Easy tips to make holiday parties healthier

2012-11-19T09:00:00Z 2012-11-19T17:37:04Z Easy tips to make holiday parties healthierStatePoint Media nwitimes.com
November 19, 2012 9:00 am  • 

Give guests a leg up on their New Year’s resolutions with these tasty, healthful tweaks to your favorite holiday dishes. Simple substitutions will jazz up appetizers, main dishes and desserts with both flavor and nutrition. Here are some crowd-pleasing ideas that draw on seasonal ingredients and are easy to prepare:


Holiday appetizers don’t need to be deep-fried, fatty or breaded. Finger foods should whet a healthy appetite without raising the cholesterol count.

Keep guests happy and well nourished by pairing sparkling white wine with nuts rather than simple carbs and empty calories. Nuts are a good source of protein, fiber and healthy, monounsaturated fats. Plus, many studies have shown that nuts have powerful cholesterol-lowering effects.

A cheese ball made with goat cheese is a great choice for a party tray. It's lower in fat and contains fewer calories than cream cheese, while having more calcium, protein and vitamins A and B-6. For a fun, sophisticated  finish, roll the cheese in a nut coating that’s free of artificial preservatives and flavoring, such as Sahale Crunchers Cranberries, Sesame Seeds + Honey. Serve with apple or pear slices instead of crackers.

Main Course

Butter-basted turkey sounds good, but turkey is naturally tasty and doesn’t need the added fat or sodium. Oven roast your turkey with spices and fresh herbs. Try using cayenne pepper, cardamom and cinnamon, and herbs like sage, thyme and dill, rather than extra fats, to flavor meats and vegetables.

For stuffing, use whole grain breads instead of white bread to add fiber, vitamins B6 and E, magnesium, zinc, folic acid and chromium. For green bean casseroles, skip the French-fried onion rings and add a sprinkle of almonds for crunch. Instead of adding brown sugar or marshmallows to yams, add a blend of nuts and dried cranberries for extra flavor and texture.


Serving a tossed salad is one of the easiest ways to bring fresh greens to the table. Leave off the croutons and extra cheese and give your salad some unique flair that guests will find irresistible. Here’s a salad recipe worthy of any holiday spread:

Green Salad with Apples, Almonds and Walnut Oil Vinaigrette

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 Tbs walnut oil

2 Tbs honey

2 Tbs minced shallots

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

6 cups mixed greens

1 cup thinly sliced apples

4oz package Sahale Crunchers Almonds with Parmesan Cheese + Herbs. (Look for these and other healthy ingredients in the produce section at Walmart)

In a small bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, walnut oil and honey. Whisk in shallots, salt and pepper. Toss sliced apples with 1Tbs vinegar to prevent browning. Place the greens, apples and Crunchers in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss gently to coat. This recipe yields 4-6 servings.


Fresh, seasonal fruit is always a great choice for dessert. Simple baked fruit crisps and crumbles topped with nuts are also festive and satisfying.

More great entertaining ideas and holiday recipes can be found at www.SahaleSnacks.com.

Make this year’s holiday season the happiest, healthiest yet.

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