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Party Heartfully This Holiday Season

Registered dietitian Becky Varner shares recipes and insights for navigating the holidays with your health in mind.
BY BECKY VARNER Published: November 28, 2012

Remember that many festive beverages are high in calories. Just one jigger (one and a half ounces) of 94 proof gin, rum, vodka or whiskey contains about 116 calories. And if it is mixed with a soda or sweetened mixer the drink will also contain those calories. Twelve ounces of a sugared beverage average between 150 to 170 calories. One 3 ½ ounce glass of red table wine contains about 75 calories. Eight ounces of nonalcoholic eggnog contains approximately 342 calories and more than that if alcohol is added. There are lots of low-calorie options to consider. Sparkling mineral water with a twist of lemon or orange is great option. Sugar-free ginger ale garnished with lime is refreshing. Tomato or vegetable juice with a few drops of hot sauce is festive.

Offer to bring a healthful dish to the party! Of course you would want to ask the host or hostess ahead of time if it would be OK to bring a favorite snack food to the party but it will generally be appreciated. This will assure there being at least one good option for you! A raw vegetable tray with a low-fat dip, finger sandwiches made with lean deli meat, lettuce and mustard or a low-fat dressing, boiled shrimp with cocktail sauce or a fresh fruit tray are great choices.

Another idea to serve if you are hosting a party or to take to another party is crostini. Two ideas you might want to try are the following salmon with dill and the Kalamata olive and artichoke heart crostini.

Crostini Two Ways

For the Crostini

16 ounce whole wheat baguette

2 tablespoons olive oil

• Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

• Slice baguette into 32 slices (about ½-inch thick each).

• Using a small pastry brush, baste each slice with olive oil.

• Place basted side up on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet.

• Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown on top.

For the Salmon-Dill Topping

½ cup fat free ricotta cheese

2 tablespoons chopped green onion

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

¾ cup canned salmon (about ½ of a 15 ounce can), drained

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

16 fresh dill sprigs for garnish

• Combine ricotta, green onion and black pepper and mix well.

• Add salmon and mix.

• Gently fold in dill weed. This makes 1 cup.

• Spread 1 tablespoon on each of 16 of the crostini. Garnish each with a fresh dill sprig.

This recipe makes 16 appetizers. Each contains approximately 58 calories and 1.5 grams fat.

For the Olive-ArtichokeTopping

1 cup water packed artichoke hearts, chopped

¼ cup chopped Kalamata olives

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

¼ teaspoon ground pepper

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan

• Combine artichoke hearts, olives, parsley and pepper. Mix well.

• Spread 1 tablespoon on each of 16 of the crostini. Sprinkle each with Parmesan.

This recipe makes 16 appetizers. Each contains approximately 51 calories and 1.5 grams fat.

Source: Becky Varner


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