EZ Healthy Holiday Centerpieces

With the holidays coming up fast, so is all the scrumptious and high calorie food that Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years has to offer. Why not put out a decorative, yet healthy, centerpiece on your dining room table or on the coffee table in the “TV” room for family members to enjoy?

Oranges and apples are particularly easy to grab as a quick snack between meals.  And all kinds of nuts provide tons of assorted vitamins that are great for our skin, hair and stamina.  Walnuts are rich in Omega-3 fat to promote heart health.  Overlooked Brazil nuts are packed with Vitamin E and selenium for healthier skin.  Popular almonds are chocked with Vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium.  Even hazelnuts are a good source of energy and are loaded with Vitamin E.

A couple apples or other fruit tossed in a plain bowl probably won’t grab your family’s eye.  But by putting healthy fruit and nuts in a festive bowl and adding a little creativity, you can encourage family members to grab a healthy treat instead of constantly nibbling on high calorie sugary foods or junk food.

The stars of these two centerpieces are Mandarin oranges, mixed nuts and apples.  Mandarin oranges, unlike regular oranges, are small and easy for both kids and adults to simply peel and eat — or grab on the fly.  These small oranges blend well with nuts and small apples.  They are also laden with Vitamin A to promote good eye health, Vitamin C for healthy skin and they add a boost to your immune system.

Why go through the hassle of cracking nuts?  Because folks won’t go crazy and eat an entire can or bag in one sitting.  It’s way too easy to grab a handful of shelled nuts, then another and another — but cracking nuts takes times and patience – it will slow your roll.  You’ll consume less of them at a slower pace, leaving you feeling quite satisfied.  Plus raw mixed nuts are natural – no added preservatives, no seasoning.

FALL AND THANKSGIVING CENTERPIECES:  Find a colorful fall bowl, add a bag of mixed nuts (shown:  walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts and hazelnuts).  Mix in some small Mandarin oranges.  Tuck a nutcracker or two inside the bowl or hang on the side.   Optional:  Intersperse with whole cinnamon sticks.

CHRISTMAS AND WINTER CENTERPIECE (SEE BOTTOM OF POST):  Use a bowl with fun or colorful Christmas or winter scenes (scenes with snowman, cardinals in winter, etc.).  Fill with an assortment of small apples, mandarin oranges, and mixed nuts.  Get creative – the Santas peeking out of the centerpiece are actually cake toppers.  A snowman peeking out of a bowl with a snowy image makes a great winter or holiday centerpiece.  Keep nutcrackers nearby.

DON’T just “plop” your centerpiece on the table.  Add an attention-grabbing colorful contrasting placemat under it or center it in the middle of a festive table runner.

EZ YEAR ROUND DECORATING TIP:  When you come across round or square placemats swimming in bling, such as sequins, rhinestones, glitter, etc., snap them up.  I keep an assortment of various colors and sizes to use throughout the year.  They will make ANY centerpiece instantly noticed.  Now is the best time of year to grab them – the BLING IS OUT!

This year, especially with so many families staying home, encourage some healthy snacking by turning a boring bowl of fruit into a festive centerpiece.


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