Entertaining does not need to be an excuse for unhealthy eating. There are many ways to bring wonderful, nutrient rich foods into you party – with a little planning, your next event can be the perfect opportunity to showcase your favorite delicious, healthy and crowd-friendly foods.
- Seasonal vegetables with hummus: Serve a combination of grilled, blanched and raw vegetables for color and variety. Make your own hummus or choose a favorite store-bought with clean ingredients for a quick cheat.
- Grilled shrimp with herbs
- Shot sized seasonal soup: chilled gazapacho is a great summer starter! This may sound a bit different than your typical apps but it is sure to please a crowd, it looks great and requires no utensils.
FOR THE MAIN EVENT:
- Jazz up your simple chicken dinner – try making chicken with a fruit salsa in the summer or top with a sauté of mushrooms. Roast or grill a whole chicken for an easy yet elegant meal.
- Pork tenderloin – always a crowd favorite. Pair with autumn vegetables and a rich balsamic glaze in the fall months or a light lemon herb grilled tenderloin in the summer
- Veggie burgers/Grilled Portobello/ Bun-less burgers – Ditch the staple burger for a fun and fresh twist. Try making your own veggie burger or grilled mushroom or offer your typical burger recipe in a lettuce wrap or on its own. You can easily shave off 150 calories by cutting out the bun and this allows the flavors in the burger a spotlight moment! Keep meat-based burgers to at least 90% lean and keep your patties around 4 ounces for portion control.
- Whole wheat pasta salad with light lemon or balsamic dressing – You definitely won’t miss the mayo – pasta salad with a light lemon and herb dressing is a light and delicious side. Toss in your favorite seasonal vegetables and a few nuts for crunch, you won’t miss the heavy pasta salads
- Quinoa salad – comb through your fresh 20 recipes; you have at least a few quinoa salads in the mix. They are so easy for entertaining since they can easily be made ahead.
- Seasonal vegetable salad – combine fresh and grilled or roasted seasonal vegetables for extra flavor or create a fun twist with seasonal fruit
LOW CALORIE MIXERS:
If consumed, alcohol should always be enjoyed in moderation. But, even if you are sticking with one drink, adding extra sugar, chemicals, artificial sweeteners and salt can all add up quickly. Stick with simple additions to keep your drink trim.
Trying to find a recipe for a low calorie mixer is challenging, and generally, if a mixer is low calorie, sugar has been replaced with artificial sweetener. Try instead using simple natural flavors; using low/no calorie natural flavors can provide lots of flavor without extra calories.
Try using some of these fresh items to add flavor, with minimal calories to your drinks:
- Citrus juice: lemon and lime are classic, but squeeze an orange or grapefruit segment into your drink for a new, tasty twist.
- Watermelon: Refreshing and full of flavor. Blend fresh, ripe watermelon with fresh lime juice or orange juice. Add a splash of sparkling water at the end, if desired.
- Muddled herbs & berries: No added sugar is needed if your berries are ripe. Simply muddle your favorite berries with mint or basil for a simple, sweet mixer.
- Ginger, lime and cucumber: Replace salty martini olives with this savory combination.
If you are accustomed to overly salty or sweet drinks, it may be an adjustment, but definitely a worthwhile one! Keep your alcoholic drinks fresh, light and clean and enjoy them in moderation, if at all.
Whether you are hosting or attending, stay focused to stay on track by following these steps:
- Arrive with a plan
- Don’t arrive hungry
- Drink water or herbal tea first and always alternate any alcoholic drinks with another glass of water
- If you are not hosting, offer to bring a healthy appetizer, vegetable side or dessert
- Fill one plate and avoid picking
- If you are hosting, offer to send guests home with food to avoid excess leftovers