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Posted on 12-22-2013

Healthy Holiday Party Advice!

You can enjoy Holiday Parties if you follow this advice!

Put Some Meat on the Menu!

One of the reasons people constantly go back to the party spread: there’s usually little to no real “filling” food. Empty carbs might taste good in the moment, but you’ll be grazing on them all evening if there’s nothing more substantial to be had. The same principle holds true for party planning as does for our daily diet: think protein. There’s a little more preparation (and expense) involved, but it’s how a party buffet really can replace dinner. Consider these ideas for adding substance to your spread.
◾Cocktail Meatballs (Serve with a healthy sauce of your choice.)
◾Shrimp Cocktail
◾Beef, Pepper and Pearl Onion Skewers (Use 4 inch wooden skewers sold at party and specialty kitchen stores.)
◾Endive Lettuce with Seafood Salad
◾Nitrate-Free Smokies (Serve with a homemade/low sugar commercial BBQ sauce or flavorful mustard.)
◾Ham and Pineapple Skewers
◾Cold Cut Triangles (Cut, stack and serve assorted no-nitrate cold cuts on cocktail toothpicks garnished with small olives, cheese cubes or artichoke pieces.)
◾Pork and Apple Skewers
◾Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
◾Bacon/Prosciutto-Wrapped Sweet Potato Cubes, Cherry Tomato Halves, Chicken or Pecans
◾Chicken, Roasted Red Onion and Avocado Skewers
◾Individual Baby Back or Short Ribs
◾Lox on Cucumber Slices or Nut Flour Crackers

Dress up the Vegetables!

Sure, there’s the proverbial veggie tray. By all means, go with it, but expand on it for something more enticing and filling. Make vegetables a healthy base for countless appetizer combinations, and enhance their appeal with healthy dips. Alternatively, pair them with yummy proteins. Think of your veggies as vehicles for other flavors.

◾Antipasto Platter (Try a variety of olives, artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, pepperoncinis, pickles/pickled veggies, garlicky green

beans, pickled/deviled eggs, etc.)
◾Caprese Skewers (Again, choose four inch wooden skewers, and alternate basil leaves, cherry tomatoes and small mozzarella balls. Put out

your vinaigrette of choice for dipping.)
◾Guacamole Filled Cherry Tomatoes or Pepperoncinis
◾Artichoke Dip Stuffed Mushrooms
◾Endive Lettuce with Egg Salad or Homemade Coleslaw
◾Salad Cups (Look for small, decorative paper cups or use your own small bowls and create individual servings of your favorite salads.)

Don’t Write off Assorted Crunchies

Let’s face it. At most parties, it’s the bulk of the spread. Unfortunately, these are exactly the kinds of snacks that we should be

avoiding--high carb, highly processed, low nutrient food products. Simply choose better, homemade options that offer all the satisfaction

without all the additives, preservatives and unhealthy oils.
◾Spiced or Sea Salt Nuts
◾Nut Crackers (e.g. almond thins)
◾Cheese Crisps (How about cheese as the cracker? Bake small thin cheese squares or--better yet--circles of seasoned shredded cheese at 350

degrees for 5-6 minutes on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Voila! You’ve got cheese crackers.)
◾Root Vegetable Chips (e.g. celeriac, sweet potato or beet)
◾Plantain Chips
◾Homemade Dips (Think vegetable and bean based dips like hummus, pesto, guacamole or natural sour cream dips with fresh chives and green onion.)

Do Dessert Differently

Dessert doesn’t have to be the sugar haul we’re used to. If it’s your party, you can serve whatever you feel comfortable eating. If you’re

just contributing to the party spread, know that others might appreciate enjoying an after meal treat that doesn’t send them into sugar shock.
◾Small Berry Kabobs
◾Fruit and Cheese Pairings (Find pairing suggestions online or ask the cheesemonger at a better grocer for suggestions.)
◾Refrigerator Fudge with Cranberries and Pistachios
◾Individual Dessert Salads (Think baby spinach, pear slices, pomegranate seeds, raspberries, lemon juice, hazelnut oil, toasted pecans, sea salt and a splash of apple cider.)
◾Lightly Glazed and Roasted Nuts and Seeds
◾Dark Chocolate Nut Bark with Sea Salt
◾Good Coffee or Espresso (Serve with coconut milk or organic half and half that you’ve flavored with a few drops of natural vanilla or

hazelnut extract.)

What’s on your healthy party menu? Share the healthy favorites you’ve had success with or those you would like to try. Remember, every

night is a chance to celebrate good eating. Why put off serving the healthy fare you could be savoring today! Thanks for reading, everyone.

Source: Jennifer Wannen Zotalis

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

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