Healthy Eating for the Holidays!

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Hosting a Healthy Holiday

It is that time of year again when many people are attending holiday get-togethers. Perhaps you are planning to host your own holiday gathering. Do yourself and your guests a favor and keep nutrition in mind when planning your party.

Helpful Tips for Becoming a Healthy Holiday Host

  • Limit the choices. With fewer dishes to pick from, guests will be less tempted to overindulge. Plus, it means less work for you before and after the party.
  • User healthier cooking methods. The cooking process can change healthy food into unhealthy dishes. Try baking, braising, steaming, poaching, or roasting. These methods can be done with little or no added fat.
  • Remember Canada’s Food Guide. When planning your menu, be sure to include food from all 4 food groups – Vegetables & Fruit, Grain Products, Milk & Alternatives, and Meat & Alternatives.
  • Provide healthy drinks. Calories from apple cider, eggnog, hot chocolate, punch, pop, and alcohol can add up quickly. Limit the number of high calorie beverages offered. Provide healthier options like water or soda water with lemon slices, lower-fat eggnog or low-fat milk, black coffee made from flavored beans, holiday flavored teas, or diet pop for mixing with alcohol for your adult guests. 
  • Focus on friends and family, not food. Center your party on the friends and family you brought together. Visit and plan activities or games to play during your get-together. This will help keep the food in the background and not as the focal point of the party.

Healthy Holiday Appetizers

Many appetizers can be high in calories despite being small in size. Just a few bites can add up to a meal’s worth of calories. Help your guests avoid too many calories before the main dishes are brought out by serving some of the appetizers listed below.

  • Low-fat, whole grain crackers with low-fat cheese.
  • Raw vegetables with hummus or tzatziki.
  • Baked whole-grain pita chips with salsa.
  • Fresh fruit kabobs.
  • Open-faced mini sandwiches on whole-grain bread.
  • Peeled, unbreaded shrimp with cocktail sauce.
  • Bruschetta on a sliced whole-grain baguette.

Source: Alberta Health Services, Nutrition Services, “Hosting a Healthy Holiday”.  Dietitians of Canada, “How can I survive holiday eating?”, 2010. 

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