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Build a Better Party Platter

Written on December 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm , by

veggie platter

Photo by iStock

By Kati Mora, RD for DietsInReview.com

Whether you’re hosting a holiday party or bringing a dish to share, you can keep yourself and fellow party goers from overdoing it by building a party platter that not only tastes delicious, but is full of healthy choices. How to make it happen:

Load up on veggies. Use fresh veggies to complement party dips instead of crackers or chips, or consider incorporating your favorite vegetables into the dips themselves. Carrots, celery, broccoli, tomatoes, and even asparagus spears can make great dipping options. Meanwhile, avocado, onion, bell peppers, and mushrooms are great additions to any dip. Give this Sweet Potato and Sage Dip a whirl.

Think Lean Protein. Foods rich in protein can help you and your guests feel more satisfied, but you’ll want to consider leaner fare to keep calories low and the fat content within reason. White meats like chicken and turkey are often lower in fat than their red meat counterparts, and many seafood options are also relatively low in fat. Remember to remove the skin and avoid frying them or smothering them with calorie-ridden sauces. Instead, stick with baking, broiling, roasting, or grilling and flavor with your favorite herbs and spices.

Incorporate Beans. You can serve them in soups, salads, dips, quesadillas, or even by themselves. Beans are tiny nutrient powerhouses with one half cup of them providing as much protein as a one-ounce broiled steak. They are also a great source of fiber which can help keep your guests feeling satisfied without the extra calories.  White Bean Bruschetta, anyone?

Get Nutty. Although mixed nuts are no stranger to many holiday parties, these aren’t necessarily the best choice. Instead, think unsalted almonds and walnuts. They are loaded with nutrients and, although they are a source of fat, it is the kind associated with improved heart health. Serve these nutty delights with your favorite fresh fruit for a colorful and complementary display.

Mind Your Portions. No matter what you decide to serve at your party, make sure to watch your portions. Consider putting out smaller plates…tapas feel chic, anyway! Another idea: Keep the platters in a separate room away from the best place to congregate. This will help take the emphasis off the food and put it back onto what really matters – the people you are choosing to spend your holiday time with.

Eating healthy over the holidays doesn’t have to be a challenge. In fact, there are many ways to offer nutritious options to your friends and family. What are some additional ways you like to healthify your party menu?

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