Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern
Tonight is the night—a time for us to remember all of the great things that 2013 brought us, and to celebrate the fresh start that begins at the stroke of midnight! However, these fiestas oftentimes don’t factor in all of the hard work we put into maintaining our healthy diets (even through the holiday season!). With help from celebrity nutritionist Heather Wilson, we have the perfect solution to this party diet dilemma: a delicious (and surprisingly healthy) menu for your table, tips for indulging in alcohol without the caloric consequences, and ways to snack smart and stress-free at a friend’s soiree. So slide into that LBD, add a little extra shimmer to your makeup and get ready to shake it into the New Year!
First things first: the last thing you want is for your guests to feel like they have to eat before your party because of an over-the-top healthy menu. Focus on revising the classics with good-for-you ingredients so they won’t even notice the difference, and introduce a few new recipes that are loaded with flavor, along with incredible health benefits.
- Devilled eggs are a must, but swap the traditional mayo for an olive-oil based version to cut calories and fat.
- Class up your chip-and-dip display by adding a few health benefits: trade chips and pretzels for rice crackers, which work with a wide variety of dips and give a nice, satisfying crunch. Swap sour cream for Greek yogurt in any classic dip recipe for an extra protein boost.
- Bring on the healthy fat spreads. Guacamole is one of Wilson’s go-to spreads at holiday parties due its hefty dose of monounsaturated fats and satiety power. She also makes a chopped olive tapenade that is loaded with flavor and omega-3s (recipe below).
- Fruit platters are the way to go! If you want to upgrade your spread, trade apples for Asian pears. They are in season this time of year, taste great and provide twice the amount of fiber that apples do.
- Bust out those Asian pears again and turn them into a dessert of their own by slicing them into bite-size wedges and sprinkling them with cacau powder. So easy but so yummy!
- Start with red wine—we all know about its heart-healthy benefits by now. If possible, go organic to avoid any preservatives or pesticides that could cause unintentional bloating.
- When drinking hard liquor, go for top-shelf vodka and infuse with fruit. Flavoring it yourself ramps up the taste and removes any artificial flavoring or sweetener from the equation. Wilson serves her watermelon and pineapple-infused vodkas on ice with fresh blueberries.
When you’re the guest:
- Go for the protein first. It will fill you up early, keep your metabolism revving and prevent mindless snacking.
- Vegetables are unlimited. Reach for any green appetizer, soup or salad, and know that the veggie tray is your best friend when you get in that munching mood.
- Reach for crackers in lieu of chips, bread and pretzels, and use dips sparingly if you aren’t sure of their ingredients.
- Have as much fruit as you want, even with whipped cream for dessert! You’ll feel satisfied without overdoing it.
Chopped Olive Tapenade
- 3 cups pitted green black olives- preferably Nicoise or Kalamata
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 2 tbsp capers, well-rinsed if packed in salt
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed with a garlic press or finely chopped
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
In a food processor, finely chop olives (don’t over chop); transfer to a medium bowl. Add a few extra capers on top to garnish.
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