The holidays are here and so are holiday parties, potlucks, and sweet treats. But the season doesn’t always have to be about rich, high-calorie food.
“Many holiday foods can be nutritious as well as delicious,” says Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, a nutritionist with Dana-Farber.
Whether you’re filling your plate or planning a holiday gathering, it’s important to aim for variety, including fresh fruit and vegetables and healthy proteins. Kennedy also recommends drinking lots of water and getting plenty of exercise.
Here are six healthy party foods and recipes you can try this holiday season:
- Ho-ho hummus – Instead of serving heavy holiday dips, try this Scallion and Roasted Pine Nut Hummus. Pine nuts are rich in protein, zinc, copper and manganese, which help the immune system. Legumes, like the chickpeas in this recipe, are a great source of protein and fiber.
- Positively pomegranate – Try a nutritious twist on apple crisp: add pomegranate. This Apple and Pomegranate Crisp is a good-for-you dessert layered with flavonoids, vitamin C, and other antioxidants.
- Go nuts – A recent study revealed that women who ate a one-ounce serving of nuts two or more times a week had a 35 percent lower risk of pancreatic cancer than women who did not eat nuts. Another study showed that nuts may reduce death rate by 20 percent. This Walnut Pesto recipe is one way you can incorporate nuts into your holiday meal.
- Merry mango – The mangoes in this Mango Carrot Mousse are rich in antioxidants. Consuming antioxidant rich foods can help support the immune system.
- Magical mixture – Try this magical Pumpkin and White Bean Hummus at your holiday party this year. Pumpkins can spice up many recipes and they are packed with nutrients called carotenoids, which provide antioxidants to fight and protect against disease and support healthy vision especially with age.
- Festive finger food – This festive Winter Squash Crostini is another great great source of antioxidants.
For more nutrition information and health tips, visit the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center Nutrition Program website. More healthy recipes are available through the Dana-Farber Health Library or Dana-Farber’s free “Ask the Nutritionist” app.