What Can You Bring To The Table This Holiday Season?

And I mean it literally! In my most recent previous post, I spoke about get togethers where you’re asked to bring a dish to pass. Now, it happens every once in awhile throughout the year, but during the holiday season, it seems like it’s happening every other week! So what are you to do when you’re expected to bring a dish to share with all the non-WLS people at the party? Well, in my opinion, you have three main options (only two of which I feel are advisable and fair to yourself if we’re being honest): bring something you can’t eat but everyone else will enjoy (but why would you do that to yourself? Things are hard enough already!), bring something that fits your diet and let people know about it, or sneak in a dish that people will think is part of the regular holiday decadence but is actually good for you. Or really, you don’t have to “sneak” anything, just don’t say “oh yeah, it’s sugar free and low fat” or whatever descriptions fit your dish. If you made low carb cheesecake, just tell them you made cheesecake! They’ll either like it or they won’t. Either way, at least you know there’s ONE thing there that you can eat. In honor of being good to ourselves throughout this holiday season (and all year long, really), I will be posting several different recipes for foods that you can take to your holiday gatherings and either pass them off as normal “not healthy” food, or let everyone know about your nutrition skills and how you whipped up something awesome tasting and awesome for you!

So this brings us to the question of what should you bring? Obviously the answer is different for everyone and is dependent on several things including the type of foods you would usually have at your holiday gatherings. If there is a particular tradition dish that you just have to have, can you change it up so that it fits your diet? For me, that dish is stuffing/dressing. I LOVE the regular sage stuffing that is fairly synonymous with Thanksgiving, but it is literally all bread with a big of veggies and butter. Last year, I came up with a new recipe that significantly reduces the carbs, ups the protein and still gives me the flavors that I’m craving when I think of stuffing:

Sausage and Cauliflower Stuffing


  • 4 cup, Roasted Cauliflower Rice
  • 8 oz, Apple and Onion Sausage
  • 1 cup Stuffing Mix 
  • 2 cups Sauteed Kale
  • 1 cup Yellow Onion, Diced
  • 1 cup Celery, Diced
  • 1 tbsp Poultry Seasoning
  • 4 TBSP Butter
  • 2 cups Chicken Stock

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8″x8″ baking pan.
  2. In a nonstick or stainless steel pot, melt butter over medium heat. When butter is melted, add in the onion and celery and cook until translucent (approximately 5-10 minutes depending on your stove).
  3.  If you sausage comes in a casing, you can remove said casing and throw it away. Crumble sausage into your cooking pot. Using your stirring utensil, you can break up the sausage into smaller pieces as it cooks. The size of the pieces really just depends on how you like it.
  4. When the sausage is fully cooked, add cauliflower, kale, poultry seasoning and stock then stir to combine. Bring to a simmer.
  5. When mixture is simmering, remove it from the heat and add the stuffing mix. Mixture will seem soupier than you would expect from stuffing, but it will firm up as it bakes.
  6. Move stuffing from cooking pot to baking pan. Smooth it out into a fairly even layer and place in the oven. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until top is browned and crispy and liquid has reduced.

Now, granted, there still isn’t a whole lot in the way of protein in this recipe and the carbs aren’t great. However, when you compare the nutrition from traditional bread stuffing of 33g of carbs and 0g of protein for a 3/4 cup serving, to the 17g carbs and 8g protein for a 1 cup serving of this stuffing, you can see that it’s vastly better for our unique diets. And keep in mind that you can always change recipes up to fit your preferences better. You can add more veggies to this stuffing to make the carbs per serving even lower, or up the amount of sausage. Use a different kind of sausage, or you could even use some sort of vegetable protein if that’s what you prefer. The reason I made this recipe this way is because while my family fully supports my decision to have had WLS, some of them still tend to turn up their noses at food that they know is “healthy.” It’s not that it doesn’t taste as good or anything, it’s just the stigma that we mentally put on “healthy food” in general. Because if it’s healthy, it obviously won’t taste as good at the original. Right? WRONG! I brought this to Thanksgiving last year and everyone loved it and asked for the recipe. It was then requested that I bring it to Christmas dinner as well! The proof is in the pudding, or rather, the stuffing in this case.

What recipes would you like to see healthier, more WLS friendly versions of? Do you have any recipes you’ve come up with on your own? Please comment and let me know what you really want for recipes this holiday season and we’ll see what this little recipe elf can pull off!

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