Low Carb Holiday Dinner Ideas

8:22 am | | Comments 35

Happy Holidays!

The holiday season is here… in fact, I’m just a little late in finishing this article after Thanksgiving Day. Only a small part of this planet celebrates Thanksgiving Day, though, but Christmas and Easter are celebrated around the globe.

Alright, so Thanksgiving Day, Christmas and Easter are the family (read: big meal) holidays that I celebrate but I also know that people of different cultures and religions practice different celebrations during this time of year. Many of our holiday dinners are very similar even though there are cultural variations. These variations exist even within the family. One thing that’s common is that there are a LOT of carbs in traditional holiday meals.

A Short Disclaimer

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So, What’s For Dinner?

As for me, I like to eat ham twice a year and turkey only once. Ham, in my immediate family, is for Christmas and for Easter while Turkey is exclusively for Thanksgiving. Even as I am diet conscious, I love to sit down at a holiday dinner that has “All the trimmings.” It’s just a beautiful scene for a beautiful moment with my family.

But I’ve made a small list here of some holiday staples that you can confidently consider for the holiday dinner of your choice:

Main Dish – Something Meaty

The main dish is the crown jewel at the holiday dinner table and what’s wonderful about holiday meals is that the main dish is almost always meat! Meat doesn’t have any carbs in it, but what you flavor it with might. Here are a few traditional ideas to place in the center of your table:

  • Turkey
  • Ham
  • Cornish Hens
  • Prime Rib
  • Standing Rib Roast
  • Pork Tenderloin
  • Beef Tenderloin


Any of these are awesome choices! Just watch out for the sweetened marinades and glazes such as honey, brown sugar, BBQ sauce, maple, molasses… you get my point. You haven’t eaten much sugar recently, so you can get by with pieces that have a lot less sweet flavors on them. When you haven’t been eating sugar, your mouth tastes a very small amount of sweet flavorings very easily! Pay attention to your taste alarms!

Sides – These look great on ANY Plate!

Alright, so all of these choices have carbs in them, but they are the veggies that we all need to be eating. Since we’re counting carbs, remember to add these items into your count! If you’re having trouble figuring out how to count carbs, check out this handy carb counter!

  • Asparagus (3 stalks wrapped in prosciutto, sprinkled with cheese is awesome) 
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts 
  • Cauliflower
  • Green Beans
  • Romain Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Kale (I personally can’t stand behind this as a tasty choice)


Many of these veggies go great with melted cheese and some others go great after being fried with bacon (Spinach and Kale), but the broccoli and Asparagus go great both ways!

Starches – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Okay, so we’re not having any starches this year, but there is a fantastic look-alike to mashed potatoes that you’ve probably already tried or heard about:

  • Riced Cauliflower


Don’t knock it! Sure, it still tastes like cauliflower, but you can treat it differently when it looks like potatoes… you can add butter to it! Eating it this way still gives you the beautiful plate that you’re used to seeing at holiday meals.

Dessert – Topping off a Fantastic Holiday Dinner

Everyone’s done eating. The little plates and fancy forks are making their way to the table.

It’s time for dessert and you’ve done so well getting through this day with very little damage to your new lifestyle. This is the part of holiday meals that you have always dreaded…the part that blows your carb counts so far off the charts that it will take weeks to make up for it.

That’s not going to happen this year!

So, how do we share in this moment in a way that  preserves our low-carb lifestyle?

I have the answer!

21 Sweet Low Carb Treats

I recently discovered a collection of cookbooks that focuses on low-carb versions of our favorite meals and I realized that I really can enjoy most of my favorite Christmas dinner foods without worrying so much about carbs. What’s more is that the most recent addition to this collection is about Winter treats!

We know that sugary and starchy treats are a no-no and I’m not giving any kind of blessing on eating those, but I’m no saint. I know that I’ll be eating some treats. So instead of feeling like you are left out or feeling like you are punishing yourself, why not bring your own treats that you and your party can enjoy…all while staying on track?

That’s right! You can eat the turkey, you can eat the ham and the green beans, a nice salad and then, this year, you can have dessert!

Guilt Free!

Bye-Bye Bloating

So forget the candied yams smothered in marshmallows or the Hawaiian sweet rolls (or any rolls). There are a lot of other dinner choices that are low carb. I have provided a few links throughout this article for you to take a look at the “Ditch the Carbs” cookbooks. That’s where you can find some great choices!

Easy Low Carb MealsWhile the Ditch The Carbs series of cookbooks is not focused on holiday meals, there are plenty of choices within these books that will help you get through any holiday with healthful low-carb food choices.

While there are several Ditch The Carbs cookbooks, you don’t have to buy the whole set. This company allows you to pick and choose which ones you want. I will tell you though, that they do have sets available that come at a much better discount!

What’s more? Even though I am late in writing this article to tell you about these books, you can still get the cookbooks INSTANTLY because you have the option to get them delivered electronically! Right to your email box.

Throughout this article, I have share links to all of the books, but to stay on the subject of holiday treats, here’s the cookbook that I’m writing about today.


21 Low-Carb Sweet treats – perfect for winter parties

If you are attending a sort of pot luck (Where people bring their own dishes) this cook book is an awesome tool to help you out in bringing something that everyone will love and something that you can enjoy, guilt-free.

21 delicious low-carb recipes including:

10 Baked Desserts

8 Sweet Treats

3 Beverages

21 Sweet Low Carb Treats





That covers all the sweets you’ll need to make it through the holiday season without having to shop for bigger clothes.


Currently, the Sweet Treats cookbook is only available at the author’s website, DitchTheCarbs.com, but the following items are also available on Amazon:


Folks, the Ditch the Carbs – One Meal at a Time series of books is a comprehensive set that includes recipes for low-carb lunches, family dinners, recipes for beginners, holiday treats, meal planner, carb counter and more great advice!.

The beginner’s guide is an invaluable tool because it provides sample meal plans for you to learn how you can build full meals that are low in carbs.

The author also promotes gluten free eating, so these cookbooks can benefit you in other ways, as well!

It’s not too late! You can still plan for a great low-carb holiday dinner and make it happen.

Click one of the cookbook links on this page or check out the whole set. I know there’s something you can really use there at a fantastic price!

Please share if you like us:


  1. Britney says:

    This is amazing! I am now reminded to stay away from so many carbs this holiday season. This post gives me some great tips on what foods I need to stay away from. The cookbook looks like it has some great recipes. I might have to try it out!


    1. John says:

      Thank you Britney! Funny thing is that carbs are very easy to avoid. I mean, we all have our favorite carb that is hardest to avoid, but when you look at the list of foods here that you CAN enjoy without guilt, a person begins to wonder why we add to many carbs to our foods! Thanks for your comment!

  2. Furkan says:

    I think that eating meat is a must for my family and there are a lot of healthy options as well. I wonder do you have any appetizer suggestions?

    1. John says:

      Absolutely! We just had a little gathering last night. It was an impromptu gathering which are the best because the guests are going to get what I have rather than my going to the store for snacks that I think everyone will like.

      So, this time of year, summer sausage is available everywhere and I happen to love summer sausage, so you can slice up some summer sausage and lay out some cheese. We keep a box of the round buttery crackers in the pantry, so I put those out and there’s cheese, crackers and meat. When I go by, I just pick up a piece of meat and a piece of cheese. Nobody even has to know that I’m eating low carb.

      Alternatively, you can use Salami, Pepperoni, Spanish Chorizo… any slice-able sausage or even deli meats.

      I also always have peanuts. I love peanuts. Peanuts are “alright” for low carbing, but it’s real easy to overdo it. I limit myself to about an ounce and a half.

      Guacamole is great, Salsa is great but so far, I haven’t found anything that’s great to dip into them. I found these chickpea chips that just didn’t go great with the guacamole. So I’m still looking for a dip-able low carb chip type thing.

  3. Todd P Matthews says:

    You hit it spot on with the dinner options but even better with the desserts. While I don’t eat low-carb, I do like to keep them in moderation and for someone who loves high-carb foods, I’m always looking for tricks and techniques to trade in the low carbs for good fats and complete proteins. I do this on a daily basis but around the Holidays it becomes even more of a challenge. I’m glad to see there are more options available to us; thanks for sharing your ideas.

    1. John says:

      Thanks for reading my article, Todd! Yes it does get harder at the end of the year to watch the number and type of calories that one consumes. At this time of year, it doesn’t matter which diet you subscribe to or even if you don’t diet at all. You’ll still find plenty of opportunity to use your “comfortable” pants before the season ends!

  4. Eric Cantu says:

    Bye Bye Bloating! lol I love it! What a great and timely article. This is the time of year where so many let themselves go and end up hating themselves at the beginning of the new year. These are great food choices and menu ideas you’ve listed here that sound delicious and won’t make me need to find a new belt! Great post!

    1. John says:

      Hey Eric! Thank you for commenting on my post. The bloating part, the semi-coma that comes after a big holiday meal…all gone when you moderate the sugars that you consume.

      I mean, calories are still calories, so it’s possible to stretch a belt over the last 6 weeks of a year. By avoiding excess carbs, a person can recover so much faster and feel better about their food choices in the meantime!

      Happy Holidays!

  5. Fran says:

    Cookbooks  — what an excellent idea!  I have a friend who is an avid collector of cookbooks, so will have to point her to your site.  And, by the way, would you invite me to dinner so I can sit at the lovely table you show in your illustration?  It is, indeed, the season when we really get carried away with food. I’m glad you are featuring low carb ideas.  By the way, I didn’t like kale either, until I tried a recipe from a friend, and now I am fond of it.  I think it is all in the preparation.

    1. John says:

      Thanks for stoppijng by, Fran! I wish that was my table! Usually, for holiday meals, my table is covered with amazing dishes. We only decorate the table the morning before guests arrive.

      Everyone can benefit from low carb dishes, even if they aren’t on a low carb diet. Watching one’s carb intake is never a bad idea. Especially when there are so many things to choose from. The trick just becomes finding great low carb things to choose from.

  6. Jasmine says:

    Great Article! I agree that desserts are a big role when it comes to our carbs. It’s easy to say that I’ll moderate how much dessert I eat until I taste how good it is. Then the moderation goes right out of the window. Especially during the holidays!  

    It looks like the cookbooks have some great recipes to try. Thanks for sharing!

    1. John says:

      Jasmine, I agree with you wholeheartedly! Fortunately, for me and my wife, we’ve had stomach surgery and can’t consume too much. Especially after eating a heavier, protein packed meal.

      I hope you have a great holiday!

  7. Janelle says:

    My husband and I both need to change our eating styles to lose weight.  As we’re getting older, it’s just so easy to pack on the pounds!  I’ve eaten low carb before and actually enjoyed it, but my husband is very leery about making that change because he thinks his eating will be so restricted.  I think these cookbooks are just what I need to start making some delicious meals that he’ll really like–thanks!

    1. John says:

      The beauty about low carb dishes is that in almost all cases, it’s difficult to tell that a dessert is low carb because artificial sweeteners have come a long way. Heck, sucralose is actually a derivative of sugar! A person doesn’t have to “diet”. If you can get him to realize that there is not a sacrifice in enjoying a low carb dessert, you might even be able to convince him to simply watch his sugar intake and adopt a low carb dessert goal…if only for the season!

  8. Holly says:

    We just started eating low carb in my home to help my husband better manage his type 1 diabetes. Less carbs eaten means less insulin used, which means less room for error and I think it’s just what we need to do. But I am SO missing starches! I picked up riced cauliflower at Costco for my husband. He doesn’t mind it, but I really can’t stomach it. Do you have any other low-carb grain alternatives that isn’t riced cauliflower/broccoli/other random vegetable?

    1. John says:

      There really aren’t any low carb grains. Sorry. But I once tried edamame ground into a paste for guacamole. I’d recommend that you just stay with the guac. That stuff is awful.

      The purpose of this site is actually to address low carb, diabetic and keto diets, so as the site grows, so will the recipes and knowledge base.

      I can tell you that I am starting to learn more about the use of some powders that are high in protein but are based in things like… well, crickets. Right now I’m not fond of the idea, but I think before I write about it, I ought to try it. 

      I hope you have the best in holiday dining!

  9. Babsie Wagner says:

    My son started gaining weight, and so he decided to drastically (practically eliminate) carbs from his diet.  I’m really just so proud of him.  He doesn’t eat any bread.  He has his burgers with lettuce, tomato, cheese, peppers and avocado.  They look absolutely delicious, and he eats them with a knife and fork.  He even orders his food out in restaurants to go along with his new carb-free (low carb) diet.  I was thrilled to see your article, and I cannot wait to share it with him.  The holidays are definitely a hard time to change your diet because you are out at other peoples’ homes and can’t always control what they serve, but he’ll do ok.  Thanks for the great article.

    1. John says:

      Hey Babsie! Great to see you again! Yes! It is VERY hard to change diets at this time of year, but if those at risk of becoming overweight or becoming diabetic can monitor their carb intake for a few days this season, that will go a long way toward their health.

      so, here I am wish you and your son the very best in  getting through this holiday season without using your comfy pants!

      Happy holidays!

  10. bijan amid says:

    The topic is a exremely important and beneficial for those concerned with their healths.When you eat a lot of carb foods, you will gain wight and you will get in all kinds of health problems

    I remember with no exception when it got to Christmas  Holidays , i used to gain a few pounds because we were invited to parties and also we had companies coming over . It took me several months to get rid of the extra pounds which was extremely difficult .

    A very important factor in eating is the taste of the food- If the recepees offered taste good and people really enjoy eating it, I am positive that a big majority of people will switch to the new diet proposed.

    People have to try the Low carb food and if they are happy with it and it gives them the opportunity to eat the kind of food they want and not gain weight,

    Conclusion: I believe this is a great idea but it has to be exposed and people have to try it in order to like it and to introduce it to others

    1. John says:

      Bijan, Thanks for stopping by! I’m doing the best I can to show people who do not diet that they can reduce the damage by following these principles for just the holidays. At the same time, I am trying to give great alternatives to those who have already adopted a low carb or diabetic lifestyle.

      I appreciate your comment! I hope your holiday season is awesome!

  11. Kohl says:

    Very well organized article! I feel like the more tips that can be given to help people manage the holiday season the better. I personally feel like the main thing that it comes down to is discipline. I am big on fitness and have quite a lot of knowledge. Now although I wouldn’t agree that taking out carbs is the answer it can help with calorie control. I say this because as long as total daily calorie and protein is equated for, the amount of carbs and fats can vary to your preferences, (try to stay above 15% daily calories for fat though).

    1. John says:

      I always end up saying that calories are calories. That’s a number that we always have to watch.

      In maintaining a low carb diet, the protein comes automatically, but you are right. Protein is very important!

      Now, I suppose someone could get all of their protein by eating broccoli and spinach but that would be very difficult.

      For diabetics, low carb dieters and keto dieters, reduction in carbs IS the answer.

      Americans eat FIVE TIMES more sugar than most of the rest of the world. If we don’t change that, we will always top the list of most obese countries, not to mention the most diabetic countries.

      Happy Holidays! thanks for stopping by.

  12. Michael says:

    Thanks for these great suggestions and books on how to eat a low carb diet during the holidays. Hijeskry thiufh like you said, thanksgiving and Christmas I don’t worry about what I’m eating long as it taste good and I’m with family.

    But I’d love to read through this books for the rest if the year, because I bet it will have some high protein meals with very little carbs to help build muscle without the fat.

    Have you bought any of these, if so what was one of your favorite recipes?

    1. John says:

      I have the low-carb winter desserts cookbook which I just got and I am motivated to try one of the beverages first.

      I’m not intimidated by the idea of eating low carb foods, so eventually, I will try them all as each recipe enriches my experience. It works the same for all of us. As we learn what ingredients are used to create low carb dishes, our own experiments will be more successful!

  13. jessie palaypay says:

    I love that these low carb ideas allow you to have your cake and eat it to. I am really trying to cut back on all the food that i am eating during the holidays. I have been gaining a little more weight than I would like to and would actually like to lose that weight. I hope cooking these low carb meals will help with this.

    1. John says:

      Low carb eating always helps with maintaining and even losing weight. These recipes will certainly help you adopt a low carb lifestyle, if not simply moderate your carb intake through the season.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  14. Stella says:

    Low Carb Dinner Ideas!  

    I have been eating fish and also chicken wings recently…However, at Christmas I am DEFINITELY eating my own roasted potatoes…Just twice and that is it.  Back to fish and wings. With plenty of lentils and vegetables.

    I really enjoyed reading your article and how pretty the table looks. Very elegant indeed!

    Your books should sell quite well after marketing.  We could all do with reducing starchy carbs in our meals. Especially the sweet variety!

    Thanks for sharing.

  15. Matt's Mom says:

    I actually just started my low carb diet today.  My friend warned me to not start until after the holidays, but I don’t have family or friends here since I recently moved here.  So it seems it will be fairly easy.  So, I was looking for some ideas for Christmas dinner, I do have a son to consider.  I love all your ideas.  I actually love riced cauliflower, and I think my son will too, just as long as I don’t tell him what it is Ha!  Anyway, great post.  You have given me some great ideas.

    1. John says:

      Bummer that you don’t get to spend the day with your family. I’m glad you stopped by to check out my site. If this is your first holiday eating low carb, it may feel very difficult to find dishes, but usually, a taste will tell you!

      If you are concerned about what you might run into, the recipes in these cookbooks will keep you going in the right direction.

      Best of luck and best of the season to you!

  16. Rod Brown says:

    Have you ever considered that only one of these meals is kosher… Just saying, these are odd ways to celebrate these customs when you think about it.  But your article was about counting Christmas carbs, etc…  Originally set as feasts or festivals, meant to be celebrations.  How much damage would it cause a person or how far would it set someone back if he took one day in honor of something other than his waistline?  Like going to a wedding reception and refusing a piece of commemorative celebration cake, and the worst part, the behavior is not only understood, it’s approved.  I also understand how important it is to keep our focus on our goals, but the carbs you are going to consume are going to make your belly bigger than the celebration.  Continue to count the carbs after…  

    1. John says:

      I appreciate your comments, Rod. The truth is that how kosher a food is or isn’t doesn’t present an issue for me. Especially since I’m writing about, essentially, Christmas and Easter holidays. Not many people who celebrate Christmas and Easter are concerned about whether their food is kosher.

      I adopt a low carb lifestyle and I cannot honestly promote a kosher lifestyle, so what I’ve done here is write about what I know about.

      To your point that perhaps one day of low carb eating would not cause much damage, I disagree. 

      This is not about honoring one’s waistline over a holiday celebration, it’s about honoring one’s body over a lifetime.

      Watching carbs for a  day will help with recovery from that day. I am presenting options reasonable for anyone who celebrates Christmas and Easter to control their carb intake for the day or maintain their carb intake throughout the season.

      A person who has been maintaining a low carb lifestyle is threatened by holiday meals with family because most people, even those who eat kosher foods, do not prepare their dishes with other people’s dietary needs in mind.

  17. Daniel Gonzales says:

    Thank you for the Low Carb Holiday dinner ideas! We definitely splurge too much when it comes to the holidays and eating. I have been guilty of this myself since the rest of my family is all eating the same meats, sides, and dessert. Alot of times I don’t want to be rude to the host. So I go ahead and eat it anyway.

    But I think we do need to consider some alternatives that can help make the dinner healthier for the family. You have a great collection of side items mentioned in the article. I would probably hold back on the romaine until they are done with the recall due to bacteria found in some processing plants. 

    I think sweet potatoes are a great healthy alternative as well. It is my personal favorite and would go well with stuffing. I love cornbread so any alternative for that would be tough for me. I was wondering if any of the cookbooks offer healthier meats to select as well? Or how organic farm meats might play a role in our health could be useful information. Thank you for providing this insightful article on Low carb Holiday dinner ideas and I look forward to your future work!

    1. John says:

      Hey! While I don’t get into whether organic products are healthful in my articles, they definitely are. In my experience, they often don’t taste as great and really don’t offer any benefit over items in the grocery store that are not labeled as organic.

      Truth be told, there is really no regulation on what is allowed to be labeled as organic.

      A farmer puts a sign on the corner of his crop that reads “Do not spray” and he gets the organic seal, as though the guy flying the crop duster can read the sign.

      This is a low carb and diabetic site. 

      With that said, I firmly disagree with you that Sweet Potatoes and stuffing go together. Those are exactly the foods we are avoiding here, orgainic or not. At no time are sweet potatoes or any other potatoes a healthy alternative to any other food in a low carb or diabetic diet.

      Daniel, you got it all wrong for this website, but in any case, I wish you a happy holiday season!

  18. Danette says:

    For a few years, I tried hard to follow a no sugar diet. (More recently, I admit I haven’t tried so hard.) One thing I found out was exactly what you said about being able to taste just a little bit of sweet when you’re not used to having it. Another thing I found out was that it was very difficult (for me anyway) to make desserts. My attempt at sugar-free brownies turned out more like powder. So having a cookbook of recipes that actually work, taste good, and are low carb would be a great help! Thanks!

    1. John says:

      Danette, thank you for the comments. I have found that following the instructions for conversion of an artificial sweetener never works. That’s why I went looking for these cookbooks.

      There are people who have already experimented and have published low carb recipes that work perfectly. These cookbooks hit the spot!

      Have a happy holiday season!

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