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Festive Food for Your Holidays!

It’s time to deck out your dishes for the holidays.

Ever notice how raw or roasted fruits and veggies seem more special when they are artfully displayed? Welcome to health and wellness with a cheery twist!

Here are five ideas to festive-ize healthful, delicious food to support self care for yourself and those you love:

  1. Fruits and vegetables come in holiday colors that are easy to eat and pretty to serve.
    • Make a wreath with red and green apple slices. Serve with caramel sauce or peanut butter.
    • Create a tree using any green veggies you like! Try asparagus, bell pepper, broccoli, and/or snow peas. Cherry tomatoes become easy-to-eat ornaments and light ranch dressing can be swooshed like garland.
    • Roasted bell pepper, asparagus, eggplant, mushroom, cauliflower, squash, or nearly any other veggies that you like are amazing served hot or cold. They are great on their own, or you can serve with hummus, salsa, or sprinkled with your favorite spices. Drizzle with a bit of olive or canola oil before roasting. Did you know that adding a little fat can actually aid with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins? Yep.
    • Holiday-shaped cookie cutters work great for sliced fruit, cheese, lean deli meat and bread. This adds festive cheer in an otherwise simple sandwich and side. Don’t throw away cut scraps! Use the fruit in a mixed fruit salad and use the sandwich fixings in a future casserole or soup.
    • Oh my darlin’, serve a clementine. Simply wash, peel, and eat for a citrusy treat.
    • Core and bake apples filled with dried fruit and nuts and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  2. Charcuterie for you and me.
    • Serve up some prosciutto, reduced-fat cheese, and small slices of all your favorite lean meat and cheese options. Arrange them in a festive shape on the platter. Alternate cheese and sausage into a candy cane, for example.
    • Don’t forget the dried fruit, nuts, and whole grain crackers!
    • Garnish with fresh herbs and veggies, too.
  3. Cheese cheers!
    • Nibble on bite-sized slices and cubes.
    • Spear chunks of cheese, fresh basil and a grape or cherry tomato on a toothpick.
    • Offer low-sodium and reduced fat versions and try the stronger flavors for more taste in a smaller bite.
  4. Winterize your water.
    • Freeze peppermint candy, mini candy canes, or cranberries into ice cubes for a festive flavor and look (for adults – remember to avoid choking hazards for the kiddos).
    • Garnish that glass with a candy cane or slice of lemon, orange, or lime (wash before slicing).
  5. Do dips filled with taste and nutrition, not loads of calories.
    • Try reduced fat or light sour cream, nonfat or reduced-fat Greek yogurt, or reduced-fat cream cheese.
    • Salsa is an easy way to add zip without breaking the calorie budget.
    • Make your own dips/dressings with different vinegars, fresh herbs, and a splash of olive oil for an easy, flavorful way to spruce up veggies and salads with minimal sodium.

Eat deliciously, nutritiously, and festively. How will you transform your every day meals for Happy Holidays?

By Kim Kirchherr

Dietitian and ACSM Certified Personal Trainer with farm to table expertise.

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