Traditional Holiday Treats - with an Atkins Spin

Christmas is all about family and all about traditions—and when it comes to traditions, food is a biggie. So naturally you want to prepare holiday dishes the whole family can enjoy. But how about you and your low-carb lifestyle? Can you stay true to Atkins and make your family happy? The answer is a resounding “yes."

Fortunately, the main dishes usually associated with Christmas, like turkey, goose, baked ham, or standing rib roast, are already Atkins friendly. It's the classic and typically high-carb side dishes and desserts that could get you in the danger zone. But we know, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, and eggnog? That's why you'll be pleased to know that all these dishes in one form or another can be enjoyed on Atkins.

We should make it clear that not all of the following recipes are suitable for Induction and Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL), but a number of them are, and the sheer number of recipes in our database means there's no need to compromise your new lifestyle while celebrating Christmas and New Year's.

The Frost Is on the Pumpkin

A slice of a traditional 8-inch pumpkin pie weighs in at a whopping 40-plus grams of Net Carbs! In comparison, our Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Crust is slimmed down, with just 11 grams of Net Carbs, making it suitable for Pre-Maintenance and beyond. In OWL, you can also have your pick of several other delectable pumpkin desserts, includingPumpkin-Nut Bake, which is suitable for OWL at 4.5 grams of Net Carbs per serving, as is Pumpkin Cheesecake, at 6 grams of Net Carbs and Pumpkin Mousse, at 5 grams of Net Carbs. In all these recipes, be sure to use plain pumpkin purée, which is not the same as sweetened pumpkin pie mix.

What to do if you're still in Induction? Just have a slightly smaller piece than the normal portion and you should do fine. (We recommend that desserts not exceed 4 grams of Net Carbs in this phase.) If you've not yet added nuts and seeds, have the mousse or omit the nuts in the cheesecake.

How about whipping up a batch of Pumpkin-Cranberry Muffins (6 grams of Net Carbs per serving and suitable for OWL and beyond) or Pumpkin-Spice Pancakes (also 6 grams of Net Carbs) for Christmas morning breakfast? Pumpkin takes to savory dishes as well as sweet ones. This classic harvest vegetable—actually, botanically, it's a fruit—makes a super-satisfying starter. Suitable for Induction and containing just 4 grams of Net Carbs, Creamy Pumpkin Curry Soup gets its smooth texture and sweetness from coconut milk in this Indian-inspired dish. Not sure what to do with that extra turkey the day after Christmas? Try it in Pumpkin Turkey Stew, a simple and satisfying down-home meal for which you'll “spend" only 7 grams of Net Carbs, making it fine for Induction.

Not-Too-Sweet Sweet Potatoes

Think this delectable veggie is simply off the menu if you're doing Atkins? No way! While they may not be drowning in maple syrup and topped with marshmallows, sweet potatoes are perfectly acceptable in Pre-Maintenance and Lifetime Maintenance. And we have some marvelous ways to serve them with your holiday meals. Let's start withCandied Ginger Sweet Potatoes, which uses sugar-free pancake syrup for all the flavor but at 18 grams of Net Carbs per serving. Lower in carbs (8 grams of Net Carbs) but just as delectable is Rosemary-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with 13 grams of Net Carbs per serving. For an unusual starter to your holiday meal, how about the colorful Sweet Potato and Spinach Salad with a mere 8 gram of Net Carbs per serving?

The Perfect Dessert—and More

Now you're in for a treat. The famous Bûche de Noël, French for Christmas log, is a classic chocolate cake served on Christmas Eve. We won't kid you. It's is a fair amount of work to produce but it looks spectacular and will wow your guests, particularly when they find out that at just 6 grams of Net Carbs, making it fine for OWL and beyond.

We've also got good news about eggnog; both our recipes are fine in any phase as long as you don't overdo it. Compare Hazelnut Eggnog (2.5 grams of Net Carbs per serving) with Old Fashioned Eggnog (3.5 grams of Net Carbs per serving) and take your pick. What's the difference? The first is cooked; the second is not. Once you're drinking alcohol again, feel free to add a splash of bourbon or rye to either.

So yes, you can enjoy the holiday while watching your waistline. That way, you'll have a head start on your New Year's resolutions. For more on how to do Atkins during the holidays, check out Happy Carb-Smart Holidays.