10 Tips to a Healthier Holiday Celebration

Instead of giving—or getting—another food and drink hangover, follow these simple tips for a healthy, happy party

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By Lisa Roberts-Lehan

We’re at the tail-end of holiday season, and you’ve woken up with more food-and-drink hangovers in the last few weeks than you can count. How can you start the new year off right? You’re in luck. Whether you’re hosting an end-of-year party or attending a festive last-minute holiday potluck, we’ve got the answers.

1:  Boost Antioxidants

As much fun as the holiday season can be, the reality is that it leaves many of us stressed out.  Minimize harmful free-radicals caused by stress with antioxidant-rich superfoods like cranberries, pomegranates, oranges, bell peppers, kale, and organic dark chocolate. Because each color contains different antioxidants, be sure to eat a rainbow of colors.

2:  Stay Hydrated 

It’s easy to over-indulge on both food and alcohol this time of year.  To help flush out excess sodium, sugar and the toxins from alcohol, drink tons of water. Try this simple recipe if you’re hosting on New Year’s:

  1. Fill a water pitcher with filtered water.
  2. Add 1 sliced orange, 1 sliced lime, 1 sliced lemon and a handful of fresh mint.
  3. Refrigerate for 2 hours to allow flavors to infuse before drinking.

3:  Plant Some Plant-Based Foods On Your Plate

Crispy Avocado Fries

Impress both your carnivore and vegetable-loving guests or hosts with delicious plant-based dishes that are easy to prepare, flavor-packed and nutrient-rich. Vegetable dishes help you fill up quicker and give your body the nutrients it needs to off-set the negative effects of richer foods and beverages.

Some of our favorite crowd-pleasers?  Shredded Root Vegetable Pancakes; Sweet Potato with Maple Syrup and Cayenne; Crispy Avocado Fries; and Crunchy Broccoli Salad with Almonds and Goat Cheese.

4:  Toast With Whole Grains

Whether you’re attending a potluck or hosting one, pick your favorite crostini recipe (we like this Salmon Avocado Crostini), then swap a regular baguette for one made with organic whole wheat or spelt. If you’re making a pasta or rice dish, look for products that feature whole-grain organic brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet or amaranth. Your guests will wonder why they feel so much lighter yet more satisfied after your party.

5:  Take A Dip

We admit it, vegetable crudités aren’t the most exciting addition to a holiday spread. Still, many guests appreciate having an obvious healthy option. And crudités are not only refreshing and packed with essential vitamins, they also make an eye-pleasing display—and, per tip #5, vegetables can off-set the effects of richer foods (and booze). Pair with a selection of two to three dips made with organic ingredients—choose fiber-rich bean or veggie dips like these roasted squash and hummus spreads over cream-based options.

6:  Choose Antibiotic- and Hormone-Free Meat

Photo: Evan Sung
Photo Credit: Evan Sung

For nibbles that will please the carnivores, make your way to your local farmer’s market and find out who offers pasture-raised, grass-fed meat and poultry without antibiotics or hormones or order from online retailers like Greensbury. You can also use the Eat Wild and Local Harvest websites to find local markets and producers. Looking for a crowd-pleasing recipe? Check out our Grilled Beef Steak with Onion Marinade.

7:  Bake Better-For-You Treats 

Show off your baking skills and impress your guests or hosts with cookies, cakes, muffins and quick breads made with all-natural, lower-glycemic sweeteners.  Replace processed white sugar with organic 100% pure raw honey or maple syrup from local producers, coconut palm sugar, or date sugar.  These options all have more nutritive value than plain old sugar and can help stave off sugar-induced energy crashes. Replace all-purpose flour with organic spelt, whole-wheat or amaranth flours, all of which not only boost nutrients but also flavor.

8:  Drink Global And Local

 

Yes, even the alcohol you drink or serve can be healthier, for you and the planet.  Avoid the chemicals used in conventional farming and minimize your environmental impact by choosing organic and biodynamic wines, organic liquors and locally-brewed beers. Up for a little mixology? Check out the antioxidant-rich Pomegranate Kombucha Cocktail or for the teetotalers, try the Ginger-Beet Mocktail (video above). 

9:  Say Cheese

Who doesn’t love a selection of fine cheeses to accompany an organic wine?  Try your farmer’s market, cheesemonger or specialty store and sample the different cheeses on offer.  Choose three to five selections and pair your cheeseboard with organic fresh fruit, unsweetened and sulfur dioxide-free dried fruit, and fiber-rich nuts. #Yum.

10:  Give or Bring Creative Party Gifts

Better-for-you party favors will bring 2016 to a tasty ending.  Some of our top picks?

  • Organic dark raw chocolate from a local chocolatier or buy one of our favorite new dark chocolate products. 
  • A perfect piece of fruit tied with a bow.
  • Homemade organic preserves or chutney.
  • Local organic raw honey.
  • Homemade baked goods made with natural sweeteners.
  • Coco-Nut Granola in a mason jar.