Christmas parties are great times to get together with family, friends, or coworkers and enjoy great food and company in a relaxed atmosphere. Temptations abound for those of us, trying to lose weight or eat healthier. So many great things are served to nibble on the whole night.

When you’re hosting or attending a pitch-in, there are many healthier Christmas party food options to serve. My Banana Bread and newly discovered Zucchini Carrot Bread are always popular at parties, but there are ways to make these even healthier.

In addition to the starters mentioned two days ago, salads, soups, and desserts are great party foods.

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Here are some great healthy Christmas party food ideas

Salads

Istanbul shepherd’s salad

From Jane Mitchell Mnich

– Diced tomatoes.
– Diced onions.
– Diced cucumbers.
– Chopped fresh parsley.
– Chopped fresh dill.
– Lemon juice, to taste.

Toss together and serve with toasted pita bread triangles.

Gingered winter fruit medley

From vegan holiday kitchen by Nava Atlas

– 2 pears, cored, seeded, and diced.
– 2 Granny Smith apples, cored, seeded, and diced.
– 2 small oranges, peeled and sectioned.
– 1 can (20 oz) unsweetened pineapple rings, drained.
– 1/2 cup dried cranberries.
– 1/4 cup crystallized ginger (to taste).
– 2 6 oz containers piña colada or vanilla non dairy yogurt.
– Ground cinnamon or freshly grated nutmeg .

Combine all the ingredients except the yogurt in a serving bowl and mix together. Serve in small dessert cups. Top serving with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkling of cinnamon or nutmeg.

Soups

Miracle soup

From lickety-split diabetic meals by Zonya Foco

– 6 cups water
– 4 cups low sodium vegetable juice
– 3 large onions
– 1 green bell pepper, seeded
– 6 celery stalks
– 10 carrots
– 2 cans (14.5 oz each) diced tomatoes, no salt added
– 4 cups cored and shredded cabbage
– ½ cup salsa
– ¼ tsp garlic powder
– ½ tsp Pepper
– ½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
– 1 tsp dried basil
– 1 tsp salt (optional)
– 2 tsp dried oregano
– 1 envelope dried onion or vegetable soup mix
– 5 dashes tabasco sauce (to taste)

Place water and vegetable juice in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Meanwhile, chop vegetables into bite size pieces. Toss vegetables and the remaining ingredients into the pot. Simmer until the vegetables are as done as you like. Serve hot off the stove with crackers or a sandwich and fruit.

The 'get fit' Christmas countdown (17) Christmas party food ideas that won't pack on the pounds2

Spicy taco soup

From http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=575786

– 1 large onion, chopped
– 1 tbs extra light olive oil
– 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
– 1 cup frozen corn
– 1 small can black olives sliced
– 2 cans rotel tomatoes with green chilies
– 1 can pinto beans
– 2 packs taco seasoning
– 2 1/2 cups of water
– 1 pack dry ranch dressing(optional)

Place olive oil and onions in large pot and cook on medium until onions are tender. Place ground beef in and cook until it is browned thoroughly. Strain meat mixture after cooking to remove grease (to remove extra fat from it, run under hot water).

Place meat mixture back in pot and add corn, olives tomatoes, water, taco seasoning (do not drain the beans). Let simmer for 25 minutes. Garnish with a little grated cheese or fat free sour cream. For Extra Flavor add a dry pack of ranch dressing.

Desserts

No flour peanut butter cookies

From http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=751937

– 1 cup sugar
– 1 cup natural peanut butter
– 1 large egg

Preheat oven to 375F. Mix all ingredients together. Scoop out the dough and roll it into one inch balls. Place on prepared cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Use a flat bottomed cup to somewhat flatten each dough ball out or press flat with a fork. Cook for exactly 9 minutes. Once removed from the oven, let the cookies cool for a few minutes before placing them on a cooling rack.

No bake honey peanut butter balls

From http://www.sugarfreemom.com/recipes/no-bake-honey-peanut-butter-balls-gluten-dairy-free/

– ½ cup honey
– ½ cup no sugar added creamy peanut butter
– 2 cups brown rice crispy cereal, crushed
– ½ cup salted peanuts, crushed
– optional coating: ½ cup chocolate sauce

In a bowl mix together honey, peanut butter and crushed cereal. Once incorporated well, roll in crushed peanuts to coat. Place balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper. Refrigerate balls for 30 minutes. Mix up chocolate sauce and refrigerate to thicken slightly, (about 15-20 minutes).

Dip one ball at a time into chocolate sauce, place on baking sheet; continue with the rest. Refrigerate balls for 10-15 minutes until chocolate is hardened. Drizzle with more chocolate sauce on top and chopped peanuts. Keep refrigerated.

Blissful brownies

From http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/blissful-brownies-52910.aspx

– 1 pkg. (4 oz.) unsweetened chocolate, melted
– ⅓ cup canola oil
– ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
– 1 tsp. vanilla
– 2 cups sugar
– 8 egg whites
– 1 cup flour
– ½ cup chopped Pecans

Heat oven to 350F. Line a 13×9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Spray with cooking spray. Mix first 4 ingredients in large bowl. Stir in sugar and egg whites. Add flour and nuts; mix well. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 25 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool completely. Use foil handles to lift brownies from pan before cutting to serve.

What is your favorite Soup or Salad to have at Christmas? What is the one dessert you have to have at Christmas no matter what?

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