While this is hardly the time of year to restrict your diet to raw veggies and healthy food for sex protein, that doesn’t mean you can’t make healthier choices during the holidays—even if it’s just to feel 100 percent totally and completely justified having a whopping slice of nosy Aunt Maeve’s sugar-shockingly scrumptious Southern pecan pie. Or BOLO for healthier options like crudités. Limit yourself to two or three bites or just skip the apps altogether and save room for the good stuff.
Even with hors d’oevres being served, it’s tempting to make dips for pre-holiday meal snacking. They can be made a day or two before the event and keep the fam happy and snacking if you get a little behind on the main event. Instead of popular choices like spinach-artichoke dip, opt for a healthier option. Veganaise for the mayo and nonfat plain Greek yogurt for the sour cream. Serve it up with veggie bites or baked pita chips.
Mixed nuts seem to show up everywhere around this time of year, but the cans you buy at the store have so much salt on them, you could use what’s left over on your fingers as a salt scrub for your lips. But Nat King Cole had a better idea. Of course, you don’t have to roast your chestnuts over an open fire anymore—an oven will do just fine. But no one would blame you if you wanted the fireplace atmosphere, anyway. There’s no shame in indulging in a little liquid holiday cheer, but if you’re going to make it out of this without feeling sluggish until New Year’s, consider opting for festive mocktails instead, especially if you tend to have several before the meal even begins.