Lighten up your menu this holiday season

Eating healthy during the holidays takes a bit of care.

Holiday entertaining can be fun, yet it can also be stressful for many reasons. Trying to keep menu options healthier, while accommodating special diets and allergies can be overwhelming, and keep you from enjoying the company of your guests. Here are some nutrition tips to help you plan ahead and navigate through the holiday season.

Avoid serving your guests alcohol on an empty stomach
Alcohol can increase appetite and diminish control over what you (and your guests) will eat. To prevent overeating, and to keep your guests happy, serve light appetizers ahead of the meal.

Encourage guests to start filling their plates with vegetables.
If you are serving your guests “buffet style”, include the vegetables and salads at the very start of the line. This will allow for more space on the plate for healthier options. Bonus points if half the plate is filled with veggies.

Make holiday recipes healthier
Lots of recipes can be made a little healthier by searching for healthier ingredient substitutes. Having mashed potatoes three nights this week? Consider mixing your mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower to increase the vegetables.

Ask your guests about allergies or special diets ahead of time
Get clear about what your guests can expect you to serve ahead of time. Putting together a menu with all ingredients can be helpful, especially for those with allergies. If you feel comfortable modifying a recipe to make it allergy friendly, ask your guest if you should be mindful of cross-contamination in the process. You may also ask if they prefer to bring their own food, if it helps them feel more comfortable.

Aim for balance, indulge once in a while (without guilt)
If you use balance and moderation as your guide most of the time, a little indulgence here and there is okay, and shouldn’t be guilt ridden. The holidays are meant to be enjoyed.

Give away some leftovers
Don’t let your guests leave you with too much food at the end of the night. To prevent food waste and overindulgence, offer leftovers to your guests and encourage them to take home any food or alcohol that has not been opened.

Pay attention to what really matters
Food is a big of part of the holidays yet focusing on your friends and family should come first. Laughter, cheer and quality time should be very high on your list.


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