So, where do you start when you want to eat healthy at the holidays? Most people these days really appreciate better choices at potlucks and Christmas buffets. And what do you do when you have to bring something to a family get-together when you know there will be a lot of chips and dips and you just want to go and be able to eat something that won’t ruin your health journey?
Lucky for you, I’ve gathered some recipes that will be crowd-pleasers at your next holiday party, family gathering, or any other occasion around the corner. Not only are these recipes delicious, but your guests will be thankful they don’t have to worry about their waistlines or blood sugar. All of these recipes are featured on my Pinterest page, where I’ve posted even more for you to check out.
- As the days seem to get colder, a staple for any chilly night is soup. Try this smoky and salty Tomato Lentil Soup with spinach and olives. The lentils are loaded with fiber and protein, and the olives and tomatoes add a burst of flavor with each bite. A little spinach means an extra veggie boost, and who doesn’t need that?
- Speaking of comfort food, another staple that makes everyone feel cozy— casseroles and bakes. And they’re so easy! This Tomato Basil Spaghetti Squash Bake has all the classic flavors while substituting spaghetti squash for spaghetti noodles.
- This Lentil Kidney Bean Chili has a kick of green pepper, but you can always add jalapeños or red chili flakes to give it that real wow factor. Pair with black bean quesadillas (with faux cheese) for delicious and healthy dipping.
- Tired of the same old salad with heavy, unhealthy dressing? This Roasted Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Salad is a fun side dish that almost feels like a main dish. The pomegranate seeds add a nice tart hint, along with the sweetness of the sweet potato and roasted cauliflower flavor.
- We all want that good dip/sauce for chips or pasta—without the saturated fat, sugar, and empty calories. A Fat-Free Vegan Cheese sauce will do the trick. It uses yukon gold potatoes! Put it in a blender with herbs like garlic and smoked paprika along with some zucchini. It’s a flexible and delicious option.
- Roasted veggies are an excellent addition to any main dish, as they’re so versatile and easy to make. These Rosemary Roasted Radishes not only taste great, but that punch of red on the plate will entice any guest.
- We’ve covered the basics for side dishes, so here’s something that’s fun and unexpected: Vegan Grain-Free Stuffed Mushrooms! The bite of the sun-dried tomatoes mix nicely with the earthy tones of the walnuts and mushrooms. Bring it to a potluck, football game party, or any gathering for a fun and healthy take on finger-food!
- Okay, this dessert is going to feel like you’re cheating. Yet, this Vegan Mint Chocolate Mousse is healthy … and fluffy … and decadent. Really, take an extra. It will go fast at your next Christmas party.
- Since the holidays are an incredibly busy time, this is a go-to recipe. Raw Spiced Carrot Cake takes around 10 minutes to make.
- Tarts are always a good choice in desserts. This healthy Raw Pumpkin Pie Tart is comforting, simple, and looks festive and beautiful on a holiday platter.
- Sometimes, simplicity is the best way to go. And it doesn’t get any simpler than this 2-Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookie That’s right, besides the chocolate chips, there are only two ingredients: oats and banana.
As you’re preparing food for a party, remember to arrange items on lovely dishes, making them memorable and enticing. Have you ever heard of the hashtag #FoodPorn? There’s a reason people constantly post photos on social media with this label. Good food looks good, and research shows that food that looks delicious (think colors, variety, overall presentation, creativity) will make it taste even more delicious.
So, excite your guests with a lovely food presentation. It doesn’t need to be complicated. For example, try using simple, monochromatic plates to allow the food to stand out. Pick recipes with color. You might even try some edible accents, like herbs or edible flowers.
If you’re looking for more ideas for the holidays or even for next year, let’s connect. Have a safe and wonderful holiday. Enjoy your time with family and friends, and try those new recipes!
This month’s suggested reading:
If you need more ideas, try out this Natural Feasts book for more healthy recipes.