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Natural Awakenings

Good Foods for a Healthy Holiday Bash: Create a Brighter, Lighter Table for Your Guests

Winter just would not be the same without family, friends, music, decor and yes, those much-anticipated holiday parties. With a few simple tricks and a substitution here or there, the all-important party foods can be both delicious and healthy. Guests will walk away from a brighter, lighter table, satisfied and in good cheer.

• Beverage options include lower-calorie drinks, such as mineral water with spritzers of lime or orange juice, iced holiday-flavored herbal teas, light beer and holiday punches made with pure fruit juices and sparkling water.

• Fruit and vegetable trays do double duty as edible centerpieces. Go for color and texture. Enrich with low-fat cheeses, nuts and dried fruits, such as apricots, dates and cranberries.

• Dips and spreads become healthier with low-fat sour cream, yogurt or neufchâtel cheese, a cream cheese naturally lower in fat. A dash of fresh herbs boosts flavor and nutrition.

• Whole wheat rolls, pita wedges or multigrain French bread, served with appetizers and dinner, are filling and pack a punch in fiber and protein.

• Choose side dishes that need little “dressing up,” such as sweet potatoes, wild rice or couscous.

• Fish and seafood serve as festive, healthy main courses.

• Simple ingredient changes cut the fat and sugar, while adding nutritional value and flavor to traditional dishes. Examples include replacing a third of the mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower or adding mashed peas to avocados for a great dip with half the fat.

Primary sources:  Adapted from,,

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