Best Weight Loss Tips at Christmas – 7 Low Fat Dinner Ideas

The best weight loss tips at Christmas are those that make food delicious, filling, and gorgeous! These low fat dinner ideas are from dietitians and health writers, and include mouth-watering turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. You can enjoy these foods at Christmas dinner without gaining weight. In fact, these tips could actually help you lose weight over the holidays.

Before the tips, a quip:

“I think the hardest thing is losing weight,” says Aretha Franklin. “That’s harder than anything else.”

Aretha, you gotta check out these tips from registered dietitians, health writers, and adventurous women (and men)! If you’re serious about learning to cook, read Martha Stewart’s Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook – it’s a bestseller.

And, here are seven tips for staying slim at Christmas…

Best Weight Loss Tips at Christmas – 7 Low Fat Dinner Ideas

1. Modify your stuffing recipe. “Make a fat-free dressing by substituting broth for the margarine or butter in your recipe,” says Brenda Ponichtera, author of Quick & Healthy Recipes and Ideas. “It tastes just as good! You can also add more celery and onion to your recipe to increase the vegetables and further reduce the calories per serving.”

2. Make a low fat, low carb stuffing for dinner. “With a mother that has diabetes along with 24 million others in the US, Thanksgiving side dishes are sometimes a challenge to cook. I try to find things she can enjoy without having blood sugar spikes,” says Sue Ennis, of dLife – For Your Diabetes Life. “The key thing that most people struggle with is a healthy low carbohydrate version of stuffing. One way to remove 60% of the carbs is to use 1/4 of the bread and replace the rest with celery. The mixture cooks up the same and have a wonderful crunch! Needless to say, a lot less calories too!”

3. Serve lighter appetizers before Christmas dinner. “Change your favorite recipes by substituting lower fat ingredients such as low-fat or fat-free yogurt and sour cream,” says Ponichtera. “Use fruits and vegetables with dips and spreads, instead of chips or crackers.” Portion control is one of the best weight loss tips at Christmas!

4. Try a low fat yam side dish. “We adapted a yam dish to be healthful – low fat definitely, but it has maple syrup,” says Suzy Allegra, aka Gemini Renaissance Woman. “We pre-cook chunked yams, sliced apples, and cranberries (or buy cranberry relish made with whole cranberries). Put them together in a dish, pour over a bit of maple syrup and bake. The more syrup, the sweeter and the more caloric. It’s tart, but not icky-sweet. To add fat, add butter to the baking process. Yummy and healthy!”

5. Get adventurous with sweet potatoes and ginger ale. “One of my favorite Christmas dinner dishes is roasted sweet potatoes (just wash the sweet potato and throw it straight in the oven for about an hour while the turkey’s cooking) and carrots braised in ginger ale, ala Alton Brown,” says Dani Nordin, principal problem solver at the zen kitchen. “Cut the carrots into thin pieces on a bias, sauté in about a tablespoon of butter with salt and pepper for a couple of minutes, then add a can of ginger ale and simmer slightly uncovered for about 45 minutes. At the end, take off the cover, turn the heat way up and toss the carrots in the pan until the ginger ale forms a glaze. SO yummy!”

6. Make a low fat pumpkin pie for dessert. “For something more traditional, try lightening your favorite pumpkin pie recipe by substituting evaporated skim milk and egg substitute,” says Ponichtera. “Make it with the traditional single crust or lower the calories even more by eliminating the crust. If you are making a crustless pie, be sure to spray the pie pan with nonstick cooking spray before pouring in the filling. This will prevent sticking and make it easier to serve. Top each slice with a dollop of fat-free whipped topping before serving.” This holiday weight loss goal and tip for staying slim at Christmas allows you to enjoy the tastes of the season.

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7. Make a pumpkin pie custard. Here’s a low fat version of pumpkin pie, from The Diabetes Weight Loss Diet by Antony Worrall Thompson (thanks to Michael Weisberg of Kyle Books for sending this recipe for pumpkin pie custard – I can’t wait to try it!).

Low Fat Pumpkin Pie Custard

1 15 oz can pumpkin puree

Zest and juice of 1 orange

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Pinch of ground cloves

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2/3 cup lowfat milk

1 egg, separated

1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


1. Preheat the oven to 350 F

2. Beat all the ingredients, except the egg white, until smooth. Whisk the egg white until stiff then fold into the mixture. Divide between six 6-oz custard cups.

3. Set the cups in a roasting pan and pour enough boiling water to come at least halfway up the sides of the custard cups.

4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly set and warmed through. Serve warm sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.

For more “best weight loss tips” at Christmas and beyond, read Exercises That Burn the Most Calories for Permanent Weight Loss.

Are you unhappy in your relationship? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage and FREE relationship advice from Mort Fertel, founder of the Marriage Fitness Program.

Readers, do you have any tips for staying slim over the holidays? Please feel free to comment below!

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4 thoughts on “Best Weight Loss Tips at Christmas – 7 Low Fat Dinner Ideas

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Hi Peter,

    Thanks for your tip, especially since I (like everyone else) have almost no control over what I’m eating this week of Christmas! It’s nice to be reassured that I won’t gain a ton of weight this week, and I can easily lose a few pounds when I get back to my normal schedule in January. 🙂

    Appreciating your presence here,

  • Peter Stockwell

    I tell my people to eat what they like at Christmas. They will quite probably be eating out or at other people’s homes with little control over what food they are given. They will not put on an enormous amount and they know how to lose it again after the holiday. So enjoy.

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    The secret to successful weight loss for me has been to fill up on delicious salads without dressing (well – I’M dressed, but the salad isn’t 🙂 ).

    Instead of salad dressing, I add pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and raisons. And I eat lots of apples, bananas, and other fruit — it’s the Volumetrics Diet, really. It has worked like a charm for me. I’ve also cut way back on the meat and potatoes.

    Thanks for your comment, Tim — and I agree: weight loss IS about attitude, diet, and exercise.

    I also see food as fuel, not entertainment or comfort. That’s huge — it’s something my hubby taught me! He eats when he’s hungry, and that’s it. When he eats sweets, it’s minimal. His healthy eating habits are rubbing off on me, which has also helped me lose weight.

  • Tim

    I think weight loss is all about three things – attitude, diet and exercise. From my experience, reducing carb intake and doing aerobic exercises are keys to successful weight loss.