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The holidays are a time of indulgence but they can also be a time of reflection and self-care where intentions are set to lay the foundation for a vibrant and dynamic new year. After too many weeks of rich food, imbibing, and late nights, there’s nothing better than dialing back the debauchery in order to keep that promise you made to yourself to make the year ahead an epic one.

Whether you’ve decided to party into the wee hours as the clock ticks down to 2019 or plan to duck out early for a good night’s sleep, marking the new year with a healthy lunch is a way to restore balance following an indulgent month, reminding your mind, spirit, and body that it actually likes healthy eating, calm moments, and libations that don’t include alcohol.

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Here’s a plan to help you execute a spa lunch that’s as restorative as it is healthful.

  1. Encourage your guests to wear comfy clothes that encourage relaxation and are easy to move around in.
  2. Keep your color palette light and energizing.
  3. Prepare a music playlist that includes songs that are easy to listen to but also lively enough to keep the energy level up.
  4. Clean and prepare your service ware and linens the evening before the event. If you’re using cloth napkins, roll them up and tie them with a decorative ribbon along with a flower, eucalyptus sprig, or tiny pine bough.
  5. Arrange flowers in vases throughout the space or opt for pots of fresh herbs.
  6. Select candles that have invigorating aromas, light them just before your guests arrive.
  7. Serve non-alcoholic drinks to align with the spa theme. Omitting alcohol from a beverage does not mean it can’t still be interesting. Spritzers that combine sparkling water and freshly squeezed juices garnished with edible flowers or herbs are both colorful and refreshing. Keep your juice selection interesting by swapping the usual orange or pineapple juices for pomegranate, hibiscus, or blackberry.
  8. Serve ice water that has been infused for at least 12 hours with herbs such as basil or lemongrass or citrus such as kumquats or limes. Keep the botanicals in the water during service for a pop of color.
  9. Set up a tea station offering herbal teas.
  10. Fill small, decorative bowls with a variety of nuts, seeds, and berries. Arrange them throughout your serving table.
  11. Skip greasy, heavy, or bready items and opt for light and healthy soups sans cream, smoked salmon, fresh vegetable pickles, salads packed with flavor and nutrition, lettuce wraps, and fresh fruit for dessert.  
  12. If you have a fireplace, be sure to light a fire before your guests arrive. Top your logs with eucalyptus branches to fill the room with a restorative aroma.
  13. Send your guests home with a gift to remind them of their commitment to filling the year ahead with mindful action. Ideas include a box of energy balls, an invigorating tincture, or a pretty journal where they can document their intentions for the year ahead.

Oatmeal Protein Energy Balls

The Healthy Maven

This easy no-bake energy ball recipe is as tasty as it is healthy. Prepare them to serve in a bowl at your spa lunch or pack them up to send home with your guests as a parting gift. For an extra dose of nutrition, add a tablespoon of flax seeds or finely chopped pumpkin seeds. Get the Oatmeal Protein Energy Balls recipe

Quick Pickled Vegetables

Feasting at Home

Quick pickled vegetables are fantastic for a spa lunch for myriad reasons: They’re colorful, invigorating, and can be prepared ahead of time. Serve them right in the jars arranged throughout your spa spread for splashes of color; make extra jars to send home with your guests if you’re so inclined. Get the Quick Pickled Vegetables recipe

Chilled Cucumber, Avocado, and Mint Soup

The Feed Feed

There are so many things to love about this soup recipe. Let’s start with the way the avocado and yogurt makes it creamy without the cream. The cucumber’s detoxing power aligns so well with a spa lunch and the mint infuses the soup with an energizing flavor. Get the Chilled Cucumber, Avocado, and Mint Soup recipe

Thai Chicken Peanut Lettuce Wraps

Skinny Taste

These lettuce wraps feel filling and substantial without weighing you down. The ginger is excellent for detoxing and the Sriracha adds a hint of heat. Swap the chicken for firm tofu for a vegetarian option and feel free to substitute the peanut butter for your nut butter of choice. Don’t forget to serve with a bowl of limes alongside. Get the Thai Chicken Peanut Lettuce Wraps recipe

Classic Green Juice

With Food and Love

This juice recipe is loaded with healthful ingredients that are as detoxing as they are invigorating. Blend the juice right before your guests arrive so it’s at its freshest and most flavorful and vibrant. Get the Classic Green Juice recipe

Three-Ingredient Honey Berry Sorbet

Sweet and Savory By Shinee

You can’t go wrong with a colorful dessert that includes only three ingredients but tastes so much more substantial and satisfying. The honey sweetens the berries and the lemon adds an lively zing. The sorbet is made ahead of time so requires nothing but serving on the day of your spa lunch. Get the Three-Ingredient Honey Berry Sorbet recipe.

Related Video: How to Make a Citrus Sunrise Smoothie

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Jody Eddy is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan. She has cooked at Jean Georges, The Fat Duck, and Tabla and is the former editor of Art Culinaire Magazine. Her most recent cookbook was "Cuba! Recipes and Stories From a Cuban Kitchen", published by Ten Speed Press. Her cookbook "North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland" was published by Ten Speed Press in 2014 and won the 2015 IACP Judge's Choice Award. She is the author of the James Beard nominated cookbook "Come In, We're Closed: An Invitation to Staff Meals at the World's Best Restaurants" and her upcoming book for Ten Speed, "The Hygge Life", will be published in November, 2017. She is writing a cookbook for W.W. Norton profiling the cuisine and food traditions of monasteries, temples, mosques and synagogues around the world which will be published in 2019 and a cookbook with the Food Network chef Maneet Chauhan profiling the cuisine of India via an epic train journey throughout the country. She writes for Travel+Leisure, Saveur, Food & Wine, The Wall Street Journal, Plate, and VICE, among others. She is the author of JodyEddy.com, leads culinary trend tours for food and beverage corporations in Iceland, Peru, Mexico, Ireland and Cuba and is the Vice President of Marketing, Partnerships and Events at Hop Springs, an 85 acre agritourism destination opening in Nashville in May, 2018.
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