People mistakenly believe that party food has to be unhealthy. Let’s work together to blow this myth out of the water. While the holiday season can be filled with comfort foods and sweet treats, holiday parties can still have nutritious and delicious foods.
Between Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year, the average person can certainly pack on the pounds, and often it can accumulate each year. It’s much better to plan for a healthier holiday rather than eating to excess.
I love to throw a dinner party and make interesting dishes, including ones I haven’t tried before. I also enjoy bringing dishes to other people’s parties that are tasty and healthy. It’s fun to get your friends and loved ones excited about new foods.
Here’s a few tips to help you host a healthier party this year.
1. Set the Mood
It’s important to make the party and holiday season about the social gathering and less about the food. Mood lighting, relaxing music and a comfortable space to relax and enjoy yourself are important considerations when hosting a party.
2. Smaller Plates & Bowls
Reduce the size of your plates and bowls so people eat less and leave feeling satisfied and happy rather than overstuffed and uncomfortable. Over-eating also disrupts sleep and can cause increased cravings and lowered mood the following day which further increases the desire for the high-calorie foods.
3. Ask for Help
Feeling crunched on time? Ask your guests to bring a salad or healthy side dish, so that you can enjoy yourself at the party rather than spending the whole time chopping vegetables in the kitchen. You can also purchase pre-cut veggies or a vegetable tray and make it special with a homemade dip like this Kale Pesto White Bean Dip.
4. Mocktails Vs. Cocktails
Serving juice-based mocktails can be a fun and healthy conversation starter and something special to enjoy! Make your favorite juice and enjoy it in a cocktail or wine glass to add to the fun and festivity.
- Raw, Dairy-Free, Vegan Egg Nog
- Warming “Mocktails” To Keep You Healthy All Season Long
- Your Healthiest Fall Cocktail or Mocktail
Not sure what to serve for the main event? Here’s a roundup of some of my favorite recipes.
Start the night by serving lots of vegetable-based dishes for people to nibble on while they are catching up with family and friends and waiting for the main meal to be served.
- Avocado Chips Are a Delicious Starter or Snack
- Vegan Mexican Layered Dip
- Roasted Eggplant And Garlic
- Dairy-Free Almond Cheese
- Warm Winter Squash Dip
Soup & Salad
Salads are a great way to enjoy mostly raw fruits and vegetables and they don’t need to be boring. Studies show that serving a soup or salad as a starter lowers calorie intake over the course of the meal as the person is satisfied and full and tends to eat lighter at the main meal.
- 3-Ingredient Raw Brussels Sprouts and Apple Salad
- Spicy Moroccan Cauliflower Salad
- Kale Salad with Pine Nuts & Dried Cranberries (& Vegan Parmesan Cheese!)
- Creamy, Non-Dairy Butternut Squash Soup
- Creamy Parsnip Soup
These extras are a great way to showcase seasonal foods that pack a punch while providing a nutrient-dense low-calorie side.
- 30-Minute Oven Roasted Cheezy Broccoli
- Cashew Cream Stuffed Mushrooms
- The Best Vegan Potato Salad
- Pear Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Maple Cinnamon Sweet Potato Wedges
The main event doesn’t have to be heavy. Here are some ideas to give your table more color and nutrients.
- Vegan Spinach & Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Vegetable-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
- Sweet Potato Chickpea Chili with Quinoa
- Fiesta Stuffed Peppers
- Spiced Quinoa Lentil Loaf
Your guests will appreciate something beyond the traditional sugar cookie. Show them how tasty smart sweets can be!