, and a rich chocolately taste. A healthy Christmas dessert for all chocolate lovers:)
Healthy Christmas treats
There's plenty of options for treats at Christmas that are delicious, nutritious and low in added sugar. Some of them also make ideal healthy edible Christmas gifts.
Coconut chocolate truffles
These super chocolatey rich and decadent truffles contain coconut butter and desiccated coconut. They deliver everything a good truffle should and make a perfect gift or after dinner treat.
Chocolate bliss balls
Chocolate bliss balls are well named. They are totally satisfying, rich and chocolate-y, but also packed with healthy goodness. Dust them in ground almonds or coconut if you want them to look like snowballs.
It's so easy to make a Christmas chocolate slab, and it looks spectacular. Perfect as an edible gift, or serve with coffee after dinner.
Cocoa dusted almonds
These little cocoa dusted roast almonds are so easy to make in just a few minutes. For an edible gift, pop them in a pretty jar.
Healthy Rocky Road
Healthy rocky road is a very popular choice over the festive season with both adults and children. Quick and easy to make, no baking required! The bars are gluten free and can easily be made dairy free and vegan.
Healthy Christmas cookies
The combination of dried cranberries and dark chocolate makes these healthy Christmas cookies a particularly good festive treat. They are low in sugar, but taste delicious and have a lovely chewy texture. They are also gluten free.
These healthy florentines are one of my favourite healthy Christmas recipes ever. They are the perfect combination of nuttiness and chocolate.
Gluten free biscotti
Crisp and delicious, these gluten free almond biscotti are perfect with a cup of coffee or a glass of sweet wine. And whilst these Italian cookies look rather fancy, they are very easy to make. They are also healthy and low in added sugar.
Healthy Christmas side dishes
There's lots of options for healthy Christmas side dish recipes. They are a great way to pack in lots of veggies and add extra colour for a healthy Christmas dinner.
Low fat dauphinoise potatoes
Who doesn't like creamy, garlicky potatoes? This low fat dauphinoise recipe is golden and delicious, and melts in the mouth, but contains a quarter of the fat in a conventional recipe. They are an ideal healthy Christmas side dish which you can prepare in advance.
Roast sweet potatoes, white potatoes and carrots
Adding sweet potatoes and carrots to your roasties adds extra goodness and flavour. White potatoes aren’t one of your five a day, but this recipe delivers two portions of veg. It’s as comforting as roast potatoes, and is great served with cold meats if you don’t want to risk something different on Christmas day itself.
For a healthy alternative to roast potatoes, try this roast swede. You'll be amazed how sweet and delicious it is, and the slightly earthy flavour works perfectly with roast meats.
Braised red cabbage
Braised red cabbage is a traditional Christmas side dish in our house. The recipe contains no added sugar, and is suitable for the slow cooker or the stove. It can be prepared in advance, and stored in the fridge for a couple of days. Or get ahead with the cooking, and pop it in the freezer. It’ll reheat easily on the big day, and there’s one less thing to think about.
Gluten free cauliflower cheese
Cauliflower cheese is a welcome addition to a Christmas dinner. This gluten free cauliflower cheese recipe is also lower in fat (and calories) than most recipes, and very easy to make.
Carrot and swede mash
If you are looking for mash with a difference, why not try this carrot and swede mash. It's naturally sweet and comforting, and goes perfectly with roast meats.
Gluten free Yorkshire puddings
Yorkshire puddings are so glorious that a lot of people enjoy them with their Christmas dinner. These gluten free Yorkshires are easy to make, crispy and delicious.
Gluten free sage and onion stuffing
Easy to make, this gluten free sage and onion stuffing is definitely superior to a packet! Packed with flavour, you can either use it to stuff a bird, or bake it separately for a lovely crispy top.
Healthy Christmas sauces
Sauces and accompaniments are part of what makes Christmas dinner so special. These recipes are a healthy twist on traditional Christmas sauces and are all lower in added sugar and saturated fat.
Gluten free onion gravy
Christmas dinner simply wouldn't work without a good gravy. This gluten free onion gravy is easy to make ahead. It's packed with flavour, and if you want a vegetarian gravy you can use the recipe for that too.
Healthy cranberry sauce
Traditional cranberry sauce is a perfect complement to turkey, and its bright colour looks very festive. However, bought cranberry sauce contains nearly as much sugar as jam. Homemade cranberry sauce is much healthier, and takes minutes to make. It can be made ahead and stored in the fridge ready for the 25th. It also makes a lovely gift if you have some pretty jars.
Gluten free bread sauce
It's really easy to make a delicious gluten free bread sauce with gluten free bread. Easy to make, and you can make it in advance if you prefer. A traditional English classic to serve with roast turkey.
Easy homemade custard without cream
Perfect for topping your Christmas pudding, this healthy custard without cream is really easy to make. Lump free custard guaranteed, and only one pan to wash up:) Lower in fat, and lower in calories.
Dairy free custard
If you or your family can't eat dairy products, fear not, this dairy free custard recipe is virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.
This delicious fig paste will add a sweet twist to your Christmas cheeseboard. It's made from dried figs with no added sugar. It makes a great alternative to chutney and is ready in 15 minutes.
Healthy apple chutney
Low sugar chutney goes perfectly with cold meats and cheese. This easy recipe has a lovely tangy flavour, and will store in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
Healthy Christmas starters
Carrot and apple soup
Adding a delicious soup to your menu is a great way to squeeze in some extra veg. This recipe for carrot and apple soup is perfect for the big day, or as a lighter lunch when you want something warm and comforting over the holiday season.
Quick, healthy mackerel pate
This healthy mackerel pate recipe takes minutes to make. Great to serve as part of a buffet or selection of nibbles, or as part of a light lunch. It is packed with omega 3 oils to keep you on top form over the festive period
Healthy Christmas leftovers recipes
This turkey cobbler recipe (with gluten free options) is perfect for using up leftovers. You can also use any leftover vegetables and gravy to make this wholesome, comforting fish.
Apple and mincemeat crumble
Apple and mincemeat crumble is perfect for using up leftover Christmas mincemeat. It's really easy to make, and gluten free.
Mincemeat crumble bars
Or, for a finger food version of Christmas crumble, you might like these mincemeat crumble slices. There's a thick layer of fruity mincemeat with a buttery oat crumble top and bottom.
Another recipe for leftover mincemeat, you can serve these Christmas mincemeat flapjacks as an alternative to mince pies. They are really quick and easy to make and full of healthy wholegrain oats.
Baked apples with mincemeat
You can also use leftover mincemeat to fill baked apples. These baked apples with mincemeat take just 10 minutes to prepare and can be cooked in the oven or the slow cooker.
Have you tried any of these recipes? Please leave a rating and/or comment at the bottom of the page. Your feedback and questions are much appreciated.
You can also follow me on Pinterest and Facebook.