Entertaining and Accommodating Healthy Lifestyles

The holidays are a time to enjoy friends, food and family. Often we get carried away with all the sweet treats and savory dishes, starting the New Year a pound or two heavier. Here are a few tips to stick to a healthier lifestyle when you’re entertaining guests this holiday season.

  1. Provide smaller plates for your guests. Smaller plates may prevent overeating and it may promote more appropriate portion sizes!
  2. Offer your guests a variety of fruits and vegetables. Providing a variety of colorful vegetables can be delicious and extremely nutritious by adding fiber, vitamins and minerals to the holiday cheer. The vegetables don’t have to be boring, either. Try finding a seasonal recipe. They’re often quick, inexpensive and delicious. If you’re serving pasta, a simple substitution option would be to serve spaghetti squash or spiralized zucchini. You might be surprised to learn that both are available in the Hy-Vee produce department!
  3. Choose a healthy protein source like seafood for your guests. Fish is lower in saturated fats compared to red meats, which can help lower blood pressure. It is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for your brain health. When preparing fish, try to avoid deep-frying which would add unwanted calories to your dish.
  4. Drinking your calories is an easy way to gain weight without noticing it. Instead of offering high-calorie, sugary beverages like eggnog, hot chocolate or cocktails, try drinks like sparkling water with a lime, tea, red wine or infused waters. Calories from alcoholic beverages can add up fast! When red wine is consumed responsibly and in moderation, it may decrease risk of heart disease.
  5. Watch the sauces and gravies; they can be high in fat and extra calories. Try just a taste. A little bit can often satisfy a craving!
  6. No one wants to skip out on holiday treats! Instead, try cutting back on the portion sizes or adding some ingredients to boost the nutrients. Shredding or puréeing apples, bananas or pumpkins can boost the flavor and moisture of many dessert recipes. You could substitute some of the butter for heart-healthy oil. And if you’re feeling bold enough you could even cut back on the sugar. According to eatright.org, sugar can be reduced by 25 percent in most recipes without a noticeable difference!

Keep these tricks in mind when hosting your next get-together. Some simple changes in recipes can cut calories. Don’t forget to eat slowly and enjoy the great food and the time with family. Start your healthier lifestyle and maybe even a new you for the New Year!

Author: Megan Callahan

Megan Callahan, MS, RD, LD is a Hy-Vee dietitian in Lee's Summit, Missouri. She is dedicated to helping people live healthier and happier lives. Megan received a bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Missouri State University. She completed her dietetic internship at the University of Kansas Medical Center, where she also received her Master of Science degree in dietetics and nutrition. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association). She is also the president-elect of the Kansas City Dietetic Association. With a passion for nutrition and wellness, Megan is dedicated to educating customers and promoting healthy lifestyles.