Maintaining a healthy diet during the holiday season might sound like a major challenge, but it is possible. There are dozens of ways to prioritize your wellness and maintain your physique — even with cookies and pie around. One way to stay on track is to include healthy foods in your seasonal party spread.
Balance indulgence and decadence with fresh, whole foods that are delicious and nutritious. Adding fruits and veggies to your spread gives your guests more options and better choices. This way, everyone can achieve their own healthy balance and leave feeling satiated rather than stuffed.
Cauliflower is having a moment and, when you consider how versatile it is, it’s easy to see why. This cruciferous veggie can turn into pizza dough, wings, rice and even steak. All you need is a fresh head of cauliflower, a little creativity and the right recipe. Whether you slather it in sauce or add a bit of breading, your guests are sure to enjoy whatever version you prepare.
Aside from being insanely delicious, cauliflower packs a powerful punch of plant compounds that may reduce the risk of several diseases, including heart disease. It’s weight loss-friendly and full of vitamin C. Plus, the veggie is brimming with antioxidants, which can protect against free radicals and even slow the growth of cancer cells.
Have you ever tried hummus? This popular Middle Eastern dip is made of tahini paste, chickpeas and a handful of other simple ingredients like olive oil and salt. The food is high in several key nutrients, including fiber, protein and healthy fats. A recent study even found that including hummus in your diet can promote healthy eating.
Make your own hummus using a food processor or buy a store-bought version and add toppings. Parsley, pine nuts, olives, oil, chopped garlic and tomatoes make delicious and nutritious accompaniments. Dip everything from veggies to toast points in the spread.
3. Fruit Tray
You know what they say — an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Fruits offer various health benefits, from providing vitamins and minerals to upping your hydration with their high water content. Fruits like strawberries and figs, pears and blueberries are also high in antioxidants, which are great for your teeth and entire body.
Make a fruit tray with pineapples, bananas, strawberries, oranges, apples and more to help your friends and family load up on all the juicy benefits these foods have to offer. You might even make a Greek yogurt-based dip to go along with it. Simply mix some cream cheese with plain yogurt, and you’ll have a healthy dip everyone can enjoy.
4. Caprese Salad
If you’re dishing up comfort foods like lasagna for the main course, try serving lighter fare as appetizers and side dishes. Nix the breadsticks and rolls and make Caprese salad instead. This lighter option has fewer calories and offers more vitamins and minerals than bread and other simple carbs.
The classic Italian-inspired dish is a flavorful combination of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and balsamic reduction. Use the highest-quality ingredients possible to boost nutrition and the flavor factor. If you’re serving them as appetizers, thread the ingredients onto skewers and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Including All The Food Groups
The best way to ensure a healthy, balanced diet during the holidays is to include all the food groups in every spread. Fruits, vegetables, dairy, protein and whole grains should be staples at breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can even incorporate some of these foods as snacks the entire family can enjoy throughout the day. This way, everyone stays full and happy all season long.