6. Bring on the beans. Beans are chock-full of fiber and plant protein. Instead of cooking them with meat, which ups the fat content and drives away vegetarians, Thayer suggests using liquid smoke, which you can find in the grocery store near the barbecue sauce.
7. Deconstruct that casserole. “Casseroles are the very definition of comfort, but they’re often loaded with sodium, heavy cream, butter, and cheese,” Jamieson-Petonic says.
Instead, let the main ingredient go solo. Broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, asparagus, sweet peppers, butternut or acorn squash, and Brussels sprouts are just as delicious when baked or steamed. Flavor them with lemon juice, pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, or spices like curry or ginger.
8. Go green. Toss a gorgeous salad with spinach -- which is rich in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, iron, and calcium -- rather than plain ol’ lettuce, Jamieson-Petonic says.
Make your own simple, low-calorie dressing from olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, and lemon juice; then add toasted pecans, lighter cheeses (like feta), tangerine slices, apples, pears, and dried fruit.
9. Shrink the desserts. A holiday party just isn’t right without tempting sweets. So don’t skip them, Thayer says. Just offer very small portions. That way, your guests can taste a little bit of everything.
Consider making many treats fruit-based. “Don’t underestimate fruit’s place at the dessert table,” she says. “Dishes like an apple baked with lots of cinnamon can look great and taste amazing.”
10. Keep ’em movin’. Give your guests something to do, Thayer says. It’s better for circulation, digestion, and calorie-burning than standing or sitting around. Start a game of charades or a scavenger hunt. Clear an area for dancing, or dust off that foosball or pool table. If it's warm outside, offer bocce ball or horseshoes. Organize guests into teams and stage a competition -- anything to keep people off the sofa.