by Anne Finch, Accredited Practising Dietitian for LiveLighter


We all love a gorgeous holiday spread. Here's some of our top tips for a nutritious spread with wow factor when you're hosting. 

1. Appetizers

Hummus four ways

Appetizers and nibblies are a great opportunity to get a rainbow on the table, with snacks that look and taste delicious! 

  • Make vegie, bean or yoghurt based dips – we’ve got some lovely recipes here that are way cheaper than ready-made
  • Add some colour to your trays. Add vegie sticks, olives and cherry tomatoes to your antipasto platters and cheeseboards
  • Bowls of fancy flavoured popcorn (scroll down to the 'variations' box for tasty flavour additions) are great to nibble on

 2. Drinks

Pineapple sparkler recipe

There’s a surprising number of kilojoules in alcoholic drinks. Just two bottles of cider has about the same number of kilojoules as a cheeseburger! Less alcohol = less kilojoules and a clearer head the next day.

  • Offer lower-alcohol options like light beer, reduced-alcohol wine/sparkling and punch with plenty of sparkling water and ice
  • Put bottles of water in the same esky as the alcoholic drinks – it’ll remind people to take a break and hydrate
  • Provide some fancy non-alcoholic drinks. We’ve got some beautiful ideas here, including the festive pineapple sparkler pictured above

More tips from our dietitian Ali on what to drink when you’re not drinking.

3. Salads

Walnut lentil salad

 I’m talking about big, bold, colourful and satisfying salads that will have people coming back for more.

  • Roast vegies are crazy good in salads. Use roast pumpkin, onion and zucchini tossed in your favourite spice mix, add some feta and baby spinach and boom. Terrific with roast beef!
  • Add some fruit. Currants are nice in a rice salad, green apple is great in a coleslaw and mango goes a treat in a salsa.
  • Dress(ing) it up. Swap half the mayo for yoghurt in a creamy dressing, and use less oil and more citrus in a vinaigrette. Remember to wait until the last minute to add the dressing to keep the vegies crisp

Click here for more tips on how to “hero” your vegies.

4. Sweets

Coconut mango chia pudding

Dessert is often the thing that pushes us over the edge into food coma territory. Try taking a good break (and even a gentle stroll!) before dessert to let your meal settle and improve your digestion. Try these tips for a lighter finish to the meal: 

  • Feature fruit. Cherries, mangoes, nectarines, melon and peaches are all at their best in summer! Make a lovely fruit platter, or feature these fruits in your dessert
  • Instead of double cream, use whipped cream, vanilla yoghurt or even ice cream for a lighter option
  • Portion control. Mini pies and small pieces of cake give people the option of having just a little taste
  • Looking for something refreshing, but not so traditional? Check out our lovely popsicles and sorbets

 Can’t get enough of our holiday hints? Check out our Healthier Holiday Hub

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