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Your Healthy Meal Plan for December

Lighten things up a bit this holiday season with this healthy meal plan. With a main and side dish for every day in December, you'll be able to focus on gift giving and time with the family rather than planning out your next meal.

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Day 1: Garlicky Chicken Dinner

Flavorful bone-in chicken is enhanced by herbs, lemon and hearty vegetables in this savory meal-in-one entree. —Shannon Norris, Cudahy, Wisconsin

Goes Great with: Parmesan Potato Wedges

2 / 31
Day 2: Raspberry-Walnut Pork Salad

Day 2: Raspberry-Walnut Pork Salad

Raspberry, rosemary, Gorgonzola and walnuts combine to make a pork dish that's bursting with flavor. —Virginia Anthony, Jacksonville, Florida

Goes Great with: Sicilian Steamed Leeks

3 / 31

Day 3: Spicy Veggie & Lentil Soup

I enjoy this recipe because it’s meatless, inexpensive and simply delicious! You can substitute any vegetables you like—it’s all a matter of preference. Serve warm pita bread on the side. —Geraldine Hennessey, Glendale, New York

Goes Great with: Tender Whole Wheat Rolls 

4 / 31
Day 4: West Coast Snappy Joes

Day 4: West Coast Snappy Joes

Meet my California-inspired sloppy Joe. Load it up with whatever toppings you like, or pour the filling over noodles. It's incredible on mac and cheese. —Devon Delaney, Westport, Connecticut

Goes Great with: Roasted Carrots with Thyme

5 / 31
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Day 5: Ginger-Glazed Grilled Salmon

Our family loves salmon prepared this way, and it's a real treat to make on a warm summer evening. These fillets may be baked in the oven at 450 degrees for 18 minutes, basting occasionally. —Wanda Toews, Cromer, Manitoba

Goes Great with: Baked Parmesan Breaded Squash 

6 / 31
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Day 6: Orange Beef Lettuce Wraps

This is a lighter version of a restaurant favorite. I also recommend trying these wraps with ground chicken or turkey.—Robin Haas, Cranston, Rhode Island

Goes Great with: Bok Choy and Radishes

7 / 31
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Day 7: Chicken Pesto Meatballs

These tender, pesto-stuffed meatballs get gobbled up in our house. They're short on ingredients, but packed with flavor. I always make a double batch, freezing the other half for a busy night. —Ally Billhorn, Wilton, Iowa

Goes Great with: Triple Tomato Flatbread 

8 / 31

Day 8: Apricot Crab Stuffed Acorn Squash

This light squash recipe is quick, simple and bursting with rich flavors. It looks so elegant when served on a lovely platter. —Judy Armstrong, Prairieville, Louisiana

Goes Great with: Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

9 / 31
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Day 9: Turkey and Apple Arugula Salad

This satisfying salad proves that turkey can be enjoyed outside of the holidays. Peppery salad greens, sweet grapes and rich walnuts combine to create a flavor sensation. —Nancy Heishman, Las Vegas, Nevada

Goes Great with: Honey-Garlic Brussels Sprouts

10 / 31
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Day 10: Satisfying Tomato Soup

After craving tomato soup, I decided to make my own. My sister Joan likes it chunky-style, so she doesn't puree. Serve it with a grilled cheese sandwich. —Marian Brown, Mississauga, Ontario

Goes Great with: Grilled Cheese Croutons

11 / 31
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Day 11: Pork with Sweet Potatoes

With sweet potatoes, dried cranberries and apple slices, this colorful pork dish is especially popular during fall and winter. —Mary Relyea, Canastota, New York

Goes Great with: Green Risotto

12 / 31
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Day 12: Artichoke Chicken

Rosemary, mushrooms and artichokes combine to give this chicken a wonderful, savory flavor. I've served this healthy canned vegetable recipe for a large group by doubling the batch. It's always a big hit with everyone—especially my family! —Ruth Stenson, Santa Ana, California

Goes Great with: Creamy Roasted Garlic & Spinach Orzo

13 / 31
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Day 13: Spinach 'n' Broccoli Enchiladas

I like to top this wonderful meatless meal with lettuce and serve it with extra picante sauce. It's quick, easy, filled with fresh flavor and definitely satisfying! —Lesley Tragesser, Charleston, Missouri

Goes Great with: Homemade Guacamole

14 / 31
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Day 14: Turkey Marsala

This Marsala sauce for turkey is really rich, like you fussed all day in the kitchen. Here’s the shocker: We make it fast. —Deborah Williams, Peoria, Arizona

Goes Great with: Two-Tone Baked Potatoes

15 / 31
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Day 15: Pan-Roasted Salmon with Cherry Tomatoes

It sounds basic, but the tomato sauce is so awesome. If you have it, use white wine instead of chicken broth. I like to serve my salmon with asparagus—roast it alongside the fish. —Swati Sharan, Horseheads, New York

Goes Great with: Cheese Smashed Potatoes

16 / 31
Day 16: Power Lasagna

Day 16: Power Lasagna

When my husband and I wanted to live healthier, our first step was to eat more power foods, such as whole grains, fresh veggies and protein. Combined with our love for Italian food, this tasty lasagna is one of the nutritious results.—Jennifer Yaden, Richmond, Kentucky

Goes Great with: Asparagus and Mushrooms in Lemon-Thyme Butter

17 / 31
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Day 17: Sausage & Greens Soup

I always have an abundance of fresh vegetables on hand, so I wanted to create a delicious soup to enjoy during the colder months. I think I found a winner! —Angie Pitts, Charleston, South Carolina.

Goes Great with: Apple Salad with Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette

18 / 31

Day 18: Lamb Pitas with Yogurt Sauce

The spiced lamb in these stuffed pita pockets goes perfectly with cool cucumber and yogurt. It's like having your own Greek gyro stand in the kitchen. —Angela Leinenbach, Mechanicsville, Virginia

Goes Great with: Rosemary Sweet Potato Fries

19 / 31

Day 19: East Coast Shrimp and Lentil Bowls

If you have frozen shrimp, a few seasoning ingredients, bagged spinach and lentils on hand in your pantry, you can make this dish in no time. It's so delicious, nobody needs to know that it's healthy, too! —Mary Kay LaBrie, Clermont, Florida

Goes Great with: Asparagus, Squash & Red Pepper Saute

20 / 31

Day 20: Easy Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

One time when making sloppy joes, I wanted mine spicy, so I doused it in hot sauce. After that, my mind went wild and I made it Buffalo chicken-style with ground chicken, diced celery and blue cheese crumbles. I've been making it this way ever since. —Jennifer Nielson, Spanish Fork, Utah

Goes Great with: Smoky Cauliflower Bites

21 / 31
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Day 21: Quinoa Unstuffed Peppers

This deconstructed stuffed pepper dish packs a wallop of flavor. I truly make it all the time, and I make sure my freezer's stocked with single-serve portions to take to work. —Rebecca Ende, Phoenix, New York

Goes Great with: Lemon Roasted Fingerlings and Brussels Sprouts

22 / 31

Day 22: Quinoa-Stuffed Squash Boats

My colorful “boats” with quinoa, garbanzo beans and pumpkin seeds use delicata squash, a winter squash with edible skin that’s cream-colored with green stripes. In a pinch, acorn squash will do—but don't eat the skin! —Lauren Knoelke, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Goes Great with: Broccoli with Garlic, Bacon & Parmesan

23 / 31
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Day 23: Creamy Scallop Crepes

These savory crepes feel so elegant for the holidays. I like to add 1/4 teaspoon of fresh dill weed to the crepe batter before refrigerating. —Doreen Kelly, Hatboro, Pennsylvania

Goes Great with: Parmesan Butternut Squash

24 / 31
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Day 24: Pork Chops with Dijon Sauce

Here's a main course that tastes rich but isn't high in saturated fat. It's easy for weeknights, but the creamy sauce makes it special enough for weekends. —Bonnie Brown-Watson, Houston, Texas

Goes Great with: Mushroom and Spinach Saute

25 / 31
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Day 25: Sunday Roast Chicken

This recipe proves that comfort food doesn't have to be full of unwanted calories. Mixed with orange and lemon juice, my roast chicken is both flavorful and healthy. —Robin Haas, Cranston, Rhode Island.

Goes Great with: Colcannon Potatoes

26 / 31
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Day 26: Arrabbiata Sauce with Zucchini Noodles

This popular Italian dish is very spicy and full of flavor. We decided to re-create one of our favorite jarred sauces and serve over zucchini pasta for a lighter, healthier meal that's naturally gluten-free. The results were amazing! —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas

Goes Great with: Whole Wheat Potato Rolls

27 / 31

Day 27: Turkey Sausage and Lentil Soup

This recipe was given to me by my son, Chris, and we have it several times during the winter months. —Kathy Mazur, Sarasota, Florida

Goes Great with: Winter Beet Salad

28 / 31

Day 28: Jerk Chicken with Tropical Couscous

Caribbean cuisine brightens up our weeknights thanks to its bold colors and flavors. Done in less than 30 minutes, this chicken is one of my go-to easy meals. —Jeanne Holt, Mendota Heights, Minnesota

Goes Great with: Snappy Green Beans

29 / 31

Day 29: Crab-Stuffed Flounder with Herbed Aioli

If you like seafood, you’ll love this scrumptious flounder. The light and creamy aioli sauce tops it off with fresh tones of chives and garlic. —Beverly O'Ferrall, Linkwood, Maryland

Goes Great with: Sweet Corn and Potato Gratin

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Day 30: Spicy Sweet Potato Kale Cannellini Soup

This cross between a soup and a stew fits the meatless Monday bill quite nicely. It warms you right up, and satisfies without leaving you overstuffed.—Marybeth Mank, Mesquite, Texas

Goes Great with: Vegetable and Barley Pilaf

31 / 31

Day 31: Pineapple-Ginger Chicken Stir-Fry

I found the original recipe on a can of pineapple slices in the 1980s. After making it for a number of years, I lightened up the ingredients and adapted it to a quick skillet meal. My family gave it a big thumbs-up, and we've enjoyed it this way ever since! —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin

Goes Great with: Chinese Chard with Almonds

Caroline Stanko
As an Associate Digital Editor, Caroline writes and edits all things food-related and helps produce videos for Taste of Home. When she’s not at her desk, you can probably find Caroline cooking up a feast, planning her next trip abroad or daydreaming about her golden retriever, Mac.
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