The holiday season is upon us, and if you’re like me, you are planning some fun gatherings with family and friends. I always like to have a yummy snack on the counter when guests arrive so they can nibble before dinner is ready. Another way I like to entertain during this season is hosting a brunch with fun things to eat or a cocktail party.

If you’re not sure of what to make this year, this website is full of wonderful recipes that can help you fit more dairy into your diet. Since everyone claims they tend to eat more around the holidays, remember these three simple tips to maintain your health during this time, as well as all year:

  • Eat on a fairly regular schedule. Planned meals and snacks are healthier than random ones.
  • Don’t skip meals, and be mindful of hunger cues and fullness. Slow down by putting your fork down and sipping water in between bites. Taking more time to eat can result in eating less!
  • Exercise at least 3-4 times a week, and keep moving. Consider adding a fitness bracelet to your holiday wish list. These devices can monitor your steps and movement each day, and help you stay motivated to get up and move every day.

Here are a few of my favorites that incorporate both heart-healthy lowfat dairy and fruits, nuts or veggies all into one delicious appetizer:

  • Nothing is easier or more elegant than a wheel of Brie.
  • Who doesn’t love their spinach in the form of a spinach artichoke dip?
  • It’s always nice to put out a platter of grab-and-eat snacks. Rather than having your guests just spread cheese onto a cracker, try individual bruschetta slices that incorporate black beans and a ripe tomato slice. Yum!
  • Add a platter of cut veggies to your spread. Munching on fresh, chilled raw veggies is a great and easy way to add more vegetables to your diet. Enjoy them with a side of dip.
  • No party would be complete without a sweet closer. Dairy foods are a wonderful base for so many delicious desserts. I’m planning on making a trifle for my son’s classroom “progressive dinner” they’re hosting this year.

Whichever foods you make, the key is enjoying them. Happy holidays!