You’re working hard to be a little healthier this holiday season, but the endless holiday parties and happy hours are getting in the way. So why not take things into your own hands and host your own holiday party. While some of your friends may roll their eyes at the thought of a healthier gathering, you can show them there’s still lots of flavor and fun without sacrificing the waistline. Just follow these five tips for planning a healthier holiday party!
- Tip 1: Plan your menu based on food groups. You’ll help your guests eat a more balanced meal by serving dishes based on fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. Aim for two dishes within each food group so there is variety without too much choice. Studies show when we have too many options to choose from, we are more likely to overeat.
- Tip 2: Use smaller plates and bowls. Studies show people eat more off of larger plates. So forget about putting out those dinner plates; instead, provide small cocktail or appetizer plates, which won’t hold as much food at one time. Guests will put more thought into what they take, eat more slowly, and think twice about going back for more.
- Tip 3: Make place cards for food. Food tents are a great way to let your guests know what’s being served without bothering you all night long, which means more time for you to socialize and enjoy the party. Plus, these days with so many food allergies, it’s a great way to include allergen information, which can save you from a potential crisis.
- Tip 4: Serve some fan favorites. Go ahead and makeover some recipes in a healthier way, but don’t overdo it. People expect to have a little indulgence and find certain dishes at a holiday party, so don’t disappoint. Say marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole is a family tradition, keep it on the menu and choose a different dish to lighten up like apple pie.
- Tip 5: Keep all the food in one place. Set the dining room table or the kitchen island as the buffet and keep the rest of the house food-free. This will discourage guests from reaching into the bowl of chips when they’re sitting and mingling with friends.
By Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN for Fresh Express
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