Your cheat sheet to enjoying the festive season: The ultimate host edition

Great food, good company, celebratory bubbly, and even more temptations await us this festive season. For many, this seems like the ideal way to spend our well-deserved holiday, but for others who have changed their lives to reflect a healthier lifestyle, overindulgence comes with a lot of dread and anxiety. Whether that's you or your guests, too many sugary snacks, calorific beverages, greasy mains, and super-rich desserts can derail the progress you’ve made this year. So, the question you should be asking is, how can you cater for everyone's favourite treats without falling off the wagon completely. Let’s look at some clever ways to stay on track without missing out on all the things you and your guests love over the new years holiday. 

Substitute sugar in desserts with fruit For anyone on a health journey, sugar is one of the biggest culprits that can prevent you from reaching your goals. Yet, biting into something sweet at the end of the meal is something most of us look forward to. So, instead of depriving yourself, find a good compromise with fruit. Berries, pineapple, litchis, grapes, watermelon, and pawpaw are great sweet fruits to satisfy your cravings without piling on the kilos. Opt for a fruit bowl with optional ice cream on the side or pile a sugar-free cake high with fruit and skip the icing. 

Pick sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes In general, sweet potatoes are healthier than your regular potato. They are packed with vitamin A and C and have a lower carb index than white potatoes. The best part about sweet potatoes, much like regular potatoes, is their versatility. Boil them, roast them in the oven, chop them up and chuck them in the air fryer – there are so many ways you can enjoy them while sticking to your health goals. Just be mindful of your toppings. Ditch the cheese, sour cream, and butter, and serve them with a yoghurt dressing or dipping sauce instead. A little bit of garlic, salt, and pepper never hurt either. 

Infused waters are always a win Nothing is keeping you from swapping out boozy drinks for water. For starters, it will help you and your guests stay hydrated.. Consider adding ginger, cucumber, blueberries, raspberries, and gooseberries or any of your favourite seasonal fruit. Adding these is a great way to spruce up the taste. You can also add aloe concentrates or instant herbals teas and enjoy as a delicious drink. For a delicious pairing you can also opt for carbonated water. 

Grill instead of fry If you don’t have access to an air fryer, your best option is to grill your food. Get a braai going or use another dry heat source to cook those tasty morsels. Of course, fried foods are delicious and tend to be crispier, but grilling your food won’t absorb as much fat, making it a much healthier alternative. And as the food grills, all the fat from the meat or veggies drips off the food, leaving you with a leaner substitute. Just because you’re on a health journey doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself and your guests of enjoying the holiday season. By making small adjustments to how you usually prepare food and drinks, you can still slay your goals, stay healthy, and keep your guests satisfied too.