5 tips for a healthy and happy holiday party

Posted at 10:49 AM, Dec 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-05 10:49:29-05

The holidays often mean spending time with loved ones, giving and receiving gifts and attending parties — lots of parties.

If you host a fête this season, ensure you and your guests have a good time with these five tips for a healthy and happy holiday party.

Offer water

Water has several benefits, not least of which is it is essential for your health. While you can offer festive refreshment, such as hot cider and nog, keep your table stocked with water, as well, so guests can sip tasty drinks without overdoing sugary or boozy offerings. In fact, because alcohol is a diuretic, if you offer water along with it, party goers can stay hydrated to enjoy the night and steer clear of unpleasant aftereffects the next day.

Be careful of food poisoning

About 48 million people get food poisoning every year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with salmonella causing the highest number of hospitalizations and deaths. Prevent poisoning by staying away from high risk foods, such as undercooked eggs and meat. Additionally, keep raw and cooked foods separate, and refrigerate foods properly, both before and throughout your party. If food that needs to be kept cold will be out for more than two hours, put it on ice, so it stays at a safe temperature of below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.



Encourage clean hands

All the hugging, hand shaking and food sharing means germs spread quickly, so wash your hands, and encourage others to do the same. Refill bathroom soap bottles, perhaps with soap in festive scents, such as peppermint or gingerbread. Additionally, spread hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the party, including at the beginning of a food line or on a snack table. The easier it is to grab a squirt of sanitizer, the more likely you are to throw a germ free party. Finally, ask sick invitees to stay home — thank them for keeping their germs to themselves by sending a plate of food home with a family member or dropping a party favor off later.

Eat healthy

The holidays tend to be filled with rich food and drinks. Give your guests a break by offering healthy foods that are also delicious. Create a tray with fresh vegetables in a variety of colors, which could include carrots, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, radishes and so on. Instead of baking rich desserts, cut up fresh fruit, often a treat in the middle of winter, and offer sweet dips on the side. If you want more than snacks at your party, ask friends for their favorite healthy holiday recipes, or search online for healthy and flavorful ideas.

Plan activities

Not only will games add an element of fun to your party, they will take the focus off eating. People in the United States weigh more after Christmas than they do before the holiday, according to information published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Additionally, while people may lose half that weight quickly, it takes them until at least summer (or longer) to lose the other half. As such, consider playing a dreidel game, doing a White Elephant gift exchange or, if you’re feeling adventurous, building snow sculptures outside.