When you throw a party, barbecue, shindig or hootenanny, it may be tinged with a bit of guilt. Sometimes the food and drinks are high in calories, cholesterol and just plain unhealthy. However, without great food and drinks, a shindig isn’t a shindig. But wait! In this day and age, you can have your cake and eat it too. There are plenty of great foods that are festive and healthy. If you need some inspiration, consider the following party ideas.
Sure, wings and potato chips taste great, but you’ll pay for the indulgence later. Instead, think natural foods, like veggies with Greek yogurt onion dip. This dip pairs nicely with peas, carrots and radishes.
Another healthy party snack is bruschetta. Slice some Italian bread and add a mixture of sliced tomato, olive oil, garlic and basil on top. The tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that helps prevent cancer and heart disease. Organic cold pressed Olive oil has healthy fatty acids that help your body absorb nutrients.
Go for a classic appetizer, like chips and salsa, but make it healthier. If you make your own salsa, you cut out all the preservatives and chemically-laden additives that are added to the jarred stuff. Chop up some tomatoes, onions, cilantro and garlic cloves for a delicious dip that goes great with chips. Look for healthy chips that are made with organic olive oil, coconut oil, or other healthy oils and that cuts down on sodium and fats.
While you may not want to plan out a four-course meal, main dishes are important. Salmon both tastes amazing when prepared with lemon and a glaze of blue cheese dressing (much of the fat will cook away while on the barbecue) and is undeniably healthy. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon helps your body regulate insulin levels, which controls your blood sugar. Furthermore, the same omega-3 acids help your arteries maintain flexibility and improve cardiac muscles.
While pork and chicken aren’t usually associated with omega-3 acids, an article by Paleo Leap suggests that a healthier diet for pigs and chickens can lead to more nourishing meat. Grass-fed and pastured pigs have fats that are high in nutrients and minerals that are similar to salmon. While these meats are more expensive, the health benefits are well worth the price.
Nobody likes drinking light beer, but thick porters and stouts are full of calories. Many IPAs, for instance, push well over 200 calories per bottle, while light beers can stay around 55. But the taste difference is significant. So what should you serve at your party?
Dry wines are a good option because they lack the sugar of mixed drinks. For a flavorful beer, the Guinness Nitro IPA is a great alternative because it only has 154 calories, which is comparable to many light beers. If you enjoy mixed drinks, use natural club soda and a slice of lime as your mixer. While it won’t be as sweet as a drink mixed with soda or juice, it cuts down on the sugars and still provides a crisp and refreshing taste. Another healthy alternative is try some vegan cocktails.
Don’t forget the healthiest choice of all – refreshing filtered water! Make sure you have plenty of water available and fruit slices for your guests who choose to make their own healthy fruit flavored drink.
Make sure your next shindig or gathering is full of healthy tasty foods and drinks. All your friends and family will be chattering for weeks about how great your food was and what a great hostess you are! We all love to eat and have fun so enjoy life but do it the healthy way! Your health depends on it!