…And a few tips for staying on track during the season
Eating healthfully during the holiday season can be challenging. This time of year, it’s easier than ever to get off track even with our best efforts. This is especially true when we’re attending holiday get togethers and parties away from home where we don’t have control of the menu. Here are some of my favorite Quick Healthy Holiday Appetizer Ideas both from my own kitchen and a few that I can’t wait to try.
Hummus, Hummus, Hummus
Well that’s right, hummus is usually my go to recipe for a healthy holiday appetizer. You can find lots of healthy hummus recipes online with many, many different flavor profiles including some unusual ones such as black-eyed pea, curried sweet potato and pumpkin pie. Hummus is great to pair with crackers, pretzels, flatbreads as well as raw and roasted vegetables and even sometimes fruits. By preparing it in your own kitchen, you avoid the extra preservatives, salt and oils that you find in many store-bought varieties. Additionally it’s loaded with nutrients, fiber and protein and will help to suppress your appetite for more unhealthy holiday options.
Here are a few favorites from my kitchen:
Traditional hummus is made with olive oil. In this version, by adding white miso and aquafaba(the liquid drained from the chickpeas), you’ll end up with creamy hummus with no added processed oils and less calories.
This is one of my personal favorites made with lightly sweet and smoky flavored roasted red peppers.
On my list to try soon is this recipe from HowSweetEats.com for Slow Roasted Tomato Hummus.
Dips and Salsas
Dips and Salsas of all kinds are also great with roasted and raw vegetables, chips and crackers. My sister, Jennifer, makes my all time favorite salsa recipe. We don’t have the best Arkansas tomatoes available for this recipe at this time of year, but canned or boxed varieties work well too.
If you enjoy smoky flavors, try this Oil-Free Romesco Sauce. It’s great with roasted and raw vegetables but also grilled meat and fish such as easy to pick up shrimp or beef skewers
Although Texas Caviar is a great side dish for a pot luck, it’s also a deliciously satisfying dip for chips and crackers. Make a little extra to have for lunch the next day.
While not a traditional appetizer, roasted veggies are great for holiday appetizers especially when they’re paired with interesting dips. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe for Vegan Nashville Hot Cauliflower Bites from VeganRicha.com.
Other great pick up roasted vegetable ideas are baby potatoes, edamame, mushrooms and shishito peppers. Try creating a beautiful charcuterie board with your favorite roasted veggies. Although charcuterie boards are traditionally a display of cured meats, they have become popular these days with many different options displayed on a board. Use your imagination to come up with healthy alternatives to cured meats or add your own healthy options to a traditional board.
No one said we can’t enjoy sweets as a healthy holiday party option…..at least I didn’t say that!
Here are two of my favorite healthy pickup dessert ideas.
In addition to being a great anecdote to a sweet tooth, these Dark Chocolate Fruit And Nut Bites are a lovely holiday gift idea.
Another great healthy snack or dessert, these Date Energy Balls can be customized with holiday flavors such as cinnamon, mint and cranberries.
And one final option that I can’t wait to try is this Cucumber Sushi from FeelGoodFoodie.com. It looks so yummy and it’s beautiful too.
While we’re on the subject of healthy holiday appetizers, let’s finish off with a few tips and tricks to stay on track with your health goals when attending holiday get togethers and parties.
Don’t Go Hungry
This is one of my favorite ways to avoid overindulging. We might be inclined to not eat leading up to a party to “bank” the calories. My experience is that this never works, and believe me, I’ve had lots of experience. When we arrive hungry to a party, we’re likely to head straight to the buffet table and often the most unhealthy selections there. Instead try eating a healthy diet throughout the day and having a snack such as a piece of fruit or some chopped veggies just before leaving for the party.
Drink Lots Of Water
Drinking water is important both before and after you arrive at the event. This is an easy tip that we often forget. There are so many benefits to drinking water, but the one to focus on here is that it helps to keep you feeling full. It may also help blunt the effects of any alcohol you consume. “Good ways to reduce hangovers are to drink a glass of water between drinks and have at least one big glass of water before going to bed.” according to Healthline.com.
Bring A Healthy Favorite Recipe To Share
I’ve listed a few here or perhaps you have your favorite already picked out.
Enjoy The Healthiest Options First
You’ve brought your favorite healthy recipe to share, now scope out the buffet for other healthy options. Enjoy those first. You’ll be less likely to overindulge on the unhealthy offerings.
Move Away From The Buffet Table
If you’re not standing next to the food while in conversation, you’re less likely to grab something mindlessly. Try to focus on being truly present with your family and friends and enjoying the sights and sounds of the holiday season.
Savor Each And Every Bite Of Those Holiday Favorites
We can enjoy our favorite holiday treats as long as we do so in moderation. If you try to deny yourself that special something, it can easily backfire. Try savoring each bite of those foods that you love the most.
Most of all, enjoy this holiday season and all the gifts that it brings. I am grateful for so much in my life, and I wish the same for you. Let me know what you’re most grateful for during this season or share a tip for staying healthy throughout the holidays in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.
“Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.”-Fred Rogers