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Holiday Cheer: Honey Baked Ham Edition

Next week, millions of families will sit down to a wonderful holiday feast. There are so many traditions for that feast that it’s often difficult to zero in on one main dish that defines the meal. Often our heritage comes into play when planning our feast. Folks of different ethnic backgrounds have different dishes that play a starring role at the table. But the honey baked ham is a common superstar for a variety of reasons.

First, there are plenty of servings in the average five pound ham. Second, most holiday ham recipes don’t require a lot of fuss to prepare, allowing the cook to attend to other, more detailed dishes that will inevitably involve more time and effort. And third, most folks view ham as a “healthier” meal option – which it can be if you’re careful. Unfortunately, most traditional recipes for honey baked ham leave much to be desired in terms of nutrition facts.

Because is sensitive when it comes to the ingredients in our foods, ham can be a “touchy subject” for us. Right out of the gate, we’ll say that unless the ham is uncured, we’d rather stay away from it. But even an uncured ham prepared in the traditional manner won’t leave you much room for the rest of the feast. Let’s take a quick look …

Each five ounce serving of traditional honey baked ham contains about:

Calories: 520
Fat:          28.3g
Sodium: 1492 mg — more than half the average adult’s daily recommended intake in one serving!
Sugar:     38.6g – that’s over 9 teaspoons of sugar per serving

We want to be able to enjoy our entire meal – not just the main event. Nutrition facts like this make that difficult to do. What about the mashed potatoes, the vegetable dishes and the desserts?

We can definitely do better with this holiday feast superstar! It will be just as tasty and satisfying and save you and your guests a tremendous amount of calories, fat, sodium and sugar. Most importantly, it will leave you some room to indulge in the other dishes sure to be crowding your holiday table.


One five pound, bone in, uncured spiral ham
¼ cup pineapple juice
¼ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon orange juice

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Place ham, cut end down, in a large 13 x 9 pan.
3. In a small bowl, mix together pineapple juice and orange juice. Spoon 2 tablespoons over ham. Bake ham for 5 minutes. Remove from oven drizzle 2 more tablespoons all over ham. Bake for an additional 5 minutes and spoon the remaining juices over the ham. Remove ham from oven.
4. In another bowl, mix together brown sugar, honey and 1 tablespoon of orange juice.
Brush over ham. Place ham back in oven and bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes.

While this requires a bit more attention (and a lot less sugar) than traditional recipes, you’ll be quite happy with the results. And you’ll be even happier when you take a look at the nutrition facts for a five ounce serving:

Calories: 165
Fat:          10.5g
Sodium: 785 mg.
Sugar:     5g

We’re really happy with the difference here! knows that with a little careful thought and preparation, we can all make our holiday meals a healthier experience without sacrificing flavor or giving up traditional favorites. We all expect a great feast to be indulgent, but we’d rather not be paying for that indulgence for weeks to come! With recipes like this we can satisfy our cravings with much less concern. Stay tuned for more Holiday Cheer from We promise, we won’t forget dessert!


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