Healthy Party Treats for the Holidays

FYI: this post was almost titled “how to bring reasonably healthy food to a party without making everyone hate you.”
Because there are certain things that are simply NOT socially acceptable. Like when Chris Traeger brought the vegetable loaf instead of cake. #ParksAndRec
Look, if you’ve ever been a member of a church, military community, or book club; if you’ve ever had a job, an email address, or a dentist’s appointment; you’ve probably been invited (or e-vited) to a holiday party.
And if you’ve been invited to a holiday party, you’ve probably also been asked to bring something edible with you. And that something is likely NOT a vegetable loaf.
When I’m assigned an appetizer or a main dish, I’m always pretty relieved. Everyone loves a good charcuterie board, right?
But when I’m assigned a dessert…I feel frightened. Because despite my personal feelings on the matter, most folks don’t agree that meat is an appetizer, a main dish, AND a dessert.

So at dessert time, I’ve got to come up with something yummy. Something that’s not beef, bacon or butter. Something that’s preferably not a matrix of flour, white sugar, and Crisco. And something that I actually like eating. Because if you don’t eat your own dish, people will think you’re trying to poison them. (Pro tip.)
So here are the treats on my party menu this season. I highly recommend you just go with #1. These are ALWAYS a hit. Make extra.

#1: Bacon-wrapped dates.

Preferably stuffed with goat cheese.
These are super easy. Grab some pitted dates, stuff with a pecan or goat cheese, wrap in a half-strip of quality bacon, and secure with a wooden toothpick. Bake on a rack on top of a cookie sheet (so the drippings fall away and the bacon cooks evenly) at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, checking after 20.
You may want to play with timing, depending on how crispy you like your bacon.
If you don’t do goat cheese, I recommend stuffing the dates with something soft. Pecans are easily chewable. If you stuff them with tougher nuts, like almonds, folks might freak out that they’ve bit down on a pit. Nobody wants a broken tooth for Christmas.


#2: Roasted plantain with cinnamon

I think bananas are devil spawn, but I absolutely love plantains.
Choose the ones that are turning black and feel soft. Peel and slice, drizzle with coconut oil and cinnamon, and bake on parchment paper for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. (You can also steam them, but they’ll be a bit stickier.)
These are amazing dipped in sour cream or coconut whipped cream. People will go nuts for these. They will hoard them and squirrel away in the corner and the party will get weird. And that’s how you know you’re at a great party.


#3: Cappello’s gluten-free slice & bake cookies

So…the world of grain-free enjoyment just got a million times better.
Bill and Hayley of Primal Palate got together with the grain-free geniuses at Cappello’s and put together a delicious, convenient, delicious, did I mention delicious, screw-up-proof slice & bake cookie dough. If you can keep from eating it straight from the roll (I couldn’t) you will end up with some incredible, chewy-yet-biteable chocolate chip cookies.

You know that perfect balance between a nice, crisp cookie and a perfectly soft, melty, chewy center? These are it.
These are well worth the holiday investment.
Be sure to share your holiday yummy favorites in the comments!
Thanks for reading!

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3 Responses

  1. How long do those bacon dates last? I mean, things with bacon don’t usually last in any kitchen with sticky fingers, but do they keep, say if I wanted to make them the day before a party or are they best served right out of the oven? …The more I think about this, the more I am sensing the answer is anything with bacon must be enjoyed immediately. LOL

  2. Hi there, loved your post! I’m not a full on paleo, I just enjoy pretty much everything in terms of food, but do a seasonal local diet. I take a page out of a lot of different books. Anyway, here is a recipe that you could alter just a tiny bit to make it work for you. It includes some purple sugar for decoration which is just as edible as it looks- but you can easily skip that. Mostly, it’s just fruit and nuts all ground up and formed into balls. I brought my variation of these to my family party, but they all just ate my sugar cookies. Oh well, more for me! Thanks for your great tips.

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