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Portable Oxygen Concentrator Resource Center

Lung Friendly Holiday Meals to Make This Year

Posted by Erin Lowry on Dec 10, 2018 3:30:00 PM


Lung Friendly Holiday Meals to Make This Year

This holiday season you shouldn't feel any restrictions in what you eat, but there are ways to make healthier alternatives but still enjoy the flavors.

We made a list of healthier traditional meals, as well as some fun new things to try!


Spinach Artichoke Dip:


  • 4 oz reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 c. plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • ½ c. jarred artichokes, drained and chopped
  • 1/3 c. Feta, crumbled
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • ½ tsp salt


Mix all ingredients until well combined and pour over into a 1 qt baking dish.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until fluffy, serve with veggies, pita chips or whole grain tortilla chips.

Sweet Potato Bites with Bacon and Avocado:


  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 sweet potatoes, clean (don’t peel!)
  • 1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¾ tsp black pepper
  • 2 medium avocados, peeled pitted and diced
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and cook bacon according to your preferred cooking method.

Move the racks in the oven to the upper and lower thirds of the oven, line two baking sheets with foil and brush with ½ tbsp olive oil on each pan.

With a mandoline or a knife, slice the sweet potatoes into ½ to ¼ inch slices and lay them on to the baking sheets in one layer.

Brush the top of each sweet potato with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, bake one on the top rack and one on the bottom rack for 20-25 minutes until the bottoms turn golden brown.

Rotate the pan 180 degrees and switch the racks, flip all the slices over and continue to cook for another 8-11 minutes.

While the sweet potatoes are baking, mix the avocado, lime juice, the remaining salt and smoked paprika, then mash with a fork and set aside.

Transfer the sweet potato bites to a serving plate, top with a dollop of avocado, chopped bacon and cilantro.


Garlic Sautéed Shrimp:


  • 24 unpeeled raw shrimp
  • ¾ c. dry white wine (or white wine vinegar (use 50% wwv and 50% water))
  • ¾ c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp parsley, minced


Rinse shrimp and pat dry, peel everything except the tail and devein.

In a large skillet, combine wine, broth and bay leaves and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover the skillet and cook for 5 minutes.

Uncover after 5 minutes and cook until the liquid is reduced to ½ c., which should be 3-5 more minutes.

Pour the stock into a bowl and set aside, clean out the skillet to reuse.

Heat the butter and oil in a pan on medium-low heat, add in garlic and cook until the garlic is soft but not browning, then add in crushed red pepper, salt and shrimp stock.

Increase to medium-high and cook until it reduces by half, arrange the shrimp in the pan in a single layer and cook until pink and curled.

Add lemon juice and parsley and toss gently to combine everything and serve.


Cranberry Turkey Meatballs:


For the Meatballs:

  • 1 lb of 93% lean ground turkey
  • ½ c. plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 c. shredded tart apple
  • 1 ½ tbsp finely chopped sage
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ¾ salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • Fresh parsley chopped, for garnish

For the Cranberry Sauce:

  • 1 c. whole berry cranberry sauce
  • ¼ c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tbsp juice from the orange


Place a rack in the center of your oven and set the oven to 425 degrees F.

Take an oven proof baking rack and put it on top of a rimmed baking sheet, lightly coat with cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, combine turkey, breadcrumbs, olive oil, egg, apple, sage, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper with your hands.

Be light with your motions in order to prevent condensing the turkey.

Once well combined, roll the mix into 1 ½-inch to 2-inch balls, arrange them on the baking rack and bake for 12-14 minutes.

While they meatballs are cooking in the oven, prepare the sauce in a pan.

In a saucepan that will fit all the meatballs, mix the cranberries, applesauce, maple syrup, orange zest and juice and heat over medium heat.

Once the meatballs are cooked, add them to the sauce pan and make sure every meatball is evenly coated and then transfer to a serving plate.




Mushroom Stuffed Pork Tenderloin:


  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • ½ c. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 pork tenderloins (2 to 2 ½ lbs total)
  • ½ tsp grated lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat 2/5 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add in bacon and cook for about 8 minutes (or until crisp).

Add the mushrooms, ½ tsp of salt and pepper to taste, cook until the mushrooms are soft (about 4 minutes), then add in garlic and cook for a minute.

Remove from heat and add the breadcrumbs and all the parsley (except 2 tbsp parsley).

Soak 10 to 12 toothpicks in water to prevent burning in the oven during cooking.

Rinse the tenderloin and pat dry, butterfly the pork and make a 1 inch deep cut down each tenderloin but don’t cut all the way through.

Lie the meat open like a book, and cover with plastic wrap.

Pound with the flat side of a meat mallet until it is about an ½ inch thick, apply the mushroom mixture over the 2 tenderloins, and then try to roll up each tenderloin and insert toothpicks.

Coat the pork with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.


Roasted Pork:


  • 1 ¼ to ½ lbs pork (cut into 4 pieces)
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and then begin to prepare the pork.

Pat the prok dry and season with salt and pepper.

Heat ½ tbsp of olive oil in a skillet (big enough for all the pork) over medium-high heat.

Add in the pork and sear on all sides until browned, this will take about 6 minutes (turn down the heat if it begins to burn).

After all sides are browned, transfer the pork to an oven safe dish and roast in oven for 15 to 20 minutes (or until a thermometer is inserted to the center of the pork and reads 145 degrees F).

Take out of the oven once a thermometer reads 145 degrees F and let rest for at least 5 minutes before the pork is cut.


Cranberry Glazed Turkey:


  • Boneless turkey breasts (2 lbs)
  • Olive oil
  • 1/8 to ¼ tsp ground sage
  • Salt & pepper to taste
For the Cranberry Sauce:
  • 1 c. fresh cranberries
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • ½ c. sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp orange juice


Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees F and then begin to make the cranberry sauce.

In a saucepan over low heat add the cranberries, rosemary, sugar, water and orange juice.

Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries start to soften and the sugar dissolves (will take about 5 minutes).

Turn up the heat to low-medium and cook until the cranberries burst, and the sauce has the consistency of jam (will take about 10 minutes).

Remove the rosemary sprig and any leaves that may have fallen off while cooking and then begin to mash until it is smooth and there is no chunks of cranberry.

Set aside and let cool while you prepare the turkey breast.

Brush the turkey with olive oil and season with sage, salt and pepper.

Put the turkey on a baking sheet and coat with the cranberry mixture until it is completely coated.

Roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until a thermometer is inserted to the center of the turkey breast and reads 165 degrees F.

Once it reaches temperature, remove from oven and cover with foil for at least 5 minutes before cutting.


Roasted Chicken:


  • 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
  • 3 sprigs tarragon
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1-5 lb whole chicken (giblets removed)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste


Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees F.

Add the onion, garlic, tarragon and thyme to the cavity of the chicken and tie the legs together with kitchen string to “close” the cavity.

Pull the wings together over the chicken breast so that the tips overlap and tie in place (you can tie the string over the wings and around the chicken).

Rub the chicken with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Place the chicken in a roasting pan with the breast facing down and put in oven for 25 minutes.

After 25 minutes, remove the chicken from the over and flip over the chicken so the breast is face up and baste with pan juices.

Put back into the oven until the turkey reaches 175 degrees F internally.

Using a thermometer, check that the thickest part of the thigh (make sure it is in the middle and isn’t touching any bones) reads 175 degrees F.

Expect it to take between 1 ¼ hours to 1 ½ hours, once it is done take out and let rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting.

Remove string before you cut.


Roasted Turkey:

As turkey and chicken have different flavors, they have different processes in preparing and cooking the meats.

This is similar to a roasted chicken but is slightly different for flavors better suited for turkey.


  • 1 – 12 lb whole turkey
  • ¾ c. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 c. water


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and begin to clean the turkey (removing all giblets and organs that were left).

Place the turkey in a roasting pan with a lid and start to mix the spices.

In a small bowl, mix olive oil, garlic powder, basil, sage, salt and black pepper and brush the mix onto the turkey.

Pour water into the bottom of the pan, put the lid on and put into the oven.

The turkey will bake for 3 to 3 ½ hours, or until the thickest part of the thigh reads 180 degrees F with a thermometer.

Once it reaches the right temperature, take out of the oven and let rest for 30 minutes before cutting the turkey.

roasted turkey

Side Dishes:


Green Bean Casserole:


  • 2 lbs fresh green beans, cut to bite-sized pieces
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, peeled and thinly-sliced
  • 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ c. Panko breadcrumbs
  • ¾ c. parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 c. milk
  • ½ c. vegetable stock
  • Salt & pepper


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and begin to cut the green beans to cook.

Trim the ends of the green beans and cut into bite-sized pieces and add to a boiling pot of water for 3-5 minutes.

After 3-5 minutes transfer the green beans to a bowl of ice water to prevent the green beans from cooking longer (as they will cook more in the oven).

If you choose to make fried onions from scratch, follow the recipe below, otherwise you can substitute for store-bought.

Add ½ tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.

Once the oil is hot add in the onions and sauté for 2/3 minutes, stirring intermittently until the onion becomes partially cooked but can still hold shape.

Pour the onions to a clean bowl and then add ½ tbsp olive oil to the pan again, this time add in Panko and stir for 2-3 minutes.

The Panko should appear light-golden, once there, turn off the heat and add the Panko to the bowl with the onions.

Add in ¼ c. parmesan to the mix and stir until well combined.

This green bean casserole is a bit healthier and fresher because you make a homemade mushroom alfredo sauce versus canned cream of mushroom.

With the same sauté pan (cleaned out) add 2 tbsp olive oil to the pan over medium-high heat and add mushrooms to sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally (until they become light brown and soft).

Add in the garlic and sauté for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once the garlic becomes fragrant, add in the flour and stir until well combined.

Add in vegetable stock and stir until the flour is dissolved, then add in the milk and parmesan, stir to combine.

Cook the sauce until it begins to simmer and thicken, then remove from heat and add salt & pepper to your preference.

Now that each individual component is done, combine the mushroom sauce and green beans to a 9 x 13 baking dish and spread to make an even layer.

Sprinkle the onion mix (or store-bought fried onions) on top of the casserole and put in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

To prevent burning of the onion mix, place a piece of aluminum foil for 15-20 minutes and remove for the last 5-10 minutes.

 green bean casserole



  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 14 oz. stuffing bread (look for unseasoned or lightly seasoned)
  • ½ c. onion, chopped
  • ½ c. celery, diced
  • ½ c. carrots, diced
  • ½ c. mushroom, diced (if you do not like mushroom (or are allergic) you can omit this from the recipe)
  • 2/3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-2 ½ c. chicken broth
  • 1-2 tsp poultry seasoning (use less if you use seasoned stuffing bread)
  • Salt & pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and heat a large sauté pan over medium heat.

Once the pan is warmed, add butter and spray with cooking spray.

Add carrots to the pan and sauté for 5 minutes, after that add in celery, onion, garlic and mushrooms and cook until all vegetables are tender.

Once the vegetables are tender, remove from the pan and set aside in a large bowl.

Add the stuffing bread to the vegetables in the bowl and toss together, add in the poultry seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the chicken broth in the mix and then stir, then pour into a 9 x 13 baking pan and cover with foil.

Put in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes and uncover and cook for 10 more minutes to crisp the top.


Garlic and Chive Mashed Potatoes:


  • 1 1/3 c. skim milk
  • 3 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • ¼ c. 2% Greek yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives
  • Salt & pepper to taste


In a medium pot, add potatoes and cover with water (2 inches over the top of the potatoes), once boiling cook until they become tender (roughly 10-12 minutes).

Drain potatoes and mash as finely as possible (unless you prefer chunky mashed potatoes).

In a small sauce pan, bring milk and garlic to a boil, once boiling remove from heat and let stand.

Strain the mix into a pot and throw out the garlic pieces, then add in butter.

Once butter is melted remove from heat and add in yogurt, chives, salt and pepper.


Roasted Potato Bites:


  • 1 ½ - 2 lbs potatoes, quartered
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

Bring a pot of potatoes to a boil and boil for 8 minutes and drain.

Melt butter and olive oil in the pot and add the potatoes back to the pot, add garlic salt and pepper and stir until everything is coated.

Place potatoes skin side up on the baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes or until they are crisp to your liking.


No Sugar Added Sweet Potato Casserole:


  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • ½ c. low fat milk
  • 5 tbsp butter, melted and divided (4 tbsp and 1 tbsp)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 c. chopped pecans
  • ¼ c. pepitas (or pumpkin seeds)
  • ¼ c. dried fruit of your choice (we like raisins, cherries and peaches)
  • Salt & pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bring a pot of water (1-2 inches of water) to boil (in a pot with steamer basket).

Add in sweet potatoes, cover and steam until soft (18-20 minutes) and drain off water.

Add the potatoes to the pot and add in milk, 4 tbsp butter, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, salt and pepper.

Mash until it is the consistency you like, and then transfer to a baking dish.

In a small bowl mix pecans, pepitas, dried fruit and the remaining 1 tbsp of butter until well combined.

Sprinkle over the sweet potatoes and put in the oven until the top is lightly browned, 20-30 minutes.



Cranberry Crumble Bars:


For the Filling:

  • 2 c. cranberries
  • Zest & juice of ½ an orange
  • 6 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon

For the Crust:

  • 1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ c. almond flour
  • ½ c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • Zest of ½ an orange
  • 4 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (we often do this after we finish making the filling and before the crust), and line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper.

To prepare the filling combine cranberries, orange zest and juice, 6 tbsp granulated sugar, cornstarch, almond extract and cinnamon.

Once everything is well combined, set it aside to begin working on the crust.

To make the crust, mix together all-purpose flour, almond flour, ½ c. granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and orange zest with a whisk.

Add in cubed butter and work with your hands, flatten the pieces of butter to slowly mix the dry ingredients in (this can be easier with a pastry cutter), this will begin to look like sand or crumbled pieces.

Beat the egg whites and vanilla in a bowl with a fork, and pour into the flour/butter mixture, use the fork to scrape the edges until everything is well combined, set aside ½ c. of the crust.

Press the rest of the crust into the pan and make sure it is even, then add the filling and spread evenly and sprinkle the ½ c. of crust on top.

Bake until the top is lightly browned (roughly 40 minutes) and let cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting or serving.

Garnish the bars with powdered sugar if desired.


Traditional Pumpkin Pie:


For the Crust:

  • 1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ c. vegetable oil
  • ¼ c. fat-free milk

For the Filling:

  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¾ c. evaporated fat-free milk


Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees F, again we tend to start the oven in the middle of making everything so that it is not making the kitchen hot while we are preparing everything else.

In a bowl (medium sized), stir together the flour and salt for the crust (or buy a pre-made crust at the store and skip the steps involving the crust).

Add in oil and milk and mix with a fork until it forms a ball, once you have reached that point begin to knead the dough.

On a floured surface, use your hands to flatten the pastry dough and then begin to roll it out with a rolling pin. Try to get the dough to be a circle, and roughly 12 inches in diameter.

Roll the flattened pastry around your pin and unroll it over the pie plate, try not to stretch the dough and trim the edges down to ½ past the pie pan.

Design the edges as desired, you can crimp the edges or keep them flat.

For the pumpkin pie filling, mix together pumpkin, sugar, honey, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Add in egg and vanilla and beat lightly with a fork until all is incorporated, then add in evaporated milk.

After well combined pour into the pie crust, cover the crust in foil so it does not burn and bake for 20 minutes, remove foil and bake for 20-25 minutes more.


Gluten Free Sugar Cookies:


  • 2 ½ c. gluten-free flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 c. white sugar
  • ¾ c. butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt
  • ¼ c. cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ c butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ c. confectioners’ sugar


Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat white sugar, ¾ c. butter and vanilla extract with an electric mixer.

Once combined, beat in eggs (one at a time) until everything is smooth and well combined.

Mix wet ingredients into flour mixture until it forms a ball, wrap the ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

After an hour, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and begin to roll out the dough on a floured surfer to cut into shapes with cookie cutters.

Bake the cookies until the edges begin to brown (roughly 10 minutes) and then cool on a wire rack.

For the icing, beat the softened cream cheese, ¼ c. butter, 1 tsp vanilla extract together with an electric mixer.

Once combined add in confectioners’ sugar into the mixture until all combined and is smooth.

Warm the icing in the microwave to melt so that you can dip cookies in the icing and then let set.

*if you do not want to roll out cookies and use cookie cutters, roll the ball of dough into a log and put in the fridge. After an hour remove and cut the log into slices (cookies) and bake as directed.*

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake:


  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 ½ tbsp lemon zest (3 small or 1 large lemon)
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp canola/vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 c. granulated sugar
  • ½ c. plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (1-2 small lemons)
  • 6 tbsp nonfat milk

For the Icing:

  • 4 tbsp powdered sugar
  • ¼ tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp nonfat milk


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and coat a 9 x 5 pan (we often use a bread loaf pan) with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix together flour, poppy seeds, lemon zest, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl whisk together the oil, egg and vanilla and once combined add in sugar, yogurt and lemon juice and mix until combined again.

Alternate between adding milk and flour until everything is well combined (for the best result mix in 1/3 of the flour and then ½ of the milk and alternate until gone).

Once combined, pour the batter in the pan and bake for 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes.

Cover with foil if the top browns too quickly and form a tent and cook for the first 30 minutes.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before flipping it over on a wire rack.

For the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, almond extract, and milk in a small bowl.

Drizzle over the top of the cake once it is cooled.

*if you want to use vanilla extract instead of almond extract, use ½ tsp of vanilla and an additional ¾ tsp of nonfat milk.*

lemon poppy seed cake with glaze


More often then not, the effort we have to put in to make holiday meals is too much, and the food isn't very healthy.

The recipes we pulled together are more healthy than our traditional foods (i.e. fried turkey) but still filled with great flavors and they keep with the traditional foods served at holiday gatherings.

Let us know if you try any of the recipes and if/how you would tweak the recipe!


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