Healthy & Economical Hosting Tips

March 15, 2011

Hosting a dinner party? Why not make it a healthy one, which will also be easy on your pocketbook

Cooking at home? Hosting a dinner party, but want to give your guests a break from the norm, as well as something a little more healthy and fun? Here are some tips to keep your guests guessing and excited to eat at your house more often - while you’re simultaneously saving money and sticking to your healthy eating plan.

Typical dinner parties start off with appetizers, then several courses including dessert! Wow that can certainly add up on the calorie scale … not to mention drinks. Try using smaller plates because typically, the bigger the plate, the bigger the portion. On smaller plates larger portions are almost impossible, so let your guests go back for seconds if they are still hungry - this way, portion size is easily controlled … but no one has to know.

Serve healthy appetizers. Bean dips like hummus as well as low fat yogurt dip, or guacamole served with sliced vegetables and whole grain pita are great options to start the party.

Make your own salad dressing. All you need is a few fresh ingredients to avoid the possible sugar and salt laden pre-packaged ones. Even something as simple as a drizzle of extra virgin oil and aged vinegar over greens is sure to impress – especially if your salad is fresh. For the biggest flavor punch, make sure your salad veggies are seasonal and local!
Serve soup! Soups are an easy way to mix up the dinner party fare as well as pack your meal with veggies and fiber. Filling up on soup can help keep the calorie content (your guests will be full!) and cost (soup is a great inexpensive option) of the rest of the meal low.

Season well and make your foods colorful! Herbs and spices are packed with antioxidants, some even more so than produce. Combine the two for a colorful and truly tasty healthy dish.

Make it mostly vegetarian, but again similar to the smaller plates, nobody has to know! Focus on grains, legumes and veggies. This will help keep the overall cost of the meal down, lessen the environmental impact- especially if the majority of the other ingredients are sourced locally and sustainably- and may even be more heart healthy in the long run.

Last but not least … have dessert. Hosting a health conscious meal does not mean skipping dessert. Remember dark chocolate and mixed berries boast some of the highest antioxidant activity of all foods.

Go ahead, invite your friends over and host a healthy dinner party tonight!