A weekend is always a great opportunity to celebrate with your friends and family. Whether it’s a birthday, girls’ night in or just a house party, we all love to gather together to talk, drink and eat food. For many, it is also a time to over-indulge because we think we can have one “cheat day” a week. Since I want to stay relatively lean and healthy all year round, I have come up with tasty snack ideas that are perfect for any party you are hosting or attending. The main idea here is to snack smart and choose healthy foods.
Here are 10 healthy snack ideas for any party you want to join:
#1 Eat smaller portions
Contrary to popular belief that smaller portions make you want to eat more, preparing mini-sized pies, tarts, and other appetisers that are equal to one portion is enough to fill you up.
At least when you reach out for more, you’re still eating less. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like feeling uncomfortably full. Aside from the extra calories, there is more saturated fat in bigger portions!
#2 Snack on seasonal fruits
We have heard this before but … this is very true. When you’re feeling hungry, take advantage of the delicious fruits in season. Apples, peaches, all types of berries and plums are all in abundance in December and January.
Cranberries, blueberries and pears are especially good during the holidays. You can also make a delicious smoothie, for instance, a strawberry one, if you don’t like raw fruits. It will fill you up for hours.
#3 Snack on nuts
Aside from seasonal fruits, another great low-calorie snack idea is a variety of nuts. Nuts contain heart-healthy good fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Just make sure that you don’t put too much salt on your nuts.
If you want to flavour nuts, add honey or chilli. Also, avoid fried and oily nuts. There are some nuts that have lesser fat content than others. The lowest calorie nuts are almonds, cashews, and pistachios.
#4 Choose low-calorie traditional foods
Each country has traditional foods that are typically served only during the holidays. I used to live in Amsterdam, and they had a lot of delicious food here during the season. However, I chose to snack on low-calorie options such as chestnuts and almond paste bread (they call it kerststol). They also have stollen, which is bread with fruit and nuts. My own country of birth, Poland, has healthy traditional Christmas snacks as well. I love mushroom dumplings called uszka and of course, pierogi.
You just have to put a healthy filling on the pierogi such as sauerkraut and mushroom, instead of potato and cheese.
#5 Eat vegetable-based snacks
There are many great recipes for vegetable-based snacks that are delicious and easy to make. I found a yummy low-calorie and heart-healthy snack online, caramelised onion and shrimp bruschetta.
Here’s another idea: roasted cauliflower. Cauliflower is my new favourite vegetable. It has much-concentrated flavour when roasted rather than when steamed. Fresh sage is a herb that goes well with roasted vegetables. Instead of dipping chips on a dip, use a variety of vegetables such as carrots, celery, tomatoes, and broccoli.
#6 Avoid salt
Just as we want to avoid sugar, we also want to avoid too much salt in our diet. It is easy to indulge in salty food, especially if you are avoiding too much sugar. I always tell myself that I should avoid too much of both.
To add flavour to food, choose fresh herbs, chillies, black pepper or lemon wedges. These are all healthier and tastier options.
#7 Make healthier dips
Instead of using rich, creamy dips from various cheeses or mayonnaise that are high in saturated fat, try heart-healthy spinach, artichoke, or white bean dips made with nonfat yoghurt or low-fat cottage cheese.
#8 Use smaller plates and glasses
Using smaller plates and glasses tricks our minds to minimise the portions of snacks and drinks. I have read a study that verifies this. They have entitled the article “The Large Plate Mistake.”
#9 You can splurge once in a while, but do something healthy first
This is the party, after all, so we are all allowed to splurge once in a while. Before I allow myself to splurge, I do something healthy first. I just want to counter the “unhealthy” thing that I will do.
#10 Stay active
I usually take a walk, run a few laps, or climb up and down the stairs to burn off extra calories and stay active during, after or before the party!