Healthy Eats & Holiday Party Treats

Holiday Party Treats

By: Tara Rae Ohning (@beleisurely_bytararaeohning)

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to my Mom…complaining, once again, about how my fitness regimen is pretty consistent, but my healthy eating habits have been non-existent lately. I told her that I was going to get back on the “healthy eating train,” and as it was the first week of December, she said what most people say, “Now?! Why don’t you just wait until the holidays are over?”

I told her that although it would make my life a lot easier to overindulge in ALL the holiday goodies I was sure to be surrounded by, Christmas was only one day out of the thirty-one days in the month…and I shouldn’t use that one day as an excuse to eat an abundance of unhealthy food for the other thirty days. To further the point, after Christmas, we ring in New Years Eve with a plethora of parties and finger foods. Then, Valentine’s day hits our sweet tooth, and we fall in love all over again with those Reese’s peanut butter and chocolate hearts. Then shortly there after, we cruise into St. Patrick’s Day with its green goodies and hop into Easter with its many candied eggs…you get the point. If we really wanted to, we could always find a holiday to “start dieting after.”

With the holiday parties in full swing, I have made it a goal to eat healthier at said parties by consciously maintaining portion size, being deliberate about the food I am putting on my holiday themed paper plate, and walking away from the illustrious food table while resisting the urge to graze for hours. It sounds so easy…and it is, but it would be just as easy for me to fill my plate to maximum capacity and eat ten cookies while standing by the table talking to my friends. This year, I have managed to leave every party…not feeling overstuffed, but instead, feeling like I ate pretty healthy while still having some of the holiday treats I always look forward to.

So…in the spirit of healthy holiday eating, I have compiled a list of the healthier, and most popular, party treat options that you can enjoy guilt-free!

  • Deviled Egg (1/2 egg slice = 69 calories)
  • Vegetable Platters
    • 1 whole cucumber (30 calories)
    • 1 whole carrot (16 calories)
    • 1 celery stick (6.8 calories)
    • 1 grape tomato (1.4 calories)
  • Fruit Platters
    • 1 strawberry (5.8 calories)
    • 1 slice of pineapple (41 calories)
    • 1 red grape (3 calories)
    • 1 apple slice (57 calories)
    • 1 wedge of watermelon (86 calories)
  • Meatballs/Meat Platters
    • Turkey meatball (37 calories)/slice (54 Calories)
    • Beef meatball (45 calories)
    • Roast beef slice (11 calories)
    • 1 chicken breast (198 calories)
  • Guacamole (2 tbsp = 45 calories)
  • Aged cheeses (1 slice = 100-120 calories)
  • Shrimp cocktail (1 shrimp with cocktail sauce = 25 calories)
  • Olives (4.4 calories each)
  • Nutty snack mix (1/2 cup = 130 calories)
  • Hummus dip (1 tbsp = 25 calories) with pretzels (1 cup = 154 calories)
  • Spinach & artichoke dip (1 tbsp = 28 calories) served with pita chips (1 chip = 14 calories)
  • Cracked pepper potato chips (approx. 18 chips = 140 calories)
  • Bruschetta crostini (72 calories)
  • Salsa (2 tbsp = 10 calories) & tortilla chips (12 chips = 130 calories)
  • Dark chocolate candies (1 piece = 44 calories)

*Note: All calorie calculations were compiled through the Nutritionix website/app. This gem of a database is an incredible way to check the nutrition on the foods you are currently eating and an easy way to find healthy alternatives. Check it out!

And I would be amiss if I didn’t mention this incredibly scientific and innovative (*insert giggle here) Foodie Life Hack…the “One Hand Rule.” As it turns out, the average serving size is normally around one handful of whatever you are eating…so use your palm as the guide. If you grab a handful of chips, cheese squares, or grapes…let that be your limit on that item and move on!

Most importantly, as you savor your healthy holiday snacks…I hope that you find yourself surrounded by blessings galore, much laughter, good people, and great memories! Wherever you are in the world…Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

AND…If you are looking for a couple of great healthy recipes, check out Healthy Eats below written by fellow blogger and healthy food enthusiastic Amanda Angel (! Amanda knows how to put a healthy spin on just about any dish she prepares…below are her recipes for Butternut Squash Soup and Savory Brussels Sprouts!

Healthy Eats

By: Amanda Angel (

Every year around the holidays, folks like to start giving up on their efforts of healthy eating. I am here to say that no sacrifice has to be made. Let’s make a couple of easy, mindful, and delicious swap-outs, and enjoy Christmas more than ever, guilt-free, this year.


My butternut squash soup is an excellent dish for entertaining a large group or a small family gathering. When entertaining, offer a variety of toppings for guests to jazz up their soups! Eating with the seasons offers immune-boosting benefits, so this recipe incorporates all the immunity rock stars…butternut and acorn squash, sweet potato, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, herbs, and bone broth.

Amanda Angel Collab 1


  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 med-large sweet potato
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • ½ large yellow onion
  • 1-2” fresh ginger
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt (Celtic or Himalayan preferably)
  • Pepper (freshly ground black)
  • Herbs (fresh rosemary, thyme, sage, any or all)
  • 1 pint bone broth (fresh or homemade)
  • 1 can organic unsweetened coconut milk
  • Toppings


  • Instant-pot: Cut butternut squash vertically and scoop out the seeds.
  • Drizzle with S & P and evoo.
  • Add 1 cup water to bottom of instant-pot and steam on manual for 22 mins.
  • Steam an additional 5 mins, release steam, remove, cool, and scoop flesh into blender.
  • Add 1 cup water to bottom of instant-pot and steam on manual for 22 mins.
  • Steam an additional 5 mins, release steam, remove, cool, and scoop flesh into blender.

Baking Sheet:

  • Cut one acorn squash and one sweet potato (peel if desired) into big chunks.
  • Coat in salt and freshly ground black pepper and olive oil, spread on roasting pan.
  • Roast on 450 for 15 mins, until fork tender.
  • Scoop flesh from acorn squash skin, add that and sweet potatoes to blender when slightly cooled.


  • Create a soup base in a sauté pan, starting with ½ onion chopped, 3 large heads garlic grated, and 1-2 inches fresh ginger root grated.
  • Saute in evoo with salt and freshly ground pepper until the onions have a touch of color on them.
  • Add in fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, and/or sage.
  • Add 1 pint high quality bone broth (beef, lamb, chicken, or vegetable if you want to keep it vegan), and 1 can unsweetened coconut milk, a little bit at a time to the squashes in the blender.
  • Blend, adding the liquid as needed to reach the best consistency.
  • Note: I like mine to remain thick yet still able to pour.

To Serve: Ladle into bowls. Have some toppings ready for each person to add such as: crumbled bacon, sour cream, goat cheese, scallions, freshly grated Parmesan, toasted pumpkin seeds, etc.


  • You will really want to salt at each stage of this recipe. The natural sweetness of the squashes will respond well to more salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Lots of good quality olive oil in every stage will take it to the next level as well.
  • If you don’t have an Instant-pot, you can roast your butternut squash in the oven. Cut and season same as described above, but cover with foil and roast in the oven at 400 for 30 minutes, uncovered for another 10.
  • If you have a submersion blender (yay for you!), you can totally just put all the ingredients into a good soup pot and submersion blend everything to desired texture instead of the stand up blender.


Brussels sprouts makes an impressive and satisfying side dish.  Honestly, people rave over and beg for my Brussels sprouts, so I hope that you will wow your family with this healthy and delicious veggie side dish as well!

Amanda Angel Collab 3

  • 1 lb of FRESH Brussels sprouts (rinse, cut off stem, and cut in half)
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, grated
  • 1/3 cup EVOO
  • S&P – (don’t be afraid to go bold on the salt & freshly ground pepper)
  • 1 TBSP freshly chopped rosemary
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup red wine (to reconstitute cranberries, more for sipping)
  • Balsamic glaze
  • Toss Brussels, garlic, S&P, EVOO, and rosemary all together in a big bowl to coat well.  Spread in a BIG sheet pan.
  • Space and heat are KEY.Crank up your oven to High Broil.Pop those bad boys in for 7 minutes, then give them a shimmy-shake.
  • Then, they will need another 4-7 minutes.
  • Wait for them to get a good amount of color on them and even start looking crispy and brown in some spots.


  • Warm up the cranberries and wine on the stove until just simmering, then turn off heat.
  • Pour off excess wine.
To Serve: Toss the reconstituted cranberries in with the Brussels, pile into a serving bowl, and drizzle with a good balsamic glaze.
*You can also toss your Brussels sprouts with chopped bacon, Parmesan cheese, goat cheese, or toasted chopped pecans!

Amanda Angel Collab 2

In this photo, I am serving my Brussels sprouts along side a delicious piece of homemade meatloaf and grilled baby portabello mushrooms.  This meal is dairy-free, Paleo, and Keto friendly!

Happy Holidays & Healthy Eating!

Collaboration By: Tara Rae Ohning (@beleisurely_bytararaeohning) & Amanda Angel (

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