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10 Healthy Holiday Party Tips

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7. Deconstruct that casserole. “Casseroles are the very definition of comfort, but they’re often loaded with things like sodium, heavy cream, butter, and cheese,” Jamieson-Petonic says. Instead of baking a traditional casserole, serve a dish that lets the main ingredient go solo. Broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, asparagus, sweet peppers, butternut or acorn squash, and Brussels sprouts are just as delicious when prepared a different way. Bake or steam the veggies, then flavor with lemon juice, pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, or even spices like curry or ginger.

8. Go green. Offer a gorgeous salad filled with spinach rather than plain ol’ lettuce, Jamieson-Petonic says. That way your guests can fill up on a food source rich in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, iron, and calcium.

Make your own simple, low-calorie dressing from olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, and lemon juice; then toss with toasted pecans, lighter cheeses (like feta), tangerine slices, apples, pears, and dried fruit. The result: a festive salad that your guests will enjoy and remember. 

9. Shrink the desserts. A holiday party just isn’t right without tempting desserts. So don’t skip the treats, Thayer says -- just offer very small portions. That way your guests can taste a little bit of everything.

Consider making many of those desserts fruit-based. “Don’t underestimate fruit and its 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. Consider 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 them off the sofa.

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Reviewed on December 09, 2013

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