holiday eating…take it easy on the potluck

Alright, those who follow me are going to start noticing a trend. Holiday season is revving up, and winter is around the corner. I’m starting to get panicky just thinking about how I’m going to avoid all the food. Gooey sweet and salty treats, the assorted dishes made of cream cheese, with a splash of some other ingredient so we can call them all “different” dishes. Top that off with a couple glasses of wine. It’s over. It would be fine if we all just had to go to one dinner on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. But, we all know the real culprit of the problem. Its all the celebrations that lead up to the holidays, the extra dinners, the parties, and of course in the midwest…the potlucks. I’m going to say it, and no one is going to like it. Take it easy on the potlucks! Help us all!

Here are some tips to help keep the Holidays a little healthier for you, and you’re friends and family.

  • First, get some buy in from the group on a healthier potluck or party. This has been tested once before on a group of my fellow nurse’s. We had buy in and we had fun…and ate. It works.
  • Try a salad bar as the main dish. Everyone can bring fun salad mix-ins, nuts, fruits, special vinegrettes. There’s a huge variety of quinoa salad variations to choose from. Salads always taste better when you don’t have to chop the veggies yourself.
  • Consider options that include more lean proteins and veggies. And of course, less carbs and starches. Wraps or bite size roll ups with lean meats and veggies work well. I did a roll up theme once and even included sushi. Surprisingly to me it was a hit.
  • Don’t forget the soup! Try a broth base, or veggie base soup. Also can use a squash or cauliflower base. A good homemade soup creates the feeling of warmth and comfort.
  • Try a breakfast or brunch potluck including oatmeal in a crock pot, lots of fruit, and egg bakes.
  • Bring sweet treats in small pre-cut bite sized sqaures, or balls rather than full size bars/pieces of cake.
  • Bring sparkling water instead of soda.
  • Try healthier version of muffins and bars, with less sugar and whole grains. There are lots of options available now that taste pretty good.
  • Go ahead and bring those cream cheese dips, but try serving in small cups rather than serving with a shoveling spoon.
  • Try healthier versions of dips. Use hummus or yogurt based dips. Lots of options you can make yourself, or by in the store.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate holiday gatherings and potlucks. I’m actually grateful to have the best co-workers and friends and family who love to share and celebrate together. However, I know I’m not alone in trying to keep healthy during the Holidays. And I know I’m definitely not alone in having a hard time resisting all the temptations. So let’s help each other out, and enjoy each other…just in a slightly healthier way. I’m in no way saying skip those cream cheese dishes…anything that includes cream cheese is my favorite. But can we all agree to refrain from having 3 or 4 dishes at every party with a cream cheese base? Can we avoid having 4 different pastries to choose from? Pretty please? I just can’t say “no” on my own, and I’m not alone!

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