Cooking Low Carb at the Holidays – Delicious Main Dishes
Eating low carb at the holidays can seem almost impossible. Every holiday meal seems to focus on food, and bushels of it. Many of our favorites seem to be full of carbs: cakes, cookies and so on. One of the best strategies for sticking to your low carb lifestyle is to make the protein, or main courses, the main attraction at each festive gathering.
Most main dishes we think about over the holidays are naturally low-carb because they are usually protein-based. Choices such as turkey, duck, goose, and ham are traditional stars of the holiday table, but are they all equally nutritious and diet-friendly? Let’s take a look at some of the most popular and see how they stack up against each other.
Many families focus the meal on a great big, juicy, golden brown turkey. The good news is that turkey is not only gorgeous and tasty but naturally low in carbs. The protein helps you feel full for longer and the white meat is low in fat too. Buy a bird that is not self-basting, or just cook the breast if your family does not like dark meat.
Duck or Goose
Two popular birds to grace the festive table for the end of year holidays are duck and goose. Either one is a glorious addition to a beautiful table. They are both delicious, especially if you love the crispy skin. However, they are also both very high in fat.
Fat can help you feel full on a low carb diet, but all animal based fats have cholesterol. At our house, we tend to steer clear of duck and goose because the leftovers are not as versatile for a family as compared with a turkey or turkey breast.
If your family does not like dark meat, then these would also not be good choices to serve as a main course unless you were planning on a second protein to serve to fussier eaters. Ducks are much smaller than turkey or geese, with tiny drumsticks and wings in comparison. Given how expensive and unusual duck and goose tend to be, we recommend you stick to chicken or turkey for a large roast bird high in protein and low in carbs.
Holiday Ham or Pork Loin
A boneless ham or pork loin will also offer a lot of protein that is low in carbs if roasted and served in as natural a form as possible. If you do want to create a glaze, use unsweetened applesauce rather than maple syrup and lots of sugary fruit juice.
The leftovers for both of these meats are also quite versatile. The ham can be sliced or cubed and used in low carb wraps, omelets’ and crustless quiches. The pork loin is ideal when sliced or cut into strips and for stir try, low carb tacos, and low carb pulled pork made with homemade low carb barbecue sauce.
Whatever dish has star billing at your traditional holiday meal, there’s no need to douse it in sugary or starchy sauces. Serve in is natural a form as possible and create a main dish that is not only beautiful and tasty, but healthier too.