Fresh ‘N Fit Cuisine’s Nutrition Coaches: Healthy Tips For Hosting A Holiday Party
By: Julia Lott, RD, LD, MS, Fresh ‘N Fit Cuisine
Hosting a holiday party is great way to get family and friends together. The star of the holiday party is of course the food! When preparing meals for your party, it’s important to think about your guests’ preferences when it comes to food. For most of your guests, if not all, eating healthy is on their mind. However, the numerous holidays parties that they may attend (including yours) may throw them off their health game. Entertain your guests with not only good company, but with healthy nutritious food. Help your family and friends feel good about what they eat at your party.
Here are a few tips when planning your menu:
When choosing meats to serve for the party, choose lean meats such as turkey and chicken versus steak or ham. Sirloin steak per 4 ounce has 14 grams of fat. Dark turkey has only 5 grams fat per 4 oz serving. Sirloin is the leanest cut and it still has more than twice the fat as dark turkey.
Dips and Spreads
There are lots of hidden calories in dips and spreads. A few healthy dip choices are hummus, tzatziki, and guacamole. Hummus is high in protein and fiber, because it is made with chickpeas. Tzatziki is traditionally made with Greek yogurt, so it is high in protein as well and low in fat. Guacamole is also a great choice as a spread or a dip. One serving of guacamole has 13 grams of total fat and only 2 grams of saturated fat and 8 grams of monounsaturated fat (GOOD FAT that may help to lower cholesterol levels). Alternatively, one serving of cheese dip which has 18 grams of fat and 11 grams of saturated fat.
Great side items that are low calorie are salads, grains such as quinoa and farro, and vegetables dishes such as sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Make sure when preparing dishes to not dress or sauce the meal. Allow your guests to determine how much sauce/dressing they want. Also, be wary of casseroles. They can be high in calories. Cheese can easily add 75- 100 calories per serving. One serving of squash casserole can have up to 275 calories and 18 grams of fat.
What’s a holiday party without a few cocktails? Unfortunately, drinks can put you over the edge when it comes to calories. Many drink choices can be very high in sugar and carbohydrates. A cosmopolitan martini has 165 calories and 10 grams of sugar per 4 oz serving; a rum and coke has 180 calories and 13 grams of sugar; lastly, eggnog has 220 calories and 20 grams of sugar. When stocking your bar, make sure to have plenty of club soda which has ZERO calories; it a great substitute for tonic water which has 80 calories per 8 oz serving. Also, make sure to have diet sodas on hand for mixers. Also, you could have on hand a few flavor infused liquors and spirits (there are options like lemon, peach, and jalapeno) to serve on the rocks or with a splash of cranberry juice.
During the holidays, many of guests may want to treat themselves to a delicious dessert. However, we don’t want to de-rail our healthy eating. A great way to control calories is to have pre-portioned desserts served as petit fours (tiny cakes), mini cupcakes or mousse or crème brulee in shot glasses. Also, having cookies or truffles can help people choose a small dessert. Also, it’s a good idea to serve a variety of fruits.
By following these tips, you can prepare a healthful and nourishing menu for your guests. Good luck with your party planning!