Entertain Your Way to Health

By Laura Schmidt

Perhaps you’ve been working on eating healthier and want healthy choices for those yearly holiday parties. This 2016 holiday season, bring some dazzle to your holiday parties with healthier snack platters, tasting plates, and side dishes. Your Hy-Vee dietitians are here to help with wellness tips and healthier-for-you recipes to wow the crowd.

Use small snack-style plates. This will decrease how much people will try to fit on their plate and help reduce return trips back to the party foods.

Create low(er)-calorie beverages by using flavored sparkling waters with fresh juices, whole fruit, and fresh herbs.

Create your menus with a “bite-size” theme.

Make your crowd work for their food: Serve in-shell pistachios, one of the lowest-fat, lowest calorie snack nuts.

Use small serving utensils.

Limit the number of desserts served to only a few, and serve in small pieces.

Display fresh cut veggies as the centerpiece by using various sized bowls, cups, and platters with varying heights and depths to make people think they taste as good as they look.

One of the latest trends has been food pairings, which means pairing two or three different foods together that bring out unique, delicious flavors you may not experience by eating each food by itself. Your Hy-Vee dietitian has the best pairing ideas from Wonderful Pistachios® for you to relish these enchanting flavors, including our Hy-Vee dietitian pick of the month:

Pistachios + mandarin oranges + goat cheese

Pistachios + fresh blueberries + white cheddar cheese

Pistachios + fresh pomegranate arils + brie cheese

Pistachios + apricots and dates + mozzarella and blue cheese

Pistachios + Asian Sesame Sticks + Wasabi peas

Pistachios + Gala apple wedges drizzled with honey or lavender honey + aged Gouda

Pistachios + Manchego cheese + Peppadew peppers

Pistachios + mini chocolate chip cookies + fresh strawberries

Finger food appetizers are also a hit at any gathering. Try this recipe for Apricot-Pistachio Cream Cheese Spread at your next get-together or simply for breakfast or brunch paired with a whole-grain bagel or baguettes.

Apricot-Pistachio Cream Cheese Spread

Serves 24 (1 tablespoon each)

All you need:

1 (8 oz) pkg Hy-Vee reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup chopped Hy-Vee dried apricots

1/2 cup chopped unsalted pistachios

1 tbsp Hy-Vee honey

All you do:

1. Stir cream cheese, apricots, pistachios, and honey in a bowl until well combined.

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Serving Tip: Serve with fresh bakery baguettes that have been sliced and slightly toasted in oven.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 43 calories, 3g fat, 1g saturated fat, 5mg cholesterol, 45mg sodium, 4g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 3g sugar, 1g protein.

Source: adapted from EatingWell, Inc.

The information is not intended as medical advice.

Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

Laura Schmidt is a registered dietitian representing Hy-Vee as a nutrition expert promoting healthy eating throughout the community.