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Christmas isn’t even here yet but everywhere I go there seems to be a platter of sweet treats waiting to be eaten. 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 really difficult to stick to a healthy meal plan with so many events and functions, but what you can do is plan a well balanced holiday menu to serve your guests when they visit.

Plan your meal

serve-bowlAnytime I plan a large meal for guests I like to first find out if anyone has any diet 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 foods that they can eat is by serving them on some beautiful platters with labels and even a list of ingredients.

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 always 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. If you take a bit of everything when you serve your plate, you’ll be surprised to see how many veggies you have on your plate.

Cooking healthy sides

steamer helps with balanced menuTo 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 definitely not low fat with the amount of butter and half and half we use. To counter act the heaviness of the potatoes I like to cook lighter sides and besides 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 of your veggies and with this Heaven Fresh Food Steamer you’ll have more stove top space for your other sides. This steamer has an 11.5 litre capacity and a timer so you don’t have to worry about over cooking them and having mushy veggies to serve to your guests. I also love that’s its dishwasher safe because who wants to slave over a sink full of dirty dishes after a big holiday meal.

crockpotA 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.

This holiday season I hope you enjoy your time with family and friends and if you have any great tips or tricks to make your holiday feast a little lighter, leave them in the comments below.

Check out bestbuy.ca for some amazing small appliances and serving dishes to make your holiday meal extra special this year.

Main image @ www.businesswire.com.