Entertain your way to healthier choices

Published 12:44 pm Sunday, December 11, 2016

Perhaps you’ve been working on eating healthier and want healthy choices for that yearly holiday party. This holiday season, bring some dazzle to your holiday parties with healthier snack platters, tasting plates and side dishes. Remember, I am 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: Use flavored sparkling waters with fresh juices, whole fruit and fresh herbs.

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•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: Use as a 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.  Here are some of the best pairing ideas from Wonderful Pistachios for you to relish these enchanting flavors, including our Hy-Vee dietitian pick of the month:

•Pistachios plus mandarin oranges plus goat cheese

•Pistachios plus fresh blueberries plus white cheddar cheese

•Pistachios plus fresh pomegranate arils plus brie cheese

•Pistachios plus apricots and dates plus mozzarella and blue cheese

•Pistachios plus Asian Sesame Sticks plus Wasabi peas

•Pistachios plus Gala apple wedges drizzled with honey or lavender honey plus aged Gouda

•Pistachios plus Manchego cheese plus Peppadew peppers

•Pistachios plus mini chocolate chip cookies plus fresh strawberries

Finger food appetizers are also a hit at any gathering. Try the recipe included 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

Apricot-Pistachio Cream Cheese Spread

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.

Source: adapted from EatingWell Inc.

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.