Create a Hot Celebration with Healthy Style
If you’re anything like me you’re wearing several hats, juggling a too long list of tasks on your schedule. Add the periodic special occasion celebration and you may find your mood swinging toward a bad “hatitude.” No worries—just plan something easy on the host and enjoyable for guests.
Create a relaxing ambiance consistent with the theme. For example, if festivities are focused on fresh and cool, consider a sundown gathering to avoid the warmest part of the day. Decorate the serving tables with solid color candles of varying heights, surrounded by a border of fresh herbs and miniature produce such as multi-colored peppers, okra, cherry tomatoes or squash.
Beverages will help keep guests cool; anti-oxidant rich drinks such as red or purple grape, blueberry, pomegranate, and orange juices have benefits to keep cells healthy, preventing cell damage, heart disease, and high-blood pressure. Stock the beverage station with crushed ice, frozen red grapes, chilled fresh juices along with soda water, ginger ale, water, and champagne. A splash of soda water or ginger ale is flavorful and thirst-quenching minus the effects of an alcoholic beverage. If you’d like to stir in a stronger beverage in addition to Champagne, consider a lighter red wine such as a syrah or merlot which are also good sources of anti-oxidants.
Keep things light—no heavy foods or rich sauces. Build the menu around fresh local ingredients. Nutrient-rich vegetables such as broccoli and baby carrots are high in vitamins A, C, and K. They’re good for you and you can eat plenty. Use the vegetables as dippers for low cal yogurt dips or hummus. Bonus—these veggies are also no-cook; you can simply rinse them in cold water, pat dry and put them in serving bowls in the ‘fridge until you need them. I stop by the supermarket and pick up salad—one of my favorites these days is a chilled quinoa (keen wa) salad. Quinoa is a grain (similar to barley) that is a good source of protein and fiber. Serve lean grilled meats such as chicken or beef on bamboo skewers. These refreshments are filling without making guests feel like they’ve overeaten.
My sweet inspiration for a cool finale includes options of seasonal fresh fruit, flavored Greek yogurt, fruit sorbet, granola, mini-chocolate morsels, and toasted almonds. Try these suggestions to create a hot celebration with style—and they come with a perk, they’re extra easy on the host.
The healthy take way here is have fun, stay cool, relax, and enjoy your guests. You don’t have to miss out on all the enjoyment, breathe, plan and be prepared. Select wholesome menu items that can be picked up or made ahead. Serve beverages in pitchers and food buffet style so everyone can help themselves. Entertaining can be gratifying and nutritious too.
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