The holidays are one of the easiest times for people to slip up on their healthy eating habits. Our goal is to keep you from doing that, so we’ve gathered some of our favorite recipes for our December Recipe Roundup! We even added some high protein snacks and holiday favorites. Enjoy!!
Cranberry Balsamic Roasted Chicken
Turkey and ham are two big favorites during the holidays and although both are on many holiday tables, there are tons of alternative protein sources that will fill you up and keep you from feeling guilty about what you just ate. Keeping up with traditions is always important but there’s always room to add another holiday recipe to your arsenal.
Let’s introduce a different bird this holiday season…it’s chicken!
This recipe is a healthy alternative and an easy meal for your holiday table. All you need is one pan and an oven and you’ll have yourself some juicy chicken, rich in flavor and aroma. It’s so easy to make and takes no more than an hour to cook. It even has cranberries for all you cranberry sauce lovers out there.
Cranberries are a natural sweetener, rich in Vitamin C and other antioxidants. They also help provide digestive support.
There’s a marinating process but don’t skip it! It will make everything taste even better! Let your raw chicken sit and soak these juices up for 24 hours, you won’t regret it.
For the Marinade:
– b1/3 cup cranberries
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 2 tbsp gluten free tamari sauce
– 2 tbsp maple syrup
– 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
– 1/4 tsp sea salt
– 1/4 tsp black pepper
– 2 garlic cloves (or 1 tsp minced)
For the Chicken:
2.5 lbs chicken thighs or breasts, skin on (if using skinless chicken see notes below)
3-5 sprigs fresh thyme and extra to garnish
1/3 cup to 1/2 cup fresh cranberries (or previously frozen)
1 tbsp each of maple syrup and balsamic vinegar mixed together to coat chicken during roasting
Lower Fat option: Preparation for skinless chicken: The cooking time will be anywhere from 20-35 minutes total. Check at 20 minutes for chicken to reach internal temperature of 165F. No broiling needed.
Let’s start cleaning that chicken! Clean your chicken and place in a baking dish.
Making the marinade:
Blend all the balsamic chicken marinade ingredients listed above in a food processor or blender until smooth.
Pour marinade over the chicken thighs, coating evenly.
Cover and place in fridge to marinate for 30 minutes or up to 24 hrs. (overnight creates great flavor!)
Time to cook the chicken!
Once marinated, preheat oven to 375 F.
Remove chicken from fridge.
Add extra 1/3 c to 1/2 cup cranberries, 2 – 3 sprigs of thyme or a sprinkle of dried Italian herbs to the dish. Spread it out evenly on and around the chicken.
Bake skin side down first for 25-35 minutes depending on the size of chicken thighs.
Remove and turn skin side up. Check for doneness. Then brush each chicken skin with the maple syrup/balsamic vinegar combo.
Add more seasoning (like dried herbs, salt, pepper) to the top if desired. NOTE: If using fresh herbs, wait to add until after you remove the chicken from the oven.
Depending on the thickness of your chicken, either bake a little longer skin side up, then broil. Or if chicken is almost done and not pink, then skip extra baking and just broil for about 3-4 minutes or until skin is crispy and chicken is cooked evenly inside. Check to make sure the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 F (NOTE: If using boneless chicken, cooking time will vary on thickness of chicken breast. Check around 35 minutes total.)
After thoroughly cooked, remove from oven. Spoon the sauce from the pan onto each chicken thigh/breast and a pinch of black pepper or cracked pepper.
Serve with the roasted cranberries on top and any extra fresh herbs desired.
Serving Size: 5 oz.
Chicken Calories: 355
Fat: 25g Saturated
This recipe is modified from – www.cottercrunch.com
Eggnog Protein Shake:
Eggnog is a holiday favorite but it’s packed with calories and fat and a lot of useless sugar. A simple eggnog consists of milk, cream, sugar and eggs, (…and maybe some alcohol). It’s pretty easy to turn this holiday classic into a protein packed dessert or snack.
What you’ll need:
– 1 cup of almond milk (unflavored or vanilla)
– 1 scoop of your favorite protein (preferably vanilla)
– 1 tsp nutmeg
– ½ tsp cinnamon
– 1 tsp vanilla
Using a blender combine all your ingredients, pour and garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon!
Simple as that! Enjoy!
Nutrition: (this will depend on the protein you use!)
Calories: 250, Sugar: <5g, Fat: <5g, Carbohydrates: 5-10g, Protein: 25g
5 Ingredient Peanut Butter Protein Cookies:
Everybody loves cookies, but they can be a quick way to bump up those extra calories that you just don’t need. Why not make them a little healthier? These cookies are super nutrient dense. They could pass as an on-the-go breakfast or as a great as a snack to get you through a busy day. The best part about them? They’re only 5 ingredients!
1 cup quick oats
2 scoops (50 grams) of vanilla protein powder (plant or whey, whichever you prefer)
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
Time to bake!
– Preheat oven to 350°F.
– Place oats and protein powder into a small bowl and stir to combine.
– In a separate bowl mix together the peanut butter, applesauce and honey or maple syrup. Pour the wet peanut butter mixture over the dry mixture and stir well. If it’s too crumbly, you can add an extra 1-2 Tablespoons of applesauce to moisten it.
– Once combined, start forming the dough into one inch balls.
– Place balls on a parchment lined baking sheet, press each ball down into a cookie shape with a fork and bake for 12 minutes.
– Remove from oven, let cool and enjoy. Store any leftovers in a covered airtight container on the counter/in the fridge for immediate consumption or store in the freezer for later.
All it takes is 25 minutes between prepping and baking and you have yourself a tasty treat!
Serving Size: 1 cookie
Recipe modified from eatingbirdfood.com
Did you miss our November Recipe Roundup? Find it HERE!