If the shining, twinkling lights are any indication, we are officially in holiday mode. Who isn’t eagerly awaiting their secret Santa gift, much needed vacation and the fresh start of the New Year? Hello 2017!
Tis this season, as they say, and this time of year brings a whole lot of festivities, which means we are “partying” in all kinds of ways day after day and night after night. But just because your social calendar is overloaded, this doesn’t mean you have to overload yourself with notorious holiday indulgences.
While you should certainly take the time to indulge in what you absolutely LOVE, it’s important to do so wisely (and consciously as I say), including when you entertain. It’s easy to get lost in the Pinterest limbo of decadent fudge wreaths, spiked eggnogs and apricot baked bries, but remember, just like your waistline, your guests want healthy dishes too – and you can provide them with delicious options that will keep everyone, including yourself, satisfied.
As a nutritionist, registered dietitian and the founder of Nutritious Life, I have some go-to tips that will make nutritious holiday entertaining a lot easier than picking out the perfect secret Santa gift. I promise. And for even more inspo, follow along on Instagram at @NutritiousLifeOfficial!
How a nutritionist does holiday entertaining…
Keep starters light.
Ruin everyone’s appetite (just a tiny bit) by providing veggie heavy apps. You want your guests hungry (not stuffed and not ravenous) for the main meal. Their bellies will thank you later.
While guests are mingling, I like to have a crudité of go-to veggies like carrots, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, celery and more interesting ones such as endive, jicama and fennel with a healthy, “clean” dip – like a yummy Broccoli Rabe Pesto Hummus Dip. I also, like to compliment the raw veggie platter with a roasted veggie platter loaded with onions, peppers, butternut squash and eggplant.
If you’re serving passed hors d’oeuvres these delicious veggie packed Broccoli Rabe and Farro Stuffed Mushrooms are always a healthy hit. Since they are naturally portioned controlled, guests will stick to just a couple before dinner begins.
Drink up, healthy.
Ditch the eggnog and mixed sugary drinks. Instead, create a bar cart loaded with fun garnishes like olives, lemon and oranges twists, cranberries, cayenne pepper, cinnamon sticks, rosemary etc. Use these for gin, vodka and tequila drinks and you can even create your own signature drink. And make sure infused water is available throughout the entire party.
It’s the holidays, you certainly should indulge and encourage your guests to do so as well – but again, let’s do this in a conscious manner. Don’t waste calories on pumpkin pie if you don’t 100%, positively L-O-V-E it! My indulgence? Chocolate soufflé!
It’s also possible to serve waistline friendly sweets that you and your guests will enjoy. This Pumpkin Coconut Custard is a seasonal, delish dish that is made naturally low in calories and automatically portion controlled.
Give away leftovers.
When the laughing and holiday cheer has to end, make mini to-go containers of the leftovers for your guests. You’ll get rid of anything that you don’t want in your home, and your guests will thank you by gifting them the perfect size leftover treat. You can plan ahead and buy pretty recyclable containers and attach a personalized holiday note.
Get back into the swing of things.
The day following your evening as host of the year, it’s important to get right back into your healthy living routine. If you didn’t stick to these tips, remember it’s just one night – take every meal as a “Monday morning” and get back on track. Stat.
Sweat it out at the gym, grab a friend and head out for a walk or read a book you’ve been dying to download on your Kindle. A little “me” time does a body some good, too.