Here are some great tips for holiday parties. 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.
1. Less is more! Plan to simplify your menu with fewer options that complement each other in balance and taste.
2. Use smaller plates and bowls. Smaller dishes equal less food and instant portion control.
3. Ditch the paper plates. Non-disposable plates will deter you from throwing your plate away and filling up a new one 30 minutes later. Plus, non-disposable plates are “green” and great for the environment!
4. 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.
5. Avoid too much cheese. Make hors d’evours or side dishes with less cheese or choose lower fat cheese and cream cheese options. You might not even taste a difference if you use fresh seasonings and ingredients.
6. Substitute fat-free or low-fat Greek yogurt for 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 the usual high-fat ingredients. Add shredded kale along with the spinach for an added nutritious boost.
7. Have a colorful fresh fruit plate on the desert 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.
8. 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 are great with hummus too.
9. If you’re hosting a dinner, skip the heavy hors d’evours and offer a simple, vegetable-based appetizer. Start your meal with a colorful, fresh green salad and use the MyPlate model for balancing your plate (¼ meat, ¼ carbohydrates and ½ vegetables).
10. Part of the celebrating is trying new foods. Providing a fruit or vegetable tray with rarely used items such as pomegranate, kiwi, and baby onions, as well as the standard celery, carrots, green peppers, apple slices (dipped in lemon juice to keep them from turning brown), and orange slices makes a great item.