What Can Someone on a Restricted Diet Eat on Christmas Day?

If you’re on a no-salt, no-sugar, no-fat diet like I am, or if you have other diet restrictions to deal with, what can you make that’s special for yourself on Christmas Day?

I wrote yesterday about going back to my roots for Christmas Eve. I’m doing the same for Christmas Day, but with a twist. I’m taking a traditional dish, manicotti with meatballs, and taking out all the restricted elements, re-imagining the dish with a variety of ingredients that get me at least some of the tastes I love.

My low-fat, low-salt manicotti, One of these has 128 calories, 1.8 grams of fat and 70 mgs of sodium. I eat five at a time
My low-fat, low-salt manicotti, One of these has 128 calories, 1.8 grams of fat and 70 mgs of sodium. I eat five at a time


Rather than buying pre-made manicotti shells, for example, I found whole wheat lasagna noodles and have cut them in half to make smaller manicotti. I roll them and fill them with low-fat ricotta cheese. Part-skim ricotta is an option, but the low-fat variety has even less fat.

I make my own tomato sauce with salt-free canned tomatoes. The tomato paste has some salt, but not enough to throw me off my diet. I top them off with a fat-free shredded mozzarella I found. It doesn’t actually melt like real cheese, but it’s close enough for some added flavor.

Homemade tomato sauce and turkey meatballs. Use Italian spices, oregano, basil and thyme, in the meatballs
Homemade tomato sauce and turkey meatballs. Use Italian spices, oregano, basil and thyme, in the meatballs

Instead of beef meatballs, I use ground turkey, buying a pound of lean and a pound of extra lean (which costs about twice as much) to produce a medium lean meatball with about 4.5 grams of fat per serving.

It may not all be what I was accustomed to in the past, but it’s getting me close enough to be thankful for it. And I can serve it to guests without feeling like I’m putting them on a restricted diet as well.

Think about the holiday foods you love and try to re-imagine them. You’ll need to plan ahead because many salt-free ingredients are only available online, so ordering takes time. But the end result is better than bland, nothing food that a nutritionist may be telling you to eat.

Merry Christmas!
John

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8 thoughts on “What Can Someone on a Restricted Diet Eat on Christmas Day?”

  1. The meatballs look lean and delicious. I can imagine the taste after everything is done. Thanks for linking me up. Have a great weekend.

  2. Sounds great, John! Thanks for the idea. My roomie and I and eating healthier too and one thing I’ve found for fooling the tastebuds (and the nose) when making red sauce is to adding a good dose of fennel. Because it is one of the predominant flavors in sausage, that smell and flavor can help you feel less deprived. I add seed or ground plus when making my red sauce, plus I saute chopped fresh with one tablespoon of olive oil (can also substitute no-salt veggie or chicken stock-but since this is only fat in my 8 quarts of sauce, I usually just use the olive oil). Wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year!

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