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5 Healthy Options to Bring to a Holiday Pot Luck

A holiday pot luck can be a wonderful time to get together with friends and family and enjoy each other's culinary delights. However, if you're on a diet or you don't want to encourage overindulgence during the holiday season, you may be tempted by a number of unhealthy food items. Do your part to provide a healthy alternative by bringing any of the following:

1. Veggies in Holiday Colors and Hummus

Veggies and dip make a popular finger food at any holiday pot luck. You can make the dish a little more holiday-themed by using primarily veggies in holiday colors, such as red peppers, tomatoes, yellow peppers (for a "golden" color), green peppers, celery, cucumbers, zucchini and more. There are plenty of green veggies from which to choose.

Some veggies dips are more healthy than others. A lot of them are high in fat without much nutritional value, however. A dip like hummus has many nutrients, including vitamins, amino acids and minerals. It's also low in saturated fat.

2. Fruit Plate and Yogurt

Although fruit can be high in carbohydrates because it has a significant amount of natural sugar, it can also be beneficial to your health because it's rich in vitamins and minerals. Pairing the fruit with a plain, unsweetened yogurt for a dip can provide a substantial amount of calcium and beneficial bacteria that aids in digestion. Arranging cut-up fruit around a dish of dipping yogurt can make an excellent holiday pot luck appetizer or dessert.

3. Spiced Nuts

Another excellent holiday pot luck dessert or snack is spiced nuts. Nuts are high in protein and low in fat. Adding just a little spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or cardamom) and baking them in the oven can make them especially relevant to the holiday season. The healthiest nuts to bake for your holiday dish include walnuts, pecans, almonds, macadamia nuts and cashews.

4. Sweet Potato or Butternut Squash Mash

Mashed potatoes are a staple of the holiday potluck, but they're high in starch and not particularly nutritionally beneficial. Replace the typical potato with either mashed sweet potato or mashed butternut squash. Both have a number of nutritional benefits. Sweet potatoes are high in beta carotene, zinc, magnesium and a number of vitamins. Butternut squash is high in fiber, potassium and vitamin B6.

5. Healthier Green Bean Casserole

The green bean casserole is practically a staple of the holiday pot luck. However, despite the large amount of green beans, which are nutritious, the entire dish can be rather high in sodium and calories. The mushroom soup and fried onions are largely to blame. However, you can substitute fresh, chopped onions for the fried onions and get all of the nutritional benefits of onions without any of the drawbacks of fried food. You can also replace the mushroom soup with a low-sodium healthier alternative, such as cream of celery soup or even a soy-milk-based cream of mushroom soup.

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