3 Healthy, Fast Options to Take to Your Holiday Parties
The holiday parties have already begun and are only going to pick up speed as we near the middle of December. If you’re already dreading the inevitable: facing off with a smorgasbord of everything that has no place in your normal healthy eating plan, the easiest way to prepare yourself and to give yourself an “out” is to bring your own option(s) to the parties. You’ll have something you feel comfortable and confident eating, you won’t be starving (and thus better able to forgo the mocha mocha chocolate chocolate chip truffle cookies), and you’ll have something to munch on so you won’t feel like the only one not eating in the entire room. Whether you need an appetizer, a side dish or a side dessert, try one of these three ideas that are nutritious, delicious, and holiday party appropriate, all in one. And the best part? They take hardly any time to whip up!
The Classic Vegetable or Fruit Tray (APPETIZER)
One of my go-to options is always a fruit or vegetable tray. And believe me, you won’t be the only one snacking away on this; you’d be surprised just how refreshing it is to most guests to find something that isn’t heavy and calorie and/or fat laden. If you go for a vegetable tray, simply wash and slice up a variety of your favorite veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, mushrooms, celery, pickles, olives, grape tomatoes, etc. You can top off the center with a delicious dip. I like to use Greek yogurt in lieu of sour cream and make something dill flavored, since it’s especially refreshing (you can easily toss in a dressing packet with the yogurt). You’ll have a delicious fat free dip that’s protein loaded for an extra pack of filling power. If you don’t have time to make a dip, pick up your favorite variety of hummus. For fruit, you can whip up the yogurt, add in some whip topping if you’d like and a little Stevia (all natural sugar) and vanilla. It’s another fat free, light, airy, refreshing option for a variety of all your favorite dipping fruits. The fancier you cut your fruit and vegetables (you can even buy tools that will automatically crimp as you slice and dice), the more elegant your entire display will be. Fruit in a half hollowed out watermelon also makes a very festive red-green display.
Roasted Root Vegetables (SIDE)
It doesn’t get much easier or tastier than a heaping bowl full of a variety of roasted root vegetables. And though it looks like you poured hours into making these, the effort is extremely little. The time is a little longer though, so you can start roasting and then put all your effort into getting ready! Prepare your favorite root vegetables: rutabaga, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, etc. Cut them into wedges, spread out on a baking sheet, sprinkle with olive oil, a touch of salt and pepper and whatever other seasonings you prefer (garlic, thyme, parsley, rosemary, etc.). Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately ½ hour. Turn once halfway through and cook until tender. Place some fresh herbs in your dish for garnish and it’s ready to serve.
The Drizzled Caramel Apple (DESSERT)
This is my ultimate favorite holiday dessert for taking with me to parties when I get signed up for dessert! Buy the largest, brightest, crispiest green apples you can find. Then all you need is caramel, chocolate and nuts. For the fastest options, buy caramels to melt, chocolate candy to melt and pre-chopped nuts (any variety works, I prefer pecans). Instead of dunking the whole apple in caramel and adding on all kinds of fat and sugar, simply take a spoon and lightly drizzle the apple with your melted caramel. On top of the caramel, drizzle an even finer string of melted chocolate. Then quickly sprinkle on some of your chopped nuts. You’ll have an extremely elegant treat that has very little sugar, and some good fat and fiber from the nuts. Plus, the apples are filling and water laden, making them perfect for a refreshing bite after a heavy meal. Place a knife near your display so guests can cut up their apples into wedges for easier eating.
Freelancer Jocelyn Anne is a cooking and baking enthusiast and always trying to find healthier options to eat just what she craves. At the moment she writes full time for Air & Water and is compiling helpful content for their electric infrared heaters.