Healthy Alternatives to Festive Foods

Set a healthy standard over the holidays by eating this instead of that

Credit: Flickr /Marissa Bracke

Choose veggie trays with low-fat dips instead of nachos at your holiday party

The holidays are a time to indulge, but if you’re not careful, holiday eating can easily get out of hand. Keep your calories down with these healthy choices for your festive foods

If you’re having a holiday party for family and friends, why not set the standard for a healthier celebration by filling the banquet table with guilt-free foods?

Lightening the calorie, carbohydrate and fat load while increasing the nutritional value of holiday season fare doesn’t mean the food has to be boring. All that’s required is a little thoughtful retooling of the menu.

Healthier Holiday Options vs. Conventional Holiday Fare

  • Drinks – Choose light beer, wine spritzer, and diet or sparkling soda for highball mixers instead of regular beer, wine and highballs
  • Breads – Choose whole-wheat bread and dinner rolls instead of white bread and dinner rolls
  • Spreads – Choose mustard, low-fat mayonnaise, cranberry sauce, chutneys or relishes instead of butter
  • Meats – Choose roasted turkey breast slices, grilled salmon, cooked shrimp, and lean ham instead of baron of beef, cold cuts
  • Salads – Choose low-fat mixed bean or lentil salad or low-fat coleslaw, and/or fresh green salad 
with low-fat vinaigrette dressing served on the side instead of potato salad
  • Grains – Choose rice or whole-grain crackers and hummus instead of chips and dip
  • Dips – Choose hummus, fresh salsa or low-fat dips made with low-fat sour cream, yogurt or low-fat mayonnaise instead of high-fat dips (e.g., spinach dip)
  • Fruits and Veggies – Choose fruit and vegetable trays with low-fat dips instead of nachos
  • Cheese – Choose low-fat cheeses (15% milk fat or less) served with grapes instead of cheese and cracker trays
  • Pasteries – Choose small, two-bite morsels of sweet treats like brownies and cheesecake instead of cake slices

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.