Whether you’re hosting a holiday party or family gathering, or you’re a guest contributing a dish to the celebration, there are many ways to make your holiday party or dinner a healthy, tasty, and festive event. Here are a few ways to plan a healthy holiday menu:
- Less is more! Plan to simplify your menu with fewer options. Just make sure they complement each other in balance and taste.
- Use smaller plates and bowls. Smaller dishes equal less food and better portion control.
- Offer low-calorie beverages. Sparkling water with a splash of cranberry juice, wine spritzers, or water infused with berries, citrus fruits, or cucumbers provide a low-calorie, low- or alcohol-free, tasty option that looks festive as well.
- Avoid overdoing it on cheese. Make hors d’oeuvres or side dishes with less cheese or choose lower-fat cheese options. You might not even taste a difference if you use fresh seasonings and ingredients. This Goat Cheese Crostini recipe makes a delicious bite-sized treat!
- Make smart substitutions. Substitute fat-free or low-fat Greek yogurt in recipes that call for sour cream or mayonnaise. For example, traditional spinach dip can be made with a combination of Greek yogurt and fat-free sour cream instead of the usual higher-fat ingredients. Add shredded kale along with the spinach for a nutritional boost. Try this Greek Spinach Dip recipe.
- Cut the salt. Use half the salt indicated in most recipes. You won’t notice any difference in taste!
- Add healthy flavor. Add herbs instead of fat and salt to flavor foods.
- Feature a colorful fresh fruit platter on the dessert table. Make a fruit dip with Greek yogurt and honey or lightly dip strawberries and bananas in dark chocolate as an alternative to rich brownies, cheesecake, or layered cake with frosting.
- Be creative with vegetables. Roasted vegetables with an herbed yogurt dip make a nice alternative to the traditional raw veggies and ranch or sour cream dip. They taste great with hummus, too. Try serving Roasted Vegetables with Tahini Lemon Parsley Sauce at your next gathering.
If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the Wellness Coaching program, reach out to your Wellness Coach for more holiday recipe ideas. And from all of us at Health Advocate, we hope you and your family have a happy, healthy, and delicious holiday!