Host a Healthy Holiday Open House

556415863

556415863

Photo by: Sofie Delauw ©This content is subject to copyright.

Sofie Delauw, This content is subject to copyright.

The holiday season has become so hectic and overscheduled that finding a night to throw a dinner party or cocktail soiree has become nearly impossible. One solution is hosting a laid-back holiday open house, which allows guests to come and go as they please after crossing some holiday shopping off their lists.

These shindigs run for about four hours during a weekend afternoon, and the flexibility can help minimize holiday stress for the host and guests alike. Plus, typical open-house fare is cocktails and light bites, which means you won’t bust a pant button on your way out. Use these tips and recipes to help you host a tasty and healthy open house this holiday season. Cheers!

Keeping Things Light

Delicious and healthy can go hand in hand if you follow these tips.

Minimize fried goodies

There are many finger foods and apps to choose that don’t need to be fried.

Try these bites:

Mini Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

Homemade Hummus

Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil

Add color

Select recipes with seasonal fruits and veggies for gorgeous eye appeal. Fruits and veggies also tend to be light in calories.

FN_BakedCoconutShrimp_s4x3

FN_BakedCoconutShrimp_s4x3

Photo by: Brian Kennedy ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Brian Kennedy , 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Go for lean protein

Choose lean cuts of beef, pork, chicken, and turkey to help keep foods healthier, or opt for fish like salmon or tuna (to boost Omega-3s) and shellfish like shrimp and crab.

Try:

Baked Coconut Shrimp

Crisp Crab Cakes

Mini Meatballs

Offer small plates

Eating off smaller-sized plates means less food (or at least more trips to the buffet table to get the same amount of food). Instead of 9-inch dinner plates, offer smaller sized dishes.

Use a jigger

To keep calories from alcohol under control and prevent guests from getting overserved, use a jigger to measure alcohol instead of “eyeballing it” when making cocktails.

Try these cocktails:

Cucumber Cocktail

White Sangria

Cider Jack Cocktails

Mulled Cider

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Tara Donne, Tara Donne

Mulled Cider

Offer low- and no-calorie beverages

Serve unsweetened iced tea, hot tea and coffee, and sparkling water with a twist of fruit as low-cal options.

Virgin Bevvies:

Mulled Cider

Cranberry Spritzer

Gina’s Raspberry Mint Tea

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

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