How to Host a Healthy Dinner Party Guests Will Love
As people become more and more aware of wellness issues, you find that your family and friends start to bring their health and wellbeing concerns into your daily life. According to Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD, YouBeauty’s Nutrition Expert and a member of our Scientific Advisory Board, ‘In the past, when I invited new people to my home for dinner, I typically got the following reaction: “Sounds like fun—but is all the food going to be healthy?” Lately, however, I’ve noticed that people appear to be more concerned about their health and what foods they choose to put into their mouths. So much so that people are actually excited and intrigued to find out what healthy foods I will serve.’ So then, how can you provide healthy food at your next dinner party and still have your guests come back again?
1. Make it fun: At the end of the day, you’ve invited people round to spend time together and enjoy each other’s company, so instead of worrying whether or not people will like the healthy dishes, why not celebrate the good food, and even incorporate it into the fun of the evening. Kirkpatrick details, ‘I’ve put recipes and full nutritional information under every guest’s plate at dinner parties printed on beautiful stationary and people love it.’
2. Downsize your plates: Big plates mean big portions, which can be overkill at a dinner party in which you serve more than one course. ‘I serve appetizers on very small plates and main dishes on larger salad plates,’ Kirkpatrick says. ‘It’s not about policing how much food your guests take; it’s more about increasing awareness of portion size.’
3. Have healthy appetisers: Your average appetiser is often unhealthy as well as so filling that you don’t enjoy your main meal. Instead of putting out a big bowl of crisps and creamy dips, or cheese and crackers, why not try healthy bean, hummus or non-fat yoghurt dips served with vegetables, roasted nuts and grapes or apple slices?
4. Forgo family-style: While buffets make it easier for everyone involved – and there’s a nice community feel too – family-style dining makes it all-too easy for food to be eaten at once, with no regard to portion sizes and calories. It’s far better to pace your courses throughout the evening, both in terms of healthy eating and having a relaxed, enjoyable meal. ‘Allow adequate time for your guests to enjoy all of the food offerings,’ Kirkpatrick advises. ‘Start with appetizers and wine for at least one hour. Once your guests are seated, serve subsequent courses, allowing at least 25 minutes between each course. Taking the approach to stagger food will give you time to breathe as the host/hostess, but it also will give you time to digest so you know when you are full, not stuffed.’
5. Don’t take the “health” out of salads: A healthy salad is so easily ruined with pre-made bottled dressings that are loaded with sugar and saturated fat. Instead, try making your own with fresh ingredients, or else serve soup for an easy way to pack extra veggies into your dishes. Kirkpatrick notes, ‘I always notice that people are very impressed with a soup alternative since it isn’t something you see often at a dinner party.’
6. Stock up on seasonings: You can often make the mistake of associating the word “healthy” with “bland.” However, food can taste good AND be good for you too. For a major flavour punch, crack out the citrus zest, toasted spices and the classic garlic and onions.