7-Recipe Holiday Feast

diabetic cooking

As much as we all love a holiday ham, which can be low in calories, the high sodium content (up to 1,000 calories per serving!) convinced us to opt for a healthier pork roast, below, stuffed with apples and cranberries and ringing in at just 80 mg of sodium per serving. This 7-recipe holiday dinner—complete with cider and two desserts—totals just 700 calories. So go ahead, have another helping of your favorite dish!


Above image | Candied Sweet Potatoes

Easy-As-Pie Holiday Soup

MAKES 6 (1/2-CUP) SERVINGS

Nutrients per Serving: Calories 84, Total Fat 2g Saturated Fat 1g, Protein 5g, Carbohydrates 15g, Cholesterol 2mg, Dietary Fiber 1g, Sodium 160mg

Dietary Exchange: 1 Bread/Starch, 1/2 Milk


  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion (1/2 medium onion)
  • 1 cup peeled, diced apple (1 medium apple)
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 box (12 ounces) frozen, cooked winter squash, thawed (see Tips)
  • 1 cup fat-free evaporated milk
  • 4 tablespoons fat-free sour cream (optional)
  • Pumpkin pie spice (optional)

  • Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion. Cook and stir 3 minutes or until onion is translucent. Do not brown. Add apple, spice, salt and pepper. Cook and stir 1 minute to coat apples. Add broth. Simmer, uncovered, 8 to 10 minutes or until apples are tender and most stock has evaporated.
  • Add thawed squash and milk to apple mixture. Simmer, uncovered, 6 to 8 minutes or until flavors are blended and soup is hot. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with sour cream and pumpkin pie spice, if desired.

Tips: To easily thaw frozen box of squash, place in microwavable container. Cover. Microwave on HIGH 3 minutes. Stir. Microwave 1 minute more if needed to thaw completely.

Cook’s note: For added flavor, cook 1 clove garlic, minced, and 1 tablespoon minced, peeled, fresh ginger with the onion. Or add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon mild curry powder with the pumpkin pie spice.

Mulled Cranberry Cider

MAKES 8 (1-CUP) SERVINGS

Nutrients per Serving: Calories 32, Total Fat 1g Saturated Fat 1g, Protein 1g, Carbohydrates 8g, Cholesterol 0mg, Dietary Fiber 1g, Sodium 60mg

Dietary Exchange: 1/2 Fruit


  • 8 cups (1/2 gallon) low-calorie cran-raspberry or cran-apple juice cocktail
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 cup rum or brandy (optional)

Pour juice cocktail into slow cooker. Tie cinnamon sticks and cloves in cheesecloth. Add spice bundle to slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH 2 hours or on LOW 4 hours or until hot. (May be kept warm on LOW up to 3 hours.) Discard cheesecloth bag. If desired, stir in rum or brandy just before serving in mugs. Garnish with additional cinnamon sticks, if desired.

Apple-Cranberry Stuffed Pork Roast

MAKES 8 SERVINGS

Serving Size: 1/8 of total recipe

Nutrients per Serving: Calories 240, Total Fat 8g Saturated Fat 3g, Protein 25g, Carbohydrates 17g, Cholesterol 70mg, Dietary Fiber 1g, Sodium 80mg

Dietary Exchange: 1 Fat, 1/2 Fruit, 3 Meat


  • 1 boneless pork loin (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup apple juice or cider
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • Fresh thyme (optional)

  • Place pork roast in freezer 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine cranberries and apple juice in small bowl; set aside.
  • Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add apple; cook and stir 3 minutes. Add onion; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add water, if desired, to moisten mixture.
  • Drain cranberries, reserving juice. Stir cranberries into apple mixture; season with cinnamon, dried thyme and pepper. Remove to medium bowl; set aside to cool slightly. Reserve 1/2 cup of fruit mixture.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Place pork roast, fat side up, on cutting board. Insert knife horizontally into roast 1/2 inch from bottom, at long side of roast. Make long cut along bottom of roast, stopping 1/2 inch before opposite side of roast (do not cut all the way through). Open up roast; continue to cut through thicker half of roast to within 1/2 inch from bottom. Repeat until roast is an even 1/2-inch thickness all over when laid out.
  • Spread stuffing onto roast, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges. Starting with short side of roast, roll up tightly. Secure with kitchen twine at 1-inch intervals.
  • Heat oil in same skillet over medium heat. Brown roast on all sides, about 5 minutes. Place in roasting pan.
  • Roast 50 to 60 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 140°F. Transfer to cutting board and let stand 5 minutes. (Internal temperature will continue to rise 5°F to 10°F during stand time.)
  • Meanwhile, combine reserved apple juice and broth in same skillet; cook over high heat until reduced by half. Stir into roasting pan, scraping up brown bits. Stir in reserved 1/2 cup fruit mixture.
  • Slice roast crosswise into 8 (3/4-inch-wide) slices, removing twine as roast is cut. Serve with sauce. Garnish with fresh thyme.

Candied Sweet Potatoes

MAKES 6 SERVINGS

Serving Size: about 1/2 cup potatoes

Nutrients per Serving: Calories 183, Total Fat 10g Saturated Fat 1g, Protein 2g, Carbohydrates 21g, Cholesterol 35mg, Dietary Fiber 1g, Sodium 129mg

Dietary Exchange: 11/2 Bread/Starch, 2 Fat


  • 3 medium sweet potatoes (11/2 to 2 pounds), peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 10 packets sugar substitute
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Place potatoes in large saucepan. Sprinkle with sugar substitute. Add water, margarine, vanilla and nutmeg. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook, covered, 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender and cooking liquid becomes syrupy.

Tip: Watch the pot so the potatoes don’t burn.

Chutney Glazed Carrots

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Nutrients per Serving: Calories 88, Total Fat 5g Saturated Fat 1g, Protein 1g, Carbohydrates 11g, Cholesterol 5mg, Dietary Fiber 2g, Sodium 151mg

Dietary Exchange: 1/2 Bread/Starch, 1 Fat


  • 2 cups chopped carrots (11/2-inch pieces)
  • 3 tablespoons cranberry or mango chutney
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted*

Note: *To toast pecans, spread in single layer in heavy skillet. Cook over medium heat 2 minutes or until nuts are lightly browned, stirring frequently.


  • Place carrots in medium saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 6 to 8 minutes or until carrots are tender.
  • Drain carrots; return to saucepan. Add chutney, mustard and butter; cook and stir over medium heat 2 minutes or until carrots are glazed. Top with pecans just before serving.

Cranberry-Orange Bread Pudding

MAKES 9 SERVINGS

Nutrients per Serving: Calories 67, Total Fat 1g Saturated Fat 1g, Protein 4g, Carbohydrates 11g, Cholesterol 2mg, Dietary Fiber 1g, Sodium 190mg

Dietary Exchange: 1 Bread/Starch


  • 2 cups (4 slices) cubed cinnamon bread
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cups low-fat (1%) milk
  • 1/2 cup cholesterol-free egg substitute
  • 1 package (4-serving size) vanilla fat-free sugar-free pudding and pie filling mix*
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray 9 (4-ounce) custard cups with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Divide bread cubes evenly among custard cups; bake 10 minutes. Sprinkle evenly with cranberries.
  • Combine remaining ingredients in medium bowl. Pour into custard cups over cranberries. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until centers are almost set. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Note: *Do not use instant pudding and pie filling mix.

Pink Peppermint Meringues

MAKES ABOUT 6 DOZEN MERINGUES

Serving Size: 1 meringue

Nutrients per Serving: Calories 6, Total Fat 1g Saturated Fat 0g, Protein 1g, Carbohydrates 2g, Cholesterol 0mg, Dietary Fiber 0g, Sodium 3mg

Dietary Exchange: Free


  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 5 drops red food coloring
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar*
  • 6 sugar-free peppermint candies, finely crushed

Note: *Or use 1/2 cup granulated sugar processed in food processor 1 minute until very fine.


  • Preheat oven to 200°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Beat egg whites in medium bowl with electric mixer at medium-high speed 45 seconds or until foamy. Beat in peppermint extract and food coloring. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, while mixer is running. Beat until egg whites are stiff and glossy.
  • Drop meringue by teaspoonfuls into 1-inch mounds on prepared cookie sheets; sprinkle evenly with crushed candies.
  • Bake 2 hours or until meringues are dry when tapped. Transfer parchment paper with meringues to wire racks to cool completely.