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Running a Healthy Holiday Party

Some fun and festive ideas for holiday food that won't throw you off the nutrition track.

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Whether you’re hosting an open house, attending a potluck, stocking up at a cookie exchange or just looking for some holiday eats that won’t get you too far off the good nutrition track, here are some fun and festive ideas.

Take Two Truffles

As a welcome variation on cookies, we are partial to the cookie dough trend and truffles, which both tend to be bite-sized and include chocolate (of course!). When I came across Chocolate Covered Katie’s date and coconut balls, I couldn’t resist her suggestion to add more ingredients, so I concocted a holiday version with dried cranberries, shredded unsweetened coconut, chunky peanut butter and chocolate chips. They were particularly good after sitting in the fridge for a bit.

We’ve also been particularly impressed of late with the versatility of avocado (healthy fats!) in desserts like pudding and these truffles. It’s impossible to resist all of the chocolate treats this time of year, so why not share this healthier version?

Festive Fruit

Nature’s candy is a must for holiday gatherings and the multitude of creative holiday treats you can make with a few simple ingredients is a Pinterest girl’s dream. We were thrilled to find these Grinch Fruit Kabobs (pictured) at a party this weekend—and strawberries, banana and grapes taste great together (for those who don’t like marshmallows, we think chopped coconut would make a perfect topper for the Grinch’s hat). There’s also these Santas for those of you who can’t resist anything with whipped cream.

This Rubix Fruit Cube is a fun presentation for a salad of watermelon, kiwi and feta cheese. Just don’t get too attached, since once someone digs in, the puzzle falls apart.

Easy and Savory

Shrimp cocktail is a crowd pleaser, but these shrimp from Salt Pepper Skillet are easy to prep and will still taste good after sitting out on the buffet for a bit. Plus they are super pretty!

Another red-and-green dish for the buffet is this salad I made for Thanksgiving and was quite tasty (if I do say so!). Because kale is so hearty, it can easily sit for a long time with dressing—and leftovers even taste good the next day.

Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Pomegranate Seeds and Pistachios

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch kale, chopped into bite-size pieces
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. champagne vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. honey
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup shelled pistachios, toasted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the squash with a little oil, salt and pepper and put on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 20 to 30 minutes, until tender and browned a little (this can be done in advance). Put the kale in a bowl and scrunch it up with your hands for a bit to massage and soften it. Combine olive oil, vinegar and honey in a jar with some salt and pepper and shake until the honey is dissolved. Dress the kale and toss with roasted squash, pomegranate seeds and toasted pistachios.

Three-Ingredient No-Bake Cookies

This is the time of year you need a quick, easy and tasty recipe to share with co-workers, neighbors, friends and family. Rice crispy cereal is integral to both (Erewhon’s version is gluten-free, made from brown rice and organic).

Reindeer Poop

This recipe will easily scale up or down. This makes about a dozen cookies. You can also vary the dried fruit by using a combo of dried cranberries, blueberries, cherries or anything else you might imagine a reindeer would eat. (Trader Joe’s Golden Berry Blend works really well.)

1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup raisins or other dried fruit
1 cup rice crispy cereal

Melt chocolate for 60 to 90 seconds in the microwave. Stir to reduce lumps. Add raisins and cereal and mix well. Drop onto baking sheet. Don’t worry if they are falling apart a little. Put sheet in the fridge for at least an hour to solidify.

Grinch Crispies

1–1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
7 oz. (1 bag) butterscotch morsels
Green food coloring (optional)
6 cups rice crispy cereal

Use a double boiler to melt peanut butter and butterscotch together. Once melted, add food coloring if desired. Put cereal in a large bowl and pour mixture over the top. Mix until cereal is fully coated. Pour into baking dish and refrigerate for a couple of hours to set. Cut into squares and serve.

These Runners Were Not Prepared to Love Non-Alcoholic Beer

L. Renee Blount and Outside TV host Pat Parnell posted up at a popular trailhead, handed out free Athletic Brewing craft non-alcoholic beer, and then recorded runners’ live reactions. Want to find out what all the hype’s about? Click here to discover a world without compromise.


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