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Healthy Christmas Traditions from Around the World

December 25, 2013

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When you think of Christmas food, what comes to mind first? For me it’s cookies, candy canes, and sugar plum fairies dancing through my head! Christmas food traditions are so different all over the world. In fact, some cultures have much healthier traditions that sound delicious!

Australia: Christmas comes in the warm summer months in the southern hemisphere, so it should come as no surprise that Aussies feast on seafood, cold meat (like ham and turkey) and salads on Christmas Day!

Czech Republic: In the Czech Republic, the Christmas feast of either fish or pea soup should be the first meal eaten all day for good luck!

Denmark: In this Nordic culture, they go all out for their holiday feast! Roasted chestnuts, boiled potatoes, roasted pork, rodkai (pickled red cabbage) and glogg (mulled red wine) are among the favorite Christmas dishes. 

Mexico: A stuffed and roasted turkey with a side of gravy is served in Mexico along with potato salad, tamales and a hot, sweet drink called ponche!

Poland: In Poland, twelve dishes are serves to represent the twelve Apostles on Christmas eve. Polish people typically do not eat meat on Christmas Day, so all twelve dishes are made of fish and vegetables. The feast features many local flavors like barszcz, a beet soup, carp with potato salad and pierogi made with sauerkraut and forest mushrooms!

Spain: The traditional Christmas dish in Spain is jamon, a dry cured ham. It’s often served with any number of other meats like roasted lamb or seafood like lobster or crabs.

Sweden: In Sweden, the Christmas smorgasbord is the term used for all of the dishes served on Christmas. Swedish meatballs, smoked pork sausage, scalloped potatoes and gronkal (sweet and sour kale) are some of these popular dishes served.

Of course, there are many less healthy traditions through out the world, too! What is the fun of this celebratory meal if you don’t indulge a little bit? Many countries like France and the United Kingdom serve a beautifully decorated buche De Noel cake at the end of the night. And of course each country has their own version of Christmas treats like gingerbread in Canada and the United States or bunuelos (fluffy doughnuts made with corn and maple syrup) in Guatemala! In Japan, a relatively new tradition is a family meal of KFC fried chicken;

What does your family traditionally eat on Christmas?