Mindless eating and drinking as you mingle at a party can send your caloric intake through the roof. When you are the host, lead by example. Follow these tips to throw a party that is healthy without sacrificing the fun.
Serve a meal.
Offering a variety of finger foods encourages people to try a little of everything, which can lead to overeating. By having guests sit down to a full meal, you can help them avoid the temptation. A meal around the table will encourage conversation, and define a beginning and end to eating for the event.
Offer smaller portions, and more courses.
A meal spread over four courses feels elegant, and allows you to serve smaller portions. Try cucumber cups filled with shrimp salad for an appetizer, a chilled gazpacho soup, an entrée of fish or chicken with fruit salsa and roasted vegetables, and a small portion of a decadent cake for dessert.
Have guests make their meal.
Take some of the pressure off yourself and let your guests assemble their own meal. Create a fun taco, pasta or salad bar with grilled meats, vegetables, and fresh toppings. This approach encourages creativity and mingling, and provides the benefit of having a meal instead of snacks. With lots of healthy toppings, your guests will have the option to make nutritious choices.
Offer a variety of drinks and mixers.
Fancy, signature cocktails are fun, but all of those juices and mixers are high in calories. You don’t have to cut out the alcohol, but provide a variety of light beers and use club sodas and flavored waters as mixers.
Don’t get overwhelmed.
Keep each course simple, and choose foods you can prepare ahead of time. Stressing out over the event could lead to overeating.
Make health a side note.
While your goal is to keep your party as healthy as possible, don’t make that the focus for your guests. The goal is to make fun parties with healthy foods the norm, and not the exception. After a party like this, guests will realize they aren’t missing out on anything, except for the calories.