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Deck the Halls with Fruits and Veggies

Tips for Healthy Holiday Entertaining from Registered Dietitians 

Holidays are a time for family, friends and lots of food! ‘Tis the season for a few indulgences, but healthy eating can be part of the festivities too. Add more produce to your holiday parties with these easy and fun ideas from expert Registered Dietitians.  

Isabel Smith, MS RD CDN, Registered Dietitian in New York City 

Fill your holiday buffet plate with at least 50% vegetables (or more!)—which includes salad, soup, or cooked vegetables. This will help to keep the high-calorie starchy items to a minimum. Vegetables are full of fiber and feel very filling, but aren't as high in calories as some of the other items that may also be served. Plan what you want to indulge in before you arrive at the holiday party or event; for example, I usually plan to indulge in dessert. If you think about it before you go it'll help you better strategize and make the choices you really want to make and avoid those that may not be quite as worth it! 

Lauren Maddahi, MS RD, Registered Dietitian in Los Angeles 

My favorite Hannukah hack is to make cauliflower latkes instead of potato-based ones. It's actually a weekly staple in my house! I still fry them in the pan with avocado oil, but the starch content is so much lower that I feel my choice is a tad more nutritious. I prepare mine by steaming cauliflower in the microwave, then mashing it up with one egg, salt and pepper. Make sure to allow the cauliflower to cool completely before mashing otherwise the mixture will be too moist and the latkes will fall apart. 

Katie Serbinski, MS RD, Registered Dietitian in Detroit 

It’s easy to promote healthier habits during the holiday season, even with the overload of sugar and treats often found at holiday celebrations. While I’m all for keeping treats at a holiday party, I also have found my kids gravitate towards the healthier options when I serve some of their favorite fruits and vegetables alongside those traditional indulgences. When the party is over and we are back in our mealtime routine at home, I always keep produce like pears, bananas, and apples visible, so my kids are more likely to ask for them as a snack vs. the sugar cookie cutout they made at Grandma’s. I also find getting kids involved in the kitchen, making fun holiday centerpieces like a Christmas tree made out of berries, kiwi and melon is a fun way to make fruit festive too. 

Jenn LaVardera, MS RD, Registered Dietitian at the Dole Nutrition Institute 

Fruit and vegetable platters can become dull at holiday parties when there is so much (less healthy) food to choose from. Make produce the star of the show with fun and festive arrangements. Salad wreathes make beautiful centerpieces and nutritious side dishes. You can make a fruit wreath for dessert too! There can be so many parties to attend—office, family, friends, more friends—and while it’s fine to enjoy some holiday treats I try to mind my portion sizes and not make every day an excuse to indulge. 

Add a wreath to your appetizer table too with Dole’s Pull Apart Crudité Wreath!

Published December 1, 2016

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