If you’re trying to watch your weight, the holiday season can be difficult. Temptations are everywhere, especially at holiday parties.
Our wellness team is here to help with their recommendations for what to bring to festive gatherings to make sure there is at least one healthy option.
Take a look and then get cooking this holiday season.
Bret Belfer, director, HR Wellness & Recognition, says impress your friends with a fruit or veggie tray
What’s healthier than fruit and vegetables? They’re packed with antioxidants and phytochemicals that help your body fight disease. And you don’t have to pick the same-old same-old. Why not switch out the carrots and celery for more luxurious options like asparagus, snap peas, Shishito peppers or mini bell peppers?
Lindsey Wohlford, employee wellness dietitian, takes a salad or tomato basil soup to share with her friends.
These tasty appetizers can be great at a party. Add walnuts and cranberries to a holiday salad. Bring along festive cups for a warming cup of soup.
Corinna Medina, fitness specialist, recommends dark chocolate covered strawberries.
Berries are one of the most nutrient rich fruits and dark chocolate also has antioxidants. Granted, chocolate does have added sugar, but if you’re looking for a holiday treat that at least has some nutritional value, this is it.
Fareeda Momin, HR Wellness & Recognition program manager, likes to make an Indian snack mix with nuts.
Fill your friend’s house with the smell of spices with an Indian snack mix that includes sesame sticks, dried peas and rice crackers. Add nuts for an extra hit of protein. If you use spices to flavor your food, it can help you reduce sodium.
Adam Siegman, site lead in the Fitness Center, suggests healthy chicken kebobs.
Try cubes of chicken on a stick for a lean protein treat. You could bake them instead of grilling to avoid burning or charring them. Charred meat can create chemicals called HCA’s, which have been linked to cancer. Add colorful bell peppers for a hit of antioxidants to make this tasty snack even healthier.
Jessica Bevills, health fitness specialist, brings healthy dips to her holiday parties.
Grace your party with a healthy dip like hummus, or even a cheese dip made from a lower fat cheese like feta. Hummus can also be flavored to add interest. Try avocado or cauliflower hummus for a new twist.
Carlos Duncan, senior Fitness Center specialist, has a new idea: chickpea mac and cheese.
Use chickpea elbow pasta to put a healthy twist on this classic dish. If you switch out refined carbs for whole grains or beans you are well on the way to a plant-based diet, which lowers your risk for cancer.
Lindsey Fenton, health fitness specialist, says cheese and protein boards can be healthy.
Use our guide to the healthiest cheeses to pick what to put on your board. If you keep to recommended serving sizes you will help people stay within their limits for saturated fat. Stay away from processed meats like salami or ham though. They increase your risk for cancer. Roasted turkey or chicken is a healthy alternative.
Evan Thoman, wellness specialist, says parties should be embraced as the treat they are.
Thoman says, “Enjoy every bite guilt-free, then get back on track and make your next meal better.” How’s that for holiday party advice!