The holidays are excellent times to break bread with family & friends. But what do you do when you don’t eat bread anymore?? It’s unfortunate that a lot of our social connections are built upon a foundation of carby foods, but the holidays don’t have to be restrictive. And you don’t have to feel the need to cheat to get through it.
This will be my 3rd holiday season after going low carb, so here are my tips and favorite (i.e. ACTUALLY GOOD) keto-certified recipes that may help you survive Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Tips on Surviving Holidays Meals
- Focus on meats and vegetables.
Unless your family is vegan, it’s likely there is going to be a big meat source at every meal. Load up on protein.
- Bring your own sides (to share!).
You don’t even have to trick anyone. Choose holiday sides that don’t require substitutions, such as sugar alcohols. Or make substitutions! Below are my tried-and-true keto holiday recipes that I’m bringing this year.
- Eat before you go.
This might be especially important for those office or friend parties that are light on the meat & veg and heavy on the baked goods & carby sides. If you pregame a keto meal, you’ll be less hungry and less inclined to dive into those crappy sugar cookies from Wal-Mart.
Food & Drink To Choose
- Meat, meat & more meat
- Olives, pickles, nuts
- Non-starchy vegetables
- Keto substitutes (see below)
- Liquor or dry wines (if you drink)
Food & Drink To Avoid:
- Soups (usually flour-based for thickening, even clear soups)
- Any food with a sauce (usually flour-based, e.g. green bean casserole)
- Traditional gravy (flour-based)
- Cranberry sauce
- Dessert wines, beer & sweet alcoholic beverages (if you drink)
My Favorite Keto Recipes for the Holidays
Keto Christmas does exist! And it doesn’t taste as bad as you think.
I’ll be the first to admit that 98% of keto substitution recipes are moderately tolerable at best, gross at worst. But after 2 years and a passion for cooking and baking, I’ve collected a little treasure trove of recipes that are the bomb dot com. These are some that go perfectly with Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- Stuffing (includes a keto bread recipe that is the best out there)
- Quiche Lorraine
- Pumpkin pie
- Cranberry sauce
- Mashed cauliflower
- Roasted Brussel sprouts
- Cauliflower Mac ‘N Cheese
- Cinnamon Rolls (Christmas morning??)
Keto Food Etiquette
Keto is (astoundingly) a touchy topic for a lot of people. I blame it on addiction, but that doesn’t change the fact that your family may reject your keto foods and maybe even become emotionally/verbally hostile. If you feel that your family is going to be hostile about your diet choices, you can always opt for veggie or meat plates (i.e. meatballs, charcuterie plate, or Caprese salad) that let you eat without a problem and without disturbing the family peace. Unless it’s at your house, in which case I say, you do you.
If your friends, on the other hand, act this way, it might be time to put an ad in the yellow pages for new friends.
At the end of the day, the holidays should NOT be about food. It should be about spending time with loved ones, so it might be beneficial to change your dopamine hit you get from the holidays from food to relationships.