Have healthy celebrations this festive season

It’s a challenge not to overindulge at this time of year.

For many of us the holidays are marked by sharing great food with friends and families.

It’s a challenge not to overindulge at this time of year. Yet it’s not healthy to feel deprived due to avoiding food at social gatherings while trying to stick to a diet.

Having healthy options available allows us to eat more nutritious foods along with the inevitable goodies.

Despite their small size many appetizers are made with rich ingredients loaded with calories.

To up the nutritional value without overdoing the calories incorporate vegetables, whole grains, plain yogurt or bean dip, into appetizers.

Aim for 50 per cent of the offerings to include some fruit and/or vegetables. Here are a few ideas to consider.

Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes: Slice cherry tomatoes in half and scoop out the pulp.

Stuff with a small crumble of goat cheese and top with a little pesto or stuff with a small cube of feta and a thin slice of kalamata olive.

Fruit Skewers: Put a new spin on the classic fruit platter. Cut assorted fruit into chunks and thread onto small barbeque skewers or toothpicks.

Serve with flavoured low fat Greek yogurt for a dip that contains a good source of protein and is easy on the calories.

Assorted Cracker Toppers: Whole grain cracker topped with things such as low fat cream cheese and jalapeño jelly, low fat cream cheese.

Placing healthy choices up front encourages guests to fill their plates with the healthy options.

This article was contributed by Simone Jennings, Laura Kalina and Rose Soneff, IH nutritionists.