Eating healthy and being physically active can be a fun part of parties and events. Great gatherings are easy to do when tasty, healthy foods from all the food groups are offered in a fun, active environment. Above all, focus on enjoying friends and family.

Tips for healthy celebrations

Make foods look festive

Cut vegetables into new shapes, decorate plates with colorful, eye-catching fruits, or add a sprinkle of sliced almonds or green onions to brighten a plain dish.

Offer thirst quenchers that please

Make fun ice cubes from 100% juice or add slices of fruit to make water more exciting. Create a “float” by adding a scoop of fruit sorbet to seltzer water.

Make moving part of every event

Being physically active makes everyone feel good. Dancing, moving, playing active games, wiggling, and giggling add fun to any gathering. Take a group walk around the neighborhood after eating, instead of going straight to the couch!

Be a cheerleader for healthy habits

It’s never too early for adults to set an example. Keep in mind that children follow what the adults around them do even at parties.

Shop smart to eat smart

Save money by offering foods that fit your budget. Buy in-season produce when it costs less and tastes better. Plan in advance and buy foods on sale.

Try out some healthier recipes

Find ways to cut back on sugar, salt, and fat as you prepare your favorite holiday recipes. Offer naturally sweet fruit instead of multiple desserts, and try seasoning with fresh or dried herbs to add flavor to your meal.

Image: simplyrecipes.com
Image: simplyrecipes.com

Keep it simple

Have others participate by contributing a prepared dish, helping with the clean up, or keeping the kids active and moving.  Remember to focus on being healthy and happy – keep the stress low!

The healthiest party foods

Bruschetta

It’s one of the simplest party foods to make: Top a small slice of Italian bread with a gorgeous mixture of tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and basil and voila – you’ve got bruschetta. And though that piece of bread doesn’t yield much nutritional value, the marriage of tomatoes and olive oil scores top marks for disease prevention. Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found to ward off cancer and heart disease.

Smoked Salmon on Toasts

In a word: omega-3s. These essential fatty acids are found only in a few foods, and salmon is one of the richest sources out there. Omega-3s help keep blood pressure down, maintain healthy cholesterol levels, stave off heart disease, and if that’s not enough, they give your skin that healthy, dewy glow.

Salsa

If you’ve got your choice of several dip options, this one should win every time. Gracias, Mexico, for contributing this incredibly tasty finger food to cocktail parties the world over, saving health-minded party goers mucho calories. Salsa’s main ingredients – tomatoes, peppers, and lime – are all jam-packed with vitamins A and C, loaded with fiber, and super low-calorie.

Guacamole

Avocado plays the starring role in guacamole, which is why it’s loaded with heart-healthy fats and valuable nutrients such as beta-sitosterol, a natural plant sterol which can decrease your levels of bad cholesterol.

Shrimp Cocktail

Jumbo on protein and skimpy on fat and calories, this little crustacean may just be the best party appetizer there is. With just a few shrimp on your plate, you are less likely to gorge on the fattier options presenting themselves to you, because protein keeps you satisfied for longer. Shrimp also contains the mineral zinc, a rarity in finger food, which helps promote a strong immune system.

Vegetables and Dip

Here’s an ultra-safe strategy for party munching: load up three-quarters of your plate with the veggies from the crudite platter. You’ll be so busy chowing down on carotenoids, which are strong sources of vitamin A, that you’ll forget how healthy you’re being. And here’s the bonus: You don’t have to totally forgo that creamy ranch dip. Studies show that adding a little bit of fat to your veggies helps the body absorb the nutrients in the healthy selections you’ve made.

Chicken Kabobs

Play the following party game: pick up sticks. Of chicken, that is. The meat contained in this Asian-inspired appetizer is usually skinless and grilled, and therefore contains few calories or fat. Plus, the most popular seasoning is a teriyaki glaze, which flavors the meat with less than a teaspoon of sugar.

Sushi

The pieces with salmon or tuna inside deliver those coveted omega-3s, but even the fishless variety contains a healthy slice of cucumber or other veggie. The seaweed that hugs the rice, called nori, also packs a nutritious punch, as it contains minerals from the sea.

Fruit and Cheese

Women require 1000mg of calcium a day, which is all the more reason to hang out by the cheese platter. One or two good-size cheddar cheese chunks will give you roughly 120mg, but they do add up in the fat and calorie department, so don’t go nuts. Hard cheeses like cheddar yield more calcium – and more calories – than soft cheeses like brie or goat. For fruit, load up on strawberries, pineapples, or kiwis for an extra wallop of vitamin C and an immunity boost.

Cheese Raclette
Cheese Raclette

Red Wine

If the guy at the bar is monopolizing the conversation with his extensive knowledge of pinots, cabernets, and merlots, here’s a little fact to throw in: Red wine is chock-full of polyphenol, a compound found in the skin of red grapes that aids circulation, lowers blood pressure, and promotes overall heart health.

wines

Mixed Nuts

Unless the mix is honey-roasted (and therefore coated in sugar), you can consider the nut bowl fair game. Indulging in a few small scoops of plain nuts can give you a nice dose of vitamins, fiber, and protein to keep you full. If you spy some sunflower or pumpkin seeds in there, even better – they’re high in vitamin E, which works wonders for circulation, skin, and even PMS.

Source:  Article contributed by hellodoktor.com.

Read also: 7 Fitness Hacks for the Festive Season