Megan Callahan, MS, RD, LD
Hy-Vee Registered Dietitian

December 26, 2020

Many people have struggled with maintaining healthy habits throughout this tumultuous year. With 2021 approaching, the New Year is a new time to focus on improving lifestyle habits, nutrition included. Instead of viewing New Year’s Eve as gorging through a “last hurrah,” view it as an opportunity to start on the right path toward better habits.

Mindful eating is one of the best ways to start improving eating habits. By focusing attention on aspects of eating such as taste, texture, aroma and even speed, it is possible to get more enjoyment out of lesser amounts of food. Mindful eating at any social gathering – whether small, large or even virtual – can be challenging. The following tips can help guide mindful decisions and keep eating habits in check.

• Eat normally throughout the day. Some people under-eat throughout the day, thinking this allows room to consume extra calories at the party. This strategy can backfire, resulting in overeating and unpleasant symptoms such as fatigue and indigestion.
• Survey the spread. Before grabbing food, look at all of the offerings, and then plan your plate. Fill half of the plate with veggies, fill the remaining half with a few of the items that look most appealing, and leave the rest.
• Take small bites. Chew slowly. Concentrate on the food’s smell, taste, texture, etc. Often at parties we are distracted by things around us, and fail to be attentive to our food. Take a few moments to truly enjoy the food being eaten. Savoring food often results in eating less.
• Limit alcohol. Alcohol lowers inhibitions, making overeating more likely. Pace drinks, and alternate with water. Drink with food in your stomach, which slows the absorption of the alcohol.
• Choose for pleasure and nutrition. The two do not have to be mutually exclusive. Incorporating a variety of produce, color and food groups into the diet makes eating more palatable and nutritious.

Wanting an easy party app that is packed with nutrition and amazingly tasty? Try this recipe for Seafood Margaritas from Seafood is a lean source of protein, and the variety of colorful produce adds an additional punch of nutrition. The citrus and vinegar add amazing flavor that makes this party app a nutritious crowd pleaser.

Seafood Margaritas
Serves 6

All You Need:
1 lb fresh or frozen medium shrimp in shells, remove tails if desired
1 cup orange juice
1 cup dry white wine
1 tsp kosher salt, plus additional as needed
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
3 cups chopped, peeled and seeded mangoes (3 medium), divided
Pinch salt
Water, as needed
2 cups baby salad greens
1 (15 oz) can mandarin oranges, drained
¼ cup finely sliced shallots (2 medium)
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
6 radicchio leaves, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish
Tortilla chips, for serving

All you do:

  1. Thaw shrimp if frozen. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact if desired. Rinse shrimp and pat dry with paper towels; set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, combine orange juice, wine and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Add shrimp and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes or until shrimp are opaque. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a shallow dish. Chill for 10 minutes. Discard remaining liquid in skillet.
  3. For mango dressing, in a blender combine oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, 1/3 cup mango and pinch of salt. Cover and blend until smooth. If needed, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to achieve desired consistency.
  4. In a large bowl, toss together remaining 2 2/3 cups mango, salad greens, mandarin oranges, shallots, cilantro and 1/3 cup dressing. Toss to coat.
  5. To serve, divide salad among six 6-oz glasses or bowls; top with remaining dressing. If desired, garnish with radicchio leaves and lime wedges. Serve salads with tortilla chips.

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.