Healthy recipes for the best Holiday Parties

It’s hard to believe but we are only one week away from celebrating the New Year. This is a perfect time to start afresh, set goals, and become more motivated than ever. Whenever I host a party, I always like to be creative and bring something new to the table. Why not make foods that are not only unique but are also healthy and fun? It’s our mission to help you stay on track and this week we aim to help you flourish at your upcoming parties with creative foods and ideas to keep you focused on your goals.

As mentioned in earlier posts, on days we know we have a social gathering, and this usually means that food will be involved, it is important to plan your meals accordingly throughout the day. Keep to your meal plan so that you don’t arrive at the party feeling like you haven’t eaten all day and certainly, don’t let that literally be the case. This is the case when most of us tend to think, we only ate half of what we actually ate.
Instead, have an inner conversation with yourself in advance and set goals you feel comfortable with.

Thinking of healthy foods to bring? Making party foods at home? Why not try one or all of our ideas:

Cream Cheese and Roasted Red Pepper Roulade

Serves 8

What you need:

  • 8 ounces low fat cream cheese
  • ¼ cup roasted red peppers, chopped
  • ¼ cup scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
  • Pinch of salt

How you make it:

  1. Place cream cheese between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and gently roll out to a 9-by-6-inch rectangle. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour.
  2. Remove top sheet of plastic and spread roasted pepper over cheese, leaving a 1-inch border on one of the long sides. Scatter scallions on top.
  3. Using plastic wrap underneath and on top, roll up cream cheese into a log, with plain border at end. Wrap tightly with plastic and chill for at least 8 hours.
  4. Remove plastic wraps.
  5. Place a small skillet over low heat to warm. Add pumpkin seeds and salt. Toast, shaking pan often, until seeds are fragrant (about 5 minutes). Transfer seeds to a bowl to cool. When cool, chop roughly.
  6. Before serving, unwrap cheese roulade and gently press chopped pumpkin seeds all over outside. Serve with whole wheat crackers.

Crostini with Goat Cheese, Caramelized Onions and Fig Jam

Serves 12

What you need:

  • 2 cups vertically sliced yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Goat cheese spread
  • 24 (1/2-inch-thick) slices diagonally cut French bread baguette, toasted
  • Fig jam

How you make it:

  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add onion, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook 5 minutes.
  2. Uncover and continue to cook 20 minutes or until onion is deep golden brown, stirring occasionally. While onion cooks, add 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup at a time, to keep onion from sticking to pan. Set to cool.
  3. Spread 1 teaspoon cheese over each baguette slice. Top each slice with about 1 teaspoon onion mixture and 1 teaspoon jam. Sprinkle evenly with thyme leaves.

Date and Tahini Bites

Serves 15

  • 1 container date spread (can be found in middle eastern market shops)
  • 3 tablespoons raw sesame Tahini
  • 2 cups gram crackers crumbs.
  • 1 cup small coconut flakes.

How you make it:

  1. Crush graham crackers and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the date spread and Tahini and mix with a spoon.
  3. Add graham crackers to the mixture and mix until dough-like texture appears.
  4. Roll small, 1 inch diameter balls from mixture with hands.
  5. Coat in coconut and place neatly on tray.
  6. Serve chilled.

Baby Artichoke Bruschetta (Recipe by Jaime Oliver)

Serves 4

What you need:

  • 8 baby artichokes
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 handful fresh mint , leaves picked
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

How you make it:

  1. Peel artichokes back to their pale, light leaves. Halve them and remove the hairy chokes with a teaspoon. Place in a pan with just enough water to cover. Add garlic cloves and a little squeeze of lemon juice. Cook until the stalks are tender.
  2. Drain artichokes in a colander. Place artichokes back into empty pan with 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil and cook 4 minutes. When slightly golden, remove from heat and squeeze in a little lemon juice. Add mint and season carefully to taste.
  3. Remove 4 artichoke halves from the pan and put to one side. Mash the rest in the pan, using a fork to squash the garlic out of the skins (throw the skins away).
  4. Smear across your basicbruschetta. Tear one of the reserved artichoke halves over the top of each. Add a handful of freshly grated Parmesan to the mashed-up artichokes (optional)

Have a Happy and Healthy New Year! and Enjoy!