A Healthy Holiday Menu, Plus 5 Helpful Tips for Hosting a Stress-Free Holiday

The holidays are joyous—but they can also be stressful if you’re the one preparing the holiday meal. Though the holiday season certainly looks different this year, one way you can keep it special is to put together a festive and healthy holiday menu.  

If you’re looking forward to an abundant spread but concerned about the calories in a holiday feast, we’ve got you covered with this serious upgrade from the traditional fare. The average holiday meal contributes over 3,000 calories—so instead, we’ve put together a menu that is loaded with veggies and good-for-you ingredients. 

With a little careful planning, you can save time and money with this healthful menu, plus get five stress-free tips for your holiday meal. 

Prep, prep, prep! Cook as many things in advance as possible—like these freezer or refrigerator- friendly Chicken Apple Meatballs with a Spicy Cranberry Sauce prepped ahead of time, thawed, then enjoyed as the perfect appetizer.

Get your guests involved. Allow your family to take part in the cooking with this delicious and fool-proof Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate, Feta, and Pine Nuts. A few simple ingredients to prep, toss it together, and voila! A beautiful side dish your guests will be proud to say they helped with.

 Shortcuts are your friend. Frozen spinach in this Creamed Spinach recipe is a time saver and cuts the cost of this dish!

Keep it simple. If you’ve never cooked beef wellington, it might add some unnecessary stress to the day. Instead, cook what you’re comfortable with—like this simple baked Cranberry Balsamic Chicken dish that’s beautiful, festive, and your guests are sure to love. 

Host on a budget. Feeding a group doesn’t have to break the bank. Opt for budget-friendly menu ideas like this Twice Baked Sweet Potato dish! 

Appetizer: Chicken Apple Meatballs with Spicy Cranberry Sauce


For the meatballs:

1 pound (500 g) ground chicken

½ cup green apple, peeled and diced

1/3 cup parmesan, finely shredded

½ cup whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs

1 large egg

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For the spicy cranberry sauce: 

1 cup fresh cranberries

1 cup water

½ cup orange juice, fresh squeezed

1/3 cup agave syrup

½ jalapeno, diced (taste jalapeno and adjust to desired heat)

½ teaspoon chipotle pepper in adobo, minced


In a mixing bowl add prepped meatball ingredients, excluding the olive oil, and mix by hand until just combined. Shape into 1½ inch balls and set aside. Makes 20 to 24 meatballs.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Tilt the skillet to evenly coat with oil. Add half the meatballs into the skillet to pan fry, rotating the meatballs every 1 to 2 minutes until outsides are lightly browned and cooked throughout. Repeat with remaining meatballs. Set aside.

Add prepped cranberry sauce ingredients to a saucepan over medium-high heat, bringing to a boil. Reduce to medium-low heat and simmer until sauce reduces and thickens. Sauce should be thick enough to stick to the back of the spoon. Remove from heat.

Serve meatballs coated in the spicy cranberry sauce or serve with the sauce as a dip on the side. 

Makes about 20-24 meatballs and ½ cup spicy cranberry sauce—enough for about 4 servings with leftovers or around 8 servings total. 


Calories 210

Protein 13 g

Total fat 10 g

Saturated fat 2.5 g

Cholesterol 75 mg

Carbs 19 g

Fiber 1 g

Total sugars 12 g

Added sugars 9 g

Sodium 400 mg

Salad: Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate, Cucumber, Feta, & Pine Nuts


For the salad:

1 cup quinoa, dry

2 cups water

½ cup feta, crumbled

1 cup pomegranate arils

1 cup English cucumber, diced 

½ cup pine nuts 

For the salad dressing:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon honey

Salt and freshly ground pepper


Add quinoa and water to a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat, cover, and cook for 15 minutes until no water remains. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool.

Once the quinoa is cooled, transfer it to a mixing bowl and add the remaining prepped salad ingredients.

In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, and honey together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle dressing over quinoa salad and toss until well combined. 

Makes 8 servings. 


Calories 240

Protein 6 g

Total fat 16 g

Saturated fat 3 g

Cholesterol 10 mg

Carbs 21 g

Fiber 3 g

Total sugars 5 g

Added sugars 1 g

Sodium 90 mg

Side Dish: Creamed Spinach with Mushrooms & Onions


2 x 10 ounce bags frozen spinach

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1½ cups baby bella (or cremini) mushrooms, roughly chopped

½ cup red onion, diced

1 tablespoon butter, unsalted 

1 garlic clove, minced

½ cup (4 oz/125 g) plain non-fat Greek yogurt

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

½ teaspoon nutmeg

Pinch cayenne pepper

Salt and freshly ground pepper


Thaw the spinach and use paper towels to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, onion, butter, and garlic and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, only stirring occasionally. Add the Greek yogurt, Parmesan, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper to the skillet. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Finally, add the spinach, mix well to heat through. Remove from heat and add to a serving bowl. Top with additional parmesan before serving, if desired. 

Makes 8 servings.


Calories 90

Protein 6 g

Total fat 5 g

Saturated fat 2 g

Cholesterol 10 mg

Carbs 6 g

Fiber 2 g

Total sugars 2 g

Added sugars 0 g

Sodium 150 mg

Side Dish: Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Oatmeal & Pecan Crumble


For the potatoes:

2 medium sweet potatoes

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup (2 oz/60 g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


For the crumble:

½ cup rolled oats

½ cup pecans, chopped

¼ cup almond flour

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons butter, melted


Preheat the oven to 400℉ (200℃). Line a baking sheet with foil.

Lightly coat the potatoes in olive oil then poke holes into the potatoes with a fork to release steam while they cook. Place onto lined baking sheet and bake until soft when pierced with a paring knife, 45 to 60 minutes, depending on their size. Remove from oven, and reduce oven temperature to 350℉ (175℃). 

Cut the potatoes in half and carefully scoop out the flesh, transferring it to a mixing bowl. Keep the potato skins and set aside. 

Add the Greek yogurt and vanilla to the sweet potato flesh and mix until well combined. Season to taste with salt. Add the mixture back into the sweet potato skins and set aside. 

Place the crumble ingredients into a new mixing bowl and using your hand, mix until well combined.

Top the sweet potatoes with the crumble and place back onto the baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until crumble is just browned. 

Makes 8 servings.


Calories 170

Protein 3 g

Total fat 12 g

Saturated fat 2.5 g

Cholesterol 10 mg

Carbs 14 g

Fiber 3 g

Total sugars 4 g

Added sugars 2 g

Sodium 45 mg 

Entrée: Cranberry Orange Balsamic Chicken


For the sauce:

1 cup fresh cranberries

½ cup balsamic vinegar

½ cup orange juice, freshly squeezed

½ cup chicken broth

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped 

Salt and freshly ground pepper 

For the chicken:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound/500 g)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 to 2 sprigs rosemary 

1 orange, sliced


Preheat oven to 350℉ (175℃). 

Add ¾ cup fresh cranberries and remaining sauce ingredients to a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce to medium-low heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce begins to thicken and reduce.

While the sauce is reducing, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Fry the chicken, turning once, until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from heat.

Add the sauce, remaining ¼ cup of cranberries, 1 to 2 rosemary sprigs, and fresh orange slices to a baking dish. Add the chicken breast and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through or reaches 165℉ (75℃) internal temperature at the thickest part of the breast. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and top with rosemary sprigs and a few orange slices to garnish.

Makes 4 servings.


Calories 250

Protein 26 g

Total fat 7 g

Saturated fat 1 g

Cholesterol 85 mg

Carbs 20 g

Fiber 1 g

Total sugars 17 g

Added sugars 9 g

Sodium 200 mg 


Calories 960

Protein 54 g

Total fat 49 g

Saturated fat 11 g

Cholesterol 185 mg

Carbs 80 g

Fiber 10 g

Total sugars 40 g

Added sugars 21 g

Sodium 880 mg

Powered by ESHA Nutrient Data, © 2020 ESHA Research, Inc.

0 Comments   Join the Conversation

If you have questions about a Fitbit tracker, product availability, or the status of your order, contact our Support Team or search the Fitbit Community for answers.

Please note: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately after submission.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.