Many people enjoy celebrating New Year’s Eve by attending parties, but are concerned that traditional party foods will sidetrack their attempts to follow a healthy diet. The good news is that party foods can fit into your diet with the proper planning.
First, be sure to start you day out right by eating a healthy breakfast. Including healthy, well balanced meals and snacks throughout the day will make you less likely to overeat duirng your evening celebrations. Research shows that people who eat a nutritious breakfast tend to consume fewer calories throught the day. Remember to make at least half of your grains high fiber, whole-grains. Fiber is important because it will fill you up and satisfy your hunger without adding many calories to your diet.
Make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated during the day. Water makes up about 60-70% of our body weight and is a nutrient that plays a role in many essential bodily functions. Drinking water helps you to feel full and consume fewer calories. According to the Institute of Medicine, men need about 12 cups of fluids per day and women need 9 cups of fluids. These requirements vary based on many factors including: body size, activity level and climate. Alcohol is a natural diuretic, so if you plan to enjoy a cocktail during your New Year’s Eve celebration, be sure to increase your water intake during the day.
Speaking of alcohol, it contains empty calories that add up quickly and adds no nutritional value to your diet. In fact, the calories in a glass of champagne are equivalent to a cookie, a pint of beer contains as many calories as a slice of pizza, and a glass of wine is equal to a piece of cake. Be sure to consume alcohol in moderation, which means one alcoholic drink a day for women and 2 alcoholic drinks per day for men. Include sparkling water with a lime or water infused with fresh fruit in additional to alcoholic drinks.
When you are deciding which foods to eat at your New Year’s Eve party, fill half your plate with lower calorie appetizers, like fruits and vegetables. Keep your portions of higher calorie foods smaller. It is fine to indulge in unhealthy party foods as long as you do so in moderation and also include healthy options. If you are attending a party, make sure to bring a healthy dish to share, such as a fruit plate, vegetable crudité, hummus and pita bread, or spinach stuffed mushrooms.
Ring in the New Year with the healthy appetizer recipe below:
Rustic Pesto Tart
1 pound whole-wheat pizza dough
½ cup pesto
6 tablespoons dried cranberries
½ cup shredded fontina or Swiss cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Sprinkle work surface and dough with flour. Press dough out and roll, stretch or toss it into a 14-inch circle. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Spread pesto on the dough to within 1/8 inch of the edge. Sprinkle cranberries and cheese evenly over the pesto. Fold 1 to 1 1/2 inches of the border over the filling all the way around, leaving the center exposed.
3. Bake the tart until browned and bubbling, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes before cutting into 12 pieces.
Makes 12 appetizer servings
Tips & Notes
• Make Ahead Tip: Prepare up to 2 hours ahead; serve at room temperature.
• Tip: Look for whole-wheat pizza-dough balls at your supermarket. Check the ingredient list to make sure the dough doesn’t contain any hydrogenated oils.
Nutrition facts per serving:190 calories; 6 g fat (2 g saturated); 7 mg cholesterol; 29 g carbohydrates; 7 g protein; 3 g fiber; 409 mg sodium; 114 mg potassium.
Recipe Source: Eating Well