Your Holiday Party Survival Guide by Melanie Bolen

The Famous Christmas Story Leg Lamp!

So, it’s that time of year… the time of year where temptation after temptation is placed in front of us and we have the choice as to whether or not to give in.  Now, it IS the Holidays, so there are some temptations worth being given into (like those goodies that only come around once per year… you know what I’m talking about!?  Maybe your Mom bakes a special pie, or there’s grandma’s cookies, etc.).  I’m not saying you have to give up everything during the Holidays, but choose wisely… choose wisely.

The video of the week goes into choosing some healthy options when attending other people’s Holiday parties.  Spend most of the evening filling your plate with those healthy options, and then take a reasonable portion size of any dessert (or higher calorie option) that you may want that evening.
Now, last night I threw my own holiday party, and my goal was to offer healthy foods for 95% of what was out there.  I figured I’d go ahead and share my list of what I had at my holiday party and it may help you plan your own holiday party and/or choose wisely when attending someone else’s…

What did Melanie serve?

~Turkey & Cheese (1 serving = 1 slice of deli or fresh turkey + 1 slice of low fat cheese)
~Fresh fruit (a nice variety… give lots of color to make it more attractive to the eye and the taste buds)
~Veggie tray (again, go for a variety of color, the eye is attracted to color, so you will probably find more people will pick off of it when it looks more attractive)
~Dips (most people like dips w/their veggies, one of my FAVORITES is HUMMUS, Sabra roasted garlic is the best, in my opinion… but see the Pick of the Week for other great dip options…)
~Pickles (almost no calories but lots of flavor… get the cocktail size)
~Olives (these can add up in calories, but are loaded w/healthy stuff too!  My favorite are pitted kalamata olives/Greek olives)
~Sweet Potato Chips (very holiday themed, and very tasty too… perfect for providing the crunch factor)
~Mixed Nuts (nuts are great for placing randomly around the house.  You can get fancy and offer shelled nuts w/nut crackers OR have them un-shelled… I had mine unshelled and mixed in yogurt covered pomegranite seeds for a little salty/sweet factor)
~Shrimp cocktail (shrimp is an excellent lower calorie way to get yummy food AND your protein.  Be sparing with the cocktail sauce, however, because those do have sugars and many calories in them).
~Organic bite-sized gingerbread men (I did want to offer something sweet… and these were perfect!  I found them at Whole Foods).
~Candy (I DID have some candy… but it was just one display w/Hershey’s kisses and some candy canes… and, actually, that stuff was BARELY touched!  Everyone went for the healthy options!  Yay!).
~Beverages (all I served was water and I had red wine out… be careful with those holiday beverages, namely egg nog, because they are calorie city!  Hot tea is another great option for some holiday spice without the calorie nightmare!).

So, that was MY holiday party.  I find that presentation is a HUGE part of serving your food… so, if you opt to serve many healthy options, just be sure to make them pleasing to the eye (which is wear the mixing of many colors comes in) and then people won’t even miss the “bad” foods.  The key to serving healthy foods is to think natural (i.e. fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean cuts of meats, low fat cheeses, relishes, etc.)… stay away from overly processed foods.

I know when you go to other people’s that there are usually WAY more unhealthy temptations.  Based on experience, I know that a lot of people LOVE to get those oven baked finger foods (i.e. pigs in a blanket, mini quiches, etc.), but BEWARE of those, because they usually have a trans fat content, and that is something that you definitely do not want to overdue.  Also look out for any processed meats (i.e. sausages, franks, etc.) as those are high in fat content and may also contain trans fat depending on how they are prepared.
When it comes to desserts, my personal rule of thumb is to stick with the home made.  Why waste your calories on something that someone bought in a store that you could have any time of the year!?  No no… use those calories wisely!  Have that home baked item that only comes around once per year!  Be weary of your portion sizes too.  Remember, a single full-sized cookie can have anywhere from 200-500 calories, depending on the type… so, stick with that MUST HAVE item, and don’t waste time with those things that you just “kind of” want or feel obligated to try (because you aren’t obligated to try anything, so don’t be bullied! ).

All in all… HAVE FUN, and have HAPPY and HEALTHY holidays!!!!!!


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