By Amy Gorin, MS, RDN
When it comes to holiday party ideas, you're in the right place for healthy holiday recipes. These ideas will help you have a healthy Christmas dinner and beyond.
After munching on buttery trail mix, chomping on one cheese appetizer too many, and wolfing down rich desserts at least once or twice a week since Thanksgiving, you might actually be craving a nutrient-packed dish that's light on the stomach.
But since the holiday season isn't typically synonymous with healthy eating, how can you
celebrate all the festivities and still show your body some much-needed love with good-for-you
I've got a few ideas. In this blog post, I'm dishing out a list of oh-so-healthy side dishes perfect for any potluck, plus big-batch punch recipes that will bring life to any party (even the alcohol-free ones!). And while some dishes are concocted with the intent to cut calories and sugars, I'm sharing heart-healthy recipes that actually bring nutrients to the table.
I'm going to be serving up many of these recipes at my holiday-themed birthday party (yes, I'm a Christmas baby!) this weekend. Start taking notes now, especially since we're in the holiday homestretch!
Ready for a healthy, fun holiday? What are your favorite holiday traditions?
Healthy Holiday Side Dishes
When it comes to the holidays, you have much more to think about than holiday lights, the office Christmas party, and gift wrapping galore.
If you're thinking about how to celebrate the holidays and spread the holiday cheer in your own home, here are some ideas.
Thinking about whipping up mashed potatoes, baked Brussel sprouts, and roasted sweet potatoes? There are definitely ways to make veggie sides healthy. Whether you want to stick to your healthy eating plan throughout the holiday season or simply lighten the load for one festive evening, the good-for-you side dishes in this KSL article will do the trick.
Try my healthied-up version of a classic appetizer (hint: It involves avocado), or one of the 14 other warming small plates from my dietitian colleagues.
And no need to serve up extra calories over the holidays! I share easy, one-ingredient calorie-saving food swaps in my NBCNews.com article. If you're entertaining, give these healthy entertaining recipes a spin on the kitchen. How about some more food swaps for healthy holiday eating?
What Dietitians Actually Eat For Dessert
While I love gingerbread houses and candy canes, I hand pick what I eat while watching holiday movies, hanging holiday lights, and partaking in other holiday cheer activities.
I'll be the first to admit that I love the sweet treats of winter, from peppermint mochas to gingerbread cookies to a good 'ol glass of eggnog. But of course, there's festive food and drink everywhere this time of year, so I can't endlessly indulge.
I decide when it's worth it to have the real thing (yes to a delicious gingerbread cookie!) and when I take healthier shortcuts (like having a glass of eggnog kefir instead of the traditional recipe).
So as my holiday gift to you, I'm taking you to dessert school. That's right! You're about to learn what other dietitians and I designate as "worth it" in the dessert department, as well as the three vocabulary words you must know when selecting a store-bought dessert.
Then see what sweets my nutritionist colleagues can't live without. Miniature cakes are a great sweet treat, too!
Perfect Holiday Punch Recipes
Appetizers? Check. Desserts? Check. Celebratory drinks? If you're drawing a blank on the refreshments for your company holiday party or family get together, you're in luck—this article from AARP's The Girlfriend is here to help. Those holiday drinks make any party look like a winter wonderland!
Break out your punch bowl and whip up a batch of my kombucha-based mocktail, or try one of the other healthier boozy options.
With these recipes, you won't mind being on drink duty or hosting the next party-themed happy hour. Now, go get in the holiday spirit. How about some slow cooker apple cider?
Amy's Holiday Recipes to Try
Whip up these recipes for a great holiday: 17 Heart-Healthy Recipes for the Holiday Table!
Thanksgiving isn't the only time to be grateful for your good health. Over the next few weeks and during all of your holiday dinners, show your body some love by eating foods with a healthy dose of nutrients, including heart-healthy omega-3s.
How do you do it? With my round-up of dishes boasting oily fish, eggs, and olive oil. Don't miss a whole big bunch of healthy entertaining recipes, too. P.S. All of these recipes make great leftovers.
And if you're looking for more healthy holiday recipes, including ideas for dessert, one of the best ways to know exactly what's in a dessert is to make it yourself. And this pomegranate chocolate treat is so super easy to make (and it's perfect for holiday eating!), plus its ingredients supply protein, fiber, and antioxidants.
Looking for another way to add fruit to dessert? You've gotta try these decadent chocolate brownies, as well as this healthy fruit pizza and ice cream with pistachio. Hey, maybe you can even package up some baked goods for a holiday gift exchange–or even white elephant gift exchanges.
- 15 Healthy Holiday Side Dishes, KSL.com
- 10 Smart Swaps That Will Shave Hundreds of Calories Off Your Holiday Meal, NBCNews.com
- Here’s What Dietitians Actually Eat for Dessert, WellandGood.com
- 3 Perfect Holiday Punch Recipes You Can't Throw A Party Without,TheGirlfriend.com
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I'd love to hear from you! Let me know which of these holiday party ideas and healthy Xmas recipes you love the most. What do you have up your sleeve in the holiday event planning and office holiday party ideas department? Ever been to a food truck holiday party or another out-of-the-box holiday event?
Want to go shopping with a dietitian? Here's your chance! I just opened up my very own storefront, full of my fave tip sheets, cookbooks, kitchen products, and more!
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