Healthy Holiday Eating: 13 Recipes That Promote Strong Bones and Joints

food to improve joints health

The holiday season is infamous for wrecking diets and making millions every year feel guilty. That’s why New Year’s resolutions are so popular.

While portion control is important, we want to tackle holiday health from a different angle: We want to make sure you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D to keep your bones and joints strong, and to combat osteoporosis.

The key ingredients include cruciferous vegetables (spinach, brussels sprouts, kale), broccoli, salmon, tuna, sardines, yogurt, milk, eggs, cheese and fortified cereals. None of those sound like traditional inclusions for a Thanksgiving spread, a Christmas dinner or a Hanukkah meal, but we’ve found a few ways to substitute these in.

Here are 13 healthy holiday recipes that promote strong bones and joints while still staying true to holiday traditions.


Bacon-Wrapped Turkey Breast w/ Wild Rice Stuffing and Apple-Cranberry Chutney [Iowa Girl Eats]

Food to have Strong Bones and Joints

This looks incredible. If you are doing a smaller Thanksgiving meal, save the hassle of cooking a whole turkey, and reap the benefits of a meal full of cranberry and asparagus. Also, check out author Kristin’s 10 favorite Thanksgiving recipes at the bottom of the post.

Best Granola Ever [Good On Paper]

Food to have Strong Bones and Joints
You know how we mentioned fortified cereals? Here is how to sneak that stuff into everybody’s food. First, make the granola beautifully photographed by Lisa Wong Jackson above. Then, use that granola as a key ingredient in some cookies. Bake them together as a family, and no one will ever know your ulterior motives.

Wild Mushroom Stuffing with Spinach, Herbs and Pecans

Nutritionist Dr. P.K. Newby has a Thanksgiving stuffing with mushrooms and spinach that she signs off on as a healthy alternative to the traditional recipe.

Vegan Christmas Kale Chopped Salad [Shockingly Delicious]

Food to have Strong Bones and Joints

Dorothy Reinhold at Shockingly Delicious reported that this salad was a huge hit at her Christmas table in 2013. Plus, the red-green combo is a nice touch.

Salmon, Kale and Quinoa Salad [Nid’s Noggin Fix]

You can serve this as a side at just about any holiday gathering.

Healthier Keftedes [Off the Broiler]

Food to have Strong Bones and Joints

ZDNet editor Jason Perlow has a healthy version of Greek meatballs, keftedes, that he made with ground turkey and served with a nice side salad, plus brown rice. You know when a bunch of friends in a city get together for a meal before departing to their hometowns for long holidays? This is a good recipe to try out for that occasion.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts [99 Cent Chef]

Food recipes to have Strong Bones and Joints

The holidays are peak season for brussels sprouts, a vegetable with few fans but a ton of nutrients. To get a less bitter, more nutty flavor out of these things, try roasting them according the way the 99 Cent Chef does.

Spinach Tidbits [Joy of Kosher]

Food to have Strong Bones and Joints

The Hanukkah menu is full of foods that promote healthy bones and joints. One such kosher snack, spinach tidbits, would be a hit at any holiday celebration, regardless of faith, and its main ingredient is a nutritional powerhouse.

Rolled Cucumber and Smoked Salmon Canapés [Real Food Pledge]

Food to have Strong Bones and Joints

Incorporating salmon into a holiday meal is easy: Just make some canapés, serve with Champagne, and voilà!

Greek Yogurt and Avocado Couscous Chickpea Salad [The Realistic Nutritionist]

Food to have Strong Bones and Joints

This should be your pasta salad’s substitute this year.

Butternut Squash and Kale [The Pioneer Woman]

Butternut squash is in season around Thanksgiving, kale is great for you, and the two ingredients pair together beautifully. The Pioneer Woman has a few ideas for what to do with the mixture, including tossing it with pasta (pictured above) or even making quesadillas.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce [The Lemon Bowl]

Cranberries are not rich in vitamins that promote bone and joint health specifically, but they are rich in nutrients such as fiber and vitamin C. Don’t forget the entirety of your health. Heap on that cranberry sauce.

Classic Eggnog [Tastes Better From Scratch]

Yep, this Christmas classic is loaded with calcium (and usually sugar and booze, sure, but still). Lauren Allen calls for six egg yolks, heavy cream and milk in her recipe.


Lead image by: Steve Johnson / Flickr
Keftedes image by: Kat Sommers / Flickr