Healthy Entertaining--The New Trend

Friday, November 20, 2015

During the holidays it can be hard to manage what we eat and how much we eat. The best way to keep control is to plan your own party. You can incorporate foods you can eat and that are healthy. You can avoid offering the wrong kind of sweets and you can make sure there are plenty of healthy choices of delicious foods and drinks offered in right-sized servings.

So where does one start when getting organized for a Healthy Lifestyle party?  First things first-- it all starts with the menu. It is key that you pre-plan the menu and the preparation of the food. There are many dishes that can be made ahead of your party day. By thinking through the foods and dishes you choose you can make sure they are healthy choices and that they can all be prepared in time for the first doorbell ring.

In choosing recipes for your menu, include items that are healthy, filling and can provide a balanced meal. Even if you set up your party more like a cocktail buffet, choose foods that allow people to “make a meal”.  It will help everyone feel satisfied and not over eat.

Make sure to keep it simple. Pick recipes that have no more than 10 ingredients and do not have complicated instructions. In fact, make sure you include tried and true dishes you already know how to make. Next make sure to plan out the cooking so you can prepare most items ahead of time, not just the day of your party. With desserts I have even been known to make them way ahead and freeze them so I can make sure to get all the cooking done in a manageable fashion.

Choose foods that are visually appealing. Picking colorful dishes can do this. Also think about visual variety so each dish does not end up looking the same. Then you can enhance overall visual appeal through the presentation of each dish, which can be as easy as adding parsley and cleaning the sides of the bowl or platter before serving so it doesn't look "messy" to the eye of your guests.

Right-size your portions. Think about foods that can be served up as individual servings which includes muffins, cookies, Bibb lettuce filled with a serving size of pasta or any variety of salads and grains; also easy is serving up dips with sliced vegetables in a rainbow of colors. These are all simple self-serve options that have been pre-served or cut into measured out portions.

Keep drink choices simple too. Get in the habit of always offering a low calorie, non-alcoholic choice, even mentioning it first. This can be as easy as sparkling water infused with cucumber or lemon. I have a lot of fresh mint in my garden so I often garnish sparkling or tab water with a sprig of it. It smells wonderful, adds a fresh hint of mint to the drink and looks so inviting. And you can’t beat how easy it is to do.

To complete your preparation for a Healthy Lifestyle party make sure to right size your dishes and glassware.  Your guests will thank you later. No one really wants to over eat. People do want to enjoy what they eat. Right-sizing your dishes and glasses allows them to do just that. Choose salad plates or dessert plates, not dinner plates if it is a buffet. If you have different sized wine glasses, choose the smallest size. There are also beautifully designed right-sized dishes and glasses now available if you need some upgrading for healthier lifestyle choices. Check out Livliga and learn more about elegant portion control dinnerware.

Remember a couple of finishing touches to add to the festive nature of your party. A bouquet of flowers in a strategic place for guests to enjoy is always a plus. You can even use fun fruits or vegetables from the grocery store to dress up a table and add some visual interest.  Think about music too. It can add to the mood and ambiance of your party. With the ease of online streaming music stations you can pipe music throughout your home with a click on your computer. Picking out some colorful paper napkins can add color and integrate the theme of your party. If you have time, you can even roll your flatware in the napkin, tie it with a coordinating ribbon and place the rolled napkins in a wide vase or bowl to make a beautiful centerpiece for the buffet.

Finally, incorporating a take away gift for people to enjoy is a memorable way to send them off at the end of your party. An assortment of cookies or muffins you have baked for your party menu placed in a small-decorated bakery box or cellophane bag with a bow is always a big hit. And since you chose healthier recipes you can feel great about the gift you’ve given. All you need to do is bake extra for the gifts and fill them ahead of time so they are ready to go before the party starts.

Now that you have everything planned and organized, remember that you should have fun too. By thinking through the menu and the preparation of all your party fixings, you can. There is no need for you to get overwhelmed, you can never go wrong with simple and colorful.

For other ideas about healthy entertaining go to the Livliga Live Vibrant blog or enjoy the Livliga YouTube video on entertaining.

Happy Healthy Entertaining! And don’t forget…Live Vibrant!

This blog was originally published on the dLife website. Since its inception in 2004, dLife has become the premiere platform to inform, inspire, and connect with millions of diabetes patients, consumers, and caregivers and in the process positively impact engagement and ultimately health outcome.

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