The holidays are a time for celebration, togetherness and sharing great food. But since heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and type 2 diabetes affects at least 24 million American adults and children, a healthier take on holiday dishes can benefit the whole family.

Cheryl Forberg, R.D., consulting dietitian to NBC-TV’s “The Biggest Loser,” New York Times best-selling author and James Beard award-winning recipe developer, and Suzanne Steinbaum, D.O., preventive cardiologist, are here to help consumers make smart dietary choices so they can have their cake (or pumpkin flan) and eat it, too.

“Heart disease and diabetes are largely preventable with a heart-smart diet, exercise and other healthy habits,” Steinbaum said. “It’s important to watch total calories and portions and eat predominantly unsaturated fats along with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean meats.”

To make it easier to stick to this advice during the indulgent holiday season, Forberg has developed the following heart-healthy, diabetes-friendly holiday recipes for a meal makeover that’s both nutritious and delicious.

Turkey Roulade

Turkey Roulade

This elegant turkey entree with stuffing offers a unique presentation of America’s traditional holiday combination.

Yield: 8 servings.
Serving size: 2 slices (4 ounces).

Ingredients:

  • Plastic wrap
  • 1/2 boneless, skinless turkey breast, about 1-1/2 lb (750 g)
  • 1-1/2 cups Cornbread and Dried Fruit Dressing (375 mL)
  • kitchen twine
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika (1 mL)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (1 mL)
  • 1/4 tsp marjoram (1 mL)
  • 1/4 tsp thyme (1 mL)
  • 1/4 tsp sage (1 mL)
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil (15 mL)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C).
  2. Place large piece of plastic wrap on countertop. Place turkey breast half on plastic and cover. Cover with additional plastic wrap. Using meat mallet, pound turkey to rectangle about 9-10 X 6 inches, about 1/4-inch thick.
  3. Remove plastic wrap from top of turkey and spread dressing evenly lengthwise over surface, almost to edge. Roll turkey lengthwise. With kitchen twine, tie roulade lengthwise once and in several places across turkey. Discard plastic wrap.
  4. In small bowl, mix together spices. Rub canola oil over all surfaces of roulade; rub spice blend evenly over roulade.
  5. Place roulade in shallow roasting pan, then place in oven. Roast for 45 to 60 minutes or until internal temperature measured with an instant-read thermometer reads 155F (68C).
  6. Remove roulade from oven and let rest 15 minutes before carefully removing twine and slicing into 16 half-inch slices. Serve with Porcini Mushroom Gravy, Warm Apple and Cranberry Sauce and extra Cornbread and Dried Fruit Dressing.

Nutritional Information Per Serving
Calories: 140
Total Fat: 3.5 g
Saturated Fat: Less than 1 g
Cholesterol: 65 mg
Sodium: 150 mg
Carbohydrates: 5 g
Fibre: 0 g
Protein: 22 g

Cornbread and Dried Fruit Dressing

Cornbread and Dried Fruit Dressing

This colourful dressing has layers of flavour that allow for a delicious side dish on its own as well as blend well in the Turkey Roulade entree.

Yield: 6 cups (1.5 L); enough for Turkey Roulade and 8 side dish servings. Serving size: 1/2 cup (125 mL).

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cornbread cubes, dried (1 L)
  • 4 oz lean Italian turkey sausage, casing removed (125 g)
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil (15 mL)
  • 1 cup chopped yellow or white onions (250 mL)
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery (60 mL)
  • 1/4 cup chopped carrot (60 mL)
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 4 each dried apricots and pitted dried plums, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme (2 mL)
  • 3/4 tsp dried sage (4 mL)
  • 1/4 tsp dried marjoram (1 mL)
  • 1 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth (250 mL)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley (60 mL)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (2 mL)
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper (1 mL)
  • Canola oil cooking spray
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Place cornbread cubes in large bowl and set aside.
  2. In small nonstick skillet, cook sausage over medium to high heat, crumbling and stirring until brown and cooked through. Drain well and set aside.
  3. In large nonstick skillet, heat canola oil over medium heat. Stir in onions, celery and carrot; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute longer, but don’t allow garlic to brown. Stir in sausage, apricots, plums, thyme, sage, marjoram and 1/4 cup (60 mL) broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes. Remove from heat; pour vegetable mixture over cornbread. Add parsley and stir well. Season with salt and pepper. (Dressing may be prepared to this stage a day ahead and refrigerated, covered.)
  4. Whisk together egg and remaining 3/4 cup (175 mL) broth and pour over cornbread mixture, tossing well. Spray 2-quart (2.25 L) baking dish with canola oil cooking spray (use larger baking dish if not reserving dressing for Turkey Roulade) and transfer all but 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) of dressing to baking dish. Cover dish with foil and set aside.
  5. After Turkey Roulade has been in oven 30 minutes, place covered baking dish of dressing in oven. After 15 minutes (or when internal temperature of roulade, measured with instant-read thermometer, is 155F), remove roulade from oven and remove foil from baking dish with dressing. Continue baking dressing for about 15 minutes or until top begins to brown.

Nutritional Information Per Serving
Calories: 100
Total Fat: 3.5 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 30 mg
Sodium: 310 mg
Carbohydrates: 12 g
Fibre: 1 g
Protein: 3 g

Porcini Mushroom Gravy


Porcini Mushroom Gravy

While it sounds luxuriously rich, this gravy is light on calories and fat so you can enjoy all of the flavour with none of the guilt.

Yield: 2 cups (500 mL); 8 servings. Serving size: 1/4 cup (60 mL).

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms (15 g)
  • 2 Tbsp warm water (30 mL)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 6 Tbsp white whole-wheat flour (90 mL)
  • 2 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth (500 mL)
  • 3/4 tsp salt (optional) (4 mL)
  • 1 tsp onion powder (5 mL)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper or to taste (1 mL)

Instructions:

Content Continues Below ⤵

  1. Soak mushrooms in warm water for 5 minutes.
  2. In 2 quart saucepan, heat canola oil over medium heat. Whisk in flour until blended and continue stirring until roux is lightly browned and develops nutty aroma.
  3. Whisk in broth, optional salt and onion powder. Bring to a gentle boil until just thickened, stirring. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat and season with pepper. Add softened mushrooms and any soaking liquid.
  4. Puree gravy in food processor or food mill. Return mixture to saucepan. Heat just to a simmer.

Nutritional Information Per Serving

Calories: 50

Total Fat: 3 g

Saturated Fat: 0 g

Cholesterol: 0 mg

Sodium: 115 mg

Carbohydrates: 5 g

Fibre: 2 g

Protein: 1 g

Warm Apple and Cranberry Sauce

Warm Apple and Cranberry Sauce

Nothing beats cooking with apples and cranberries for the holidays and this homemade sauce combines the two fruits for a show-stopping side dish.

Yield: 2-2/3 cups (650 mL); 8 servings.
Serving size: 1/3 cup (75 mL).

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp canola oil (15 mL)
  • 4 large Fuji apples, about 2 lb (1 kg), cored, quartered lengthwise and cut into half-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup water (60 mL)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (15 mL)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (2 mL)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (1 mL)
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped dried cranberries (60 mL)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (optional) (.5 mL)

Instructions:

  1. In large, heavy saucepan, heat canola oil and add apples. Saute over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until apples are lightly caramelized. Add water and lemon juice to pan, cook and stir briefly to deglaze pan.
  2. Carefully transfer apples to bowl of food processor and pulse just a few times to chunky consistency. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon and cranberries. Serve warm.

Nutritional Information Per Serving

Calories: 40

Total Fat: 1 g

Cholesterol: 0 mg

Sodium: 0 mg

Carbohydrates: 9 g

Fibre: 2 g

Protein: 0 g

Holiday Rapini Saute

Holiday Rapini Saute

Combining red and green vegetables is both festive and healthful. Sometimes rapini can taste a little bitter. If your rapini is on the bitter side, drizzle a tablespoon or so of balsamic vinegar on top of it.

Yield: 8 servings.
Serving size: 1 cup (250 mL).

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp canola oil (30 mL)
  • 3 bunches rapini (broccoli rabe), about 3 1/4 lb (1.5 kg), rinsed, trimmed and cut into 3-inch (7.6 cm) pieces
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced or crushed
  • 1/2 tsp salt (2 mL)
  • 1-1/2 (375 mL) cups diced roasted red bell pepper, from one 12-oz jar (341mL)
  • 3 Tbsp slivered almonds, toasted (45 mL)

Instructions:

  1. Heat very large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add canola oil to pan; add rapini, garlic and salt. Toss well, reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for 10 minutes or until rapini are tender, turning a few times while cooking.
  2. Add roasted pepper and toasted almonds, toss and serve.

Nutritional Information Per Serving

Calories 110

Total Fat 5 g

Saturated Fat 0 g

Cholesterol 0 mg

Sodium 55 mg

Carbohydrates 11 g

Fibre Less than 1 g

Protein: 7g

Pumpkin Flan

Pumpkin Flan

Nothing signals the holiday season more than pumpkin and this flan allows you to showcase it in a new, delicious way.

Yield: 8 servings.
Serving size: 1 flan.

Ingredients:

  • canola oil cooking spray
  • 3 eggs, omega-3-enriched if available
  • 1-1/4 cup pumpkin puree (300 mL)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (125 mL)
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil (30 mL)
  • 1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (7 mL)
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon (4 mL)
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger (1 mL)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves (1 mL)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (1 mL)
  • 1-1/2 cups low-fat milk, heated until very hot (375 mL)
  • Boiling water, about 1 quart (1.13 L)
  • ground nutmeg (garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Adjust oven rack to center position. Coat eight 6-ounce custard cups or ramekins with canola oil cooking spray and set them in 13 X 9-inch (33 x 22 cm) baking pan.
  2. In large bowl, beat eggs slightly; add pumpkin puree, maple syrup, canola oil, vanilla, spices and salt. Beat with mixer until blended thoroughly. Mix in hot milk until blended. There will be about 4 cups of liquid. Pour 1/2 cup (125 mL) flan mixture into each prepared ramekin.
  3. Carefully pour boiling water into baking pan around ramekins. Water should come up to level of custard inside ramekins.
  4. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until set around the edges but still a little loose in center. When center of flan is just set, it will jiggle a little when shaken. Remove from oven and immediately remove ramekins from water bath; cool on wire rack until room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  5. Serve cold and garnish with ground nutmeg. This dessert can be made up to 3 days in advance. Keep refrigerated until serving.

Nutritional Information Per Serving

Calories 190

Total Fat 7 g

Saturated Fat 1.5 g

Cholesterol 110 mg

Sodium 220 mg

Carbohydrates 24 g

Fibre 2 g

Protein 6 g

Want to find more healthy, diabetic-friendly recipes for Thanksgiving? We have tons more, sorted by category and course, right here: Diabetic Thanksgiving Recipes.