You have to pick your battles.

You can enjoy your sister’s peanut brittle on Christmas Eve. You can enjoy a big Christmas brunch with biscuits, gravy and fresh blueberry scones. (Where your mother-in-law gets those amazing fresh blueberries in December you will never know!)

To do this you must say no to the candy sitting on the reception desk, readily available all year but made “special” with green and red foil wrappers. You have to pass up the stale chocolate cookies someone picked up at the supermarket on the way in so they wouldn’t show up empty handed for the office potluck.

Like a mom eating the cold French fries her 5 year old left behind (after he’s run off to play in the ball pit), you find yourself eating unappetizing food at the office holiday potluck because it’s there and it’s free. Most of it doesn’t taste good but you reason with yourself it is a better option than the drive-up and requires less effort. Plus you want to be part of the fun. Honestly, sometimes it’s you with the stale cookies because you ran out of time. (It’s ok. We’ve all done it).

This year it will be different. You’ll set your intention to eat a balanced plate and you’ll be guaranteed to succeed because you brought a little something healthy to share. With a quick trip to the grocery store (or if you’re lucky to live near a Hy-Vee that delivers with a few clicks on the keyboard) you can whip up something so inviting that no one will have a clue it’s good for them. You can create a healthy holiday potluck dish in less than 30 minutes.

Dates and Pistachios

Dates are nature’s candy. Naturally high in potassium and fiber they are also the perfect way to satisfy a sweet tooth. Pistachios are also high in fiber plus anti-oxidants and healthy fats. Buy them in the shell so you’ll make sure to slow down and savor each bite. Put them in two festive holiday dishes (or plain glass bowls, no need to go crazy) and you have the perfect party food.

Smoky White Bean Puree from Healthy Helper Blog
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Smoky White Bean Puree

Smoky White Been Puree

Who doesn’t love bean dip? This smoky white bean puree recipe from Kaila at Healthy Helper is easy to whip up with things you might already have hanging out in the pantry. The fiber rich protein dip is a great alternative for those on hummus burnout. Buy a small veggie tray on the way to the office and set the dip beside it. Someone else in the office wills surely bring chips…

Picnic Caviar

This recipe from Vegetarian Times is the perfect alternative to the ever-present 7-layer dip. You can make it the day before to let the flavors meld overnight. Blue corn tortilla chips (baked if possible) go great with it but if you can enjoy it over greens for lunch.

Crockpot Vegetarian Chili

If you need something more substantial, this vegetarian crock-pot chili from Kellog’s is the easiest comfort food classic I know. Every thing goes into the slow cooker and cooks for 4 hours. Perfect timing for when everyone starts invading the break room for lunch. Hint: use ¼ cup of quinoa in place of the AllBran.

Protein Nut Butter and Fruit

DIY Protein Nut Butters
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photo courtesy of Vega

Making your own nut butter is a lot easier than you think. You’ll really impress your friends with one of the protein nut butter recipes from Vega. Put the peanut mocha butter in a fancy jar and everyone will be asking you where you got it so they can buy more to share at their next holiday party. Pair it or the chai walnut butter with slices of apples and pears or unsweetened dried banana or plantain chips.
They don’t have to know it’s healthy. In fact, it’s better if you never utter the H-word. I promise I won’t tell. Just call it delicious and that is all they will care about.

What’s your go to healthy holiday potluck dish? Got a favorite easy button when there is NO time to cook?

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