Host the Perfect Healthy  (Diabetes-Friendly) New Year’s Day Brunch Party!

–By Howard Rosenthal

Most people vow to adopt healthier habits in the new year. For many that includes eating a healthier diet. Even if you rang in the new year with too much champagne and celebration, you can turn over a new leaf starting on day one of 2019. But why do it all alone? Instead, call up your friends and host a healthy New Year’s Day brunch party to start the year off right.

Because everyone you know is likely planning to improve their diet right around this time, you’ll have no shortage of guests. With your help, your friends can head into 2019 with a fun, delicious, and healthy feast.

Keep in mind that diet is one of the biggest factors that affects our health. With 30 million Americans suffering from diabetes, it’s crucial to start choosing foods that promote wellness without sacrificing the flavor.

Ready to start planning your healthy New Year’s Day bruncheon? Here are some tips to get you started.

Set the mood with a fun playlist. Turn on some music you love to create a relaxed and inviting atmosphere that won’t overpower the conversation. Some good options include jazz, blues, or folk music.

Choose a simple and festive centerpiece. Save your sanity by keeping the décor minimal. All you need is a beautiful tablecloth and centerpiece placed on your dining room table. Budding flowers work great, and so do candles or even a beautiful winter arrangement of pinecones and greenery.

Keep your menu simple and healthy. After staying up late ringing in the new year, you’ll be so glad you kept your brunch menu simple. Provide a few savory options, a sweet option, and some fresh vegetables, and you’ll have something for everyone.

Offer a tasty mocktail bar. You’ll never miss the champagne or spirits with a fizzy and delicious mocktail flavored with fresh fruit. Set out champagne flutes and pitchers of cooled sparkling water alongside sliced winter fruits like kiwi, oranges, apples, and pomegranate seeds. Your guests will enjoy sipping their tasty concoctions.

Set up a coffee station. Set out assorted mugs and brew a large carafe of coffee and offer a sugar-free sweetener for those who must limit their sugar intake. (Be sure to also offer hot water and teabags for tea lovers.)

Serve everything “buffet” style. Don’t worry about making place settings and name cards. Keep your brunch informal by stacking plates, cutlery, and napkins on a sideboard or buffet table, and setting out dishes of food. This way guests can serve themselves and sit wherever they’d like.

End the brunch with an afternoon group walk. After everyone has eaten, invite the group out for a brisk midday walk. Bundle up in coats and scarves and take the party outdoors for a hike. This gets everyone’s heart rates up and is a great way to kickstart the year with some gentle exercise.

Having social support is an important part of achieving your goals. Hosting a new year’s brunch party is a fun way to start out the year, but it also sets the stage to help everyone stick to their health-related resolutions. Brunch is just the beginning of your healthier, happier 2019.

# # #

A New Year’s Day Brunch Menu from the Mr. Food Test Kitchen
Excerpted from Mr. Food Test Kitchen’s Guilt-Free Comfort Favorites 
(American Diabetes Association, September 2018, ISBN: 978-1-580-40690-1, $22.95)

Crustless Spinach Quiche


Serves: 8, 1 wedge per serving
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes

1 (9-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and
squeezed dry
1 cup shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese
1 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese
1-½ cups fat-free milk
4 eggs
½ cup reduced-fat biscuit baking mix
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray. Evenly spread spinach and cheeses in bottom of pie plate.

In a blender, place remaining ingredients; blend on high 1 minute or until smooth. Pour mixture evenly into pie plate.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until golden and a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes, then cut into 8 wedges and serve.

Good for You!
Adding spinach to this adds a ton of fiber, which can help control your blood glucose and keeps you feeling full longer.

½ Carbohydrate, 2 Lean Protein, ½ Fat

Nutrition Information 
Calories 150
Calories from Fat 50
Total Fat 6.0 g
Saturated Fat 2.2 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 105 mg
Sodium 390 mg
Potassium 220 mg
Total Carbohydrate 10 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Sugars 3 g
Protein 15 g
Phosphorus 305 mg

Pumpkin Patch Oatmeal Bake


Serves: 5, ½ cup per serving
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

1-½ cups old-fashioned oats
Brown sugar substitute equal to 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup fat-free milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup pure pumpkin
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 1-1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine oats, brown sugar substitute, pumpkin pie spice, and baking powder.

In a medium bowl, combine milk, vanilla, pumpkin, and egg. Add pumpkin mixture to oat mixture; stir well. Pour into baking dish.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until heated through and top is set. Serve piping hot.

Going Gluten-Free
To make this recipe gluten-free, simply use gluten-free oats instead of traditional ones. Also, make sure to check the nutrition labels of your other ingredients, to confirm that they are also gluten-free. Then, dig in!

1-½ Starch, ½ Fat

Nutrition Information
Calories 150
Calories from Fat 20
Total Fat 2.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.7 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 40 mg
Sodium 110 mg
Potassium 260 mg
Total Carbohydrate 25 g
Dietary Fiber 4 g
Sugars 5 g
Protein 7 g
Phosphorus 275 mg

Quinoa Greek Salad


Serves: 4, 1-½ cups per serving
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

5 cups coarsely chopped romaine lettuce
½ cup quinoa, cooked according to package directions, cooled
1 small cucumber, cut into ½-inch chunks
1 tomato, cut into ½-inch chunks
½ cup (½-inch chunks) red onion
¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives, drained

Greek Dressing
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ cup reduced-fat feta cheese crumbles

In a large bowl, combine lettuce, cooked quinoa, cucumber, tomato, onion, and olives.

In a small bowl, whisk Greek dressing ingredients. Pour over salad, toss until evenly coated, and sprinkle with feta cheese.

Did You Know?
Although it looks like a grain, quinoa is actually a seed. And since it contains all nine essential amino acids, it’s considered a complete protein, which is great news for anyone who is a vegetarian.

1 Starch, 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable, 2 Fat

Nutrition Information
Calories 210
Calories from Fat 110
Total Fat 12.0 g
Saturated Fat 2.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 12 mg
Sodium 250 mg
Potassium 460 mg
Total Carbohydrate 23 g
Dietary Fiber 4 g
Sugars 5 g
Protein 6 g
Phosphorus 180 mg

# # #

About the Mr. Food Test Kitchen: 
The team at Mr. Food Test Kitchen proudly presents Mr. Food Test Kitchen’s Guilt-Free Comfort Favorites (American Diabetes Association, September 2018, ISBN: 978-1-580-40690-1, $22.95). Celebrating more than 40 years of helping America get dinner on the table, the Mr. Food Test Kitchen produces a daily nationally syndicated television segment with an audience of more than four million. Beyond that, you can find their quick & easy recipes on and The Mr. Food Test Kitchen has published more than 60 best-selling cookbooks, including five with the American Diabetes Association. Recently their licensing division has partnered with several national companies to create an extensive line of Mr. Food Test Kitchen-branded kitchen products. For more information, please visit

About the Book: 
Mr. Food Test Kitchen’s Guilt-Free Comfort Favorites (American Diabetes Association, September 2018, ISBN: 978-1-580-40690-1, $22.95) is available at bookstores nationwide and from major online booksellers.


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