Usually around the holiday season, you find platters of sweet treats at every turn. Then there’s work parties, parties with friends and special holiday events that usually involve a meal and some delicious festive cocktails. It can be difficult to maintain healthy eating with so many events and functions, but what you can do is plan a well-balanced holiday menu to serve your guests using handy small appliances.
Plan a healthy meal
Anytime I plan a large meal for guests, I like to first find out if anyone has dietary restrictions. I eat gluten free, and I know how difficult it can be to find something to eat when you’re out, so it’s nice to make sure there are food options for all your guests.
One great way to make your guests feel comfortable and aware of the food they can eat is by serving them on beautiful platters with labels and even a list of ingredients (or at least noting any common allergens a dish contains).
I always like to plan what I’ll be serving in advance and that way I can ensure I’m offering my guests a well-balanced meal. I cook your traditional turkey dinner for my big holiday meal which, of course, includes mashed potatoes and gravy. Mashed potatoes and gravy can be heavy in the stomach, but I balance them with a few veggie options. Of course, there’s always cauliflower rice too, which is so easy to hide in other dishes such as stuffing. If you take a bit of everything when you serve your plate, you’ll be surprised to see how simple it is to eat a full serving.
Cooking healthy sides
To make a well-balanced meal, you really have to take into consideration how you cook your foods. We don’t cook mashed potatoes often at my house and my holiday mash is not low fat with the amount of butter and half and half we use. To counteract the heaviness of the potatoes, I like to cook lighter sides. With the exception of my sausage stuffing, the rest of my sides are from the vegetable family.
Steaming your veggies is a great way to retain the nutrients, flavour, and colour. Air fryers have become increasingly popular, and they make amazing crispy Brussel sprouts that everyone will love.
A crockpot is also a great easy way to cook some healthy sides. A sweet potato casserole works well in a crockpot, just be careful of the extras you’re adding in. Marshmallows, butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup are popular sweet potato add ins or toppings, but they are full of sugar. I like to sprinkle mine with cinnamon and just a light drizzle of organic maple syrup for a healthier alternative.
Healthy dessert options
Somehow no matter how full you are, there always seems to be room for dessert. The good news is that desserts don’t always have to be heavy and overly sweet. A good blender can be used to whip up a base for smoothie bowls which are delicious. Why not set up a smoothie bar with a variety of toppings that all your guests will enjoy?
Another family favourite is fresh fruit with whipped cream and some shaved chocolate. You can offer coconut whip as a dairy alternative which is my personal favourite and have milk, dark and white chocolate shavings as a topper. Depending on allergies, chopped nuts is a great addition to add some crunch to your bowl.
This holiday season, I hope you enjoy your time with family and friends. If you have any great tips or tricks to make your holiday feast a little lighter, leave them in the comments below.
Check out Best Buy online for some amazing small appliances and serving dishes to make your holiday meal extra special this year.