Summertime is full of BBQ’s and backyard parties, but it is also a time when women try to be very conscious of what they are eating. Swimsuit season rears its head, then suddenly you find yourself hosting and attending parties and indulging in unhealthy food galore. Before you know it, getting that summer body is a thought of the past.
You don’t have to cringe every time you have a party for fear that you will throw off your entire diet because you have to serve unhealthy dishes. Eating healthy and serving nutrient rich food to your guests doesn't have to be boring or even feel healthy. We are not talking about serving celery sticks and low fat dip to your guests. Not in the least!There are so many sneaky tricks to enjoying the food you already love, just in a healthier way. It is a win win; you’ll get to savor the food you crave and still fit into the swimsuit you've been eyeing in your dresser drawer. We have compiled a list of tips for you to pack in your arsenal of ideas when planning parties and get togethers this summer and all year long!
15 Create a Healthier Cocktail
Cocktails at a party can really sabotage a diet. Instead of buying sugary store bought mixers, create a signature cocktail for your guests using fresh fruit and herbs. Muddle fresh limes and mint for a mojito or mango and jalapeño for a spicy margarita. Many pre-made mixers contain artificial colors and high fructose corn syrup; make your own simple syrup using organic sugar. Creating your own mix will give you control of the amount of sugar and the quality of ingredients. This will give the party a signature touch and make it memorable for guests while controlling the amount of sugar and artificial ingredients in the cocktail.
14 Make a Healthier Pizza Crust
INGREDIENTSNonstick spray 2 1/2 cups cauliflower, grated (about 1/2 a large head) 1 large egg, lightly beaten 1 1/4 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup tomato sauce 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half 2 cloves garlic, sliced 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes Fresh basil leaves, optional
DIRECTIONS1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and preheat oven to 425ºF.2. Grate the cauliflower using a box grater until you have two cups of cauliflower crumbles. Place in a large bowl and microwave for seven to eight minutes, or until soft. Remove from the microwave and let cool.3. Mix in the egg, one cup mozzarella, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper. Once combined, pat into a 10-inch round on the prepared pizza pan. Spray lightly with nonstick spray and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden.4. Top the pizza with the sauce, 1/4 cup mozzarella, grape tomatoes, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Bake in the oven until melted and bubbly, another 10 minutes. Top with basil before serving.recipe via: http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Low-Carb-Cauliflower-Crust-Pizza-Recipe-30739512
13 Use Greek Yogurt Instead of Mayonnaise or Sour Cream
You have probably heard about this one before. Greek yogurt is a nutrition powerhouse and serves as a wonderful substitute to mayonnaise in side dishes and casseroles. Add it to pasta dishes instead of cream for a tangy Alfredo sauce, or use it in chicken salad instead of mayonnaise. Yogurt is incredibly versatile for use in everything from baking recipes to dips and even frosting. You can add it to popsicles, guacamole and salad dressings for a creamy texture with a boost of great nutrition. Greek yogurt provides gut healthy probiotics which help with digestion and maintaining good gut health and is a great source of protein.
12 Use Potatoes Instead of Crust in Quiches
Making a healthier quiche is as easy as slicing up a few potatoes. The crust of a quiche can often throw off what would be an otherwise healthy dish. Potatoes serve as an excellent vessel for egg based dishes. They are high in fiber to keep you full and sweet potatoes provide an excellent source of beta-carotene. Line your pie pan with sliced or shredded potatoes and fill with egg mixture for a highly nutritious all in one dish. Check out the recipe below using sweet potatoes as the crust.Ingredients3 cups shredded sweet potatoes (can also use regular potatoes or frozen shredded hash browns)1/2 large onion, diced1 clove garlic, minced1 cup chopped swiss chard, kale, or spinach (squeeze out all water if using thawed)1 cup chopped vegetables, such as broccoli, bell peppers, or mushrooms6oz shredded cheese4 eggs1/2 cup egg whites2 Tbsp half & half2 Tbsp flour1 tsp baking powderpepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400*.Press the potatoes into a 9x13 baking dish sprayed with pam, spreading evenly to cover the bottom and up the sides. Bake until the potatoes start to crisp & are golden brown, 15-20 minutes.Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, half & half, flour, baking powder, and pepper. Set aside.While potatoes are baking heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add remaining veggies and cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly tender (they will finish cooking in oven). Set aside until potatoes are done.After potatoes start to brown remove from oven. Spread veggies evenly over potatoes. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Pour egg mixture over top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.Bake for 35-45 or until center is set and the outside edges are golden brown. Let set for 5 minutes, then serve.
Recipe via: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=1273441
11 Grill Your Protein
In the summer, there is no need to use the oven or mess with hot oil. Grilling will give amazing flavor to meat dishes while keeping recipes lean. Marinade your meat beforehand to seal in the delicious flavors. Create kebobs with fresh chicken or steak and fresh vegetables. Kebobs are great because they offer built in portion control and allow you to keep track of how much you are eating. You can also flatten chicken breasts and steak and fill them with your favorite veggies, roll them up and place them on the grill for a beautiful crowd pleasing dish that is healthy to boot.
10 Coat Protein in Nuts Instead of Bread Crumbs
A simple way to add crunch to fish and chicken dishes is to coat them with finely chopped nuts before cooking. Nuts are high in protein and magnesium while supplying you with healthy fats to keep you satisfied. Pistachios, walnuts, pecans, or macadamia nuts are just a few of the nuts that make a delicious coating for chicken and fish. Try the recipe below at your next party and wow guests with healthy goodness.
2 (about 1/2 pound each) salmon filletsCoarse salt and freshly ground pepper2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice2 cups shelled salted pistachiosZest of 1 orange, plus more for garnish1/4 cup olive oilNonstick cooking spray
1. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Place in a large baking dish with 1 cup orange juice. Cover with plastic wrap, and marinate in refrigerator, for at least 1 and up to 2 hours.2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Finely chop pistachios and zest in food processor. With the processor running, drizzle in oil and remaining 1 cup juice until a paste forms; set aside.3. Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Place salmon on baking sheet; discard excess marinade. Top with pistachio mixture, pressing lightly to adhere.4. Bake until salmon is cooked through and pistachios are golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Garnish with zest, if desired. Serve immediately.
Recipe via: http://www.marthastewart.com/342355/salmon-with-pistachio-crust
9 Use Bean or Broth Based Soup.
This simple trick will cut major calories and amp up the nutritional value in your soup. Use lentils, chickpeas or black beans for extra fiber and plant based protein. Beans and lentils add bulk for a filling and satisfying soup. Soup and stew provide a high water content, helping you feel full with minimal calories. Throw fresh veggies like carrots, zucchini, or onion and herbs like bay leaf, basil or oregano into broth based soups for an antioxidant punch. Offering a soup at parties and get togethers is a great way to keep from overeating other food and helps keep you and your guests in the healthy lane.
8 Make a hearty grain salad with vinaigrette instead of a creamy dressing
Grain based salads like tabbouleh and balela make terrific side dishes in the summertime. These exotic dishes are full of fresh tomatoes, parsely, beans and hearty grains. They are cool and satisfying making them a summertime go-to dish. You can create your own using grains like farro, quinoa, or wheat berries. A simple dressing of olive oil and a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice are all it takes to bring out the wonderful flavors in these salads. Grain salads make delicious pairings with fish, chicken and steak. These salads also look gorgeous and rustic on the table.
7 Create a Healthy Antipasto Platter
When guests first arrive to your party, you want to have something out to offer while everyone is mingling and hanging out. This is the time to start the party off on a healthy foot. And since we know that eating is a visual experience as well as a taste experience, an antipasto platter with fresh fruit, cheese, lean meats, heart healthy nuts and olives is the perfect way to serve a beautiful and delicious appetizer to guests that is healthful. Slice up fresh veggies like cucumber, carrots and peppers to dip in hummus or tzatziki sauce. Guests get to nibble and enjoy a bunch of flavor combinations.
6 Make Healthier Desserts
Using fresh fruit and antioxidant rich dark chocolate are simple ways to add healthy ingredients to dishes without seeming healthy. Create a fondue bar with dark chocolate, fresh fruit, and nuts so that guests can have a fun hands-on experience. Blend in black beans to your brownie recipe - yes, black beans in brownies! This trick adds fiber and ultra fudgey moisture to browines. Guests won’t even taste them and you will have the satisfaction of offering something decadent and healthy to your guests. Another awesome trick is to add shredded carrots and zucchini to baked recipes like banana bread or cupcakes. Like black beans, shredded veggies up the healthiness of a recipe and add moisture.
5 Create Fruit Spritzers Instead of Sugary Soda
Nothing is more beautiful at a party than freshly made soda spritzers. Pile fresh fruit and mint in glasses, top with ice and sparkling water. This is a simple tip that also gives the party a personal touch. Add a splash of 100% fruit juice to soda or freeze fruit juice in ice trays so that it infuses the spritzer as it melts. You can also freeze fresh fruit and herbs in ice cubes for a pretty and functional garnish. This is a great trick for summertime when temperatures are scorching. Guests are hydrated and not weighed down by sugary soda. This tip is also fun for children and makes a great hands on way to teach healthy habits. Get them involved in assembling their own healthy sodas.
4 Have a Yogurt Parfait Bar
3 Make Veggie Based Appetizers
Instead of using bread or crackers as a vessel for appetizers, serve toppings on hollowed out peppers and cucumbers. Stuff peppers with cheese and meat or pile smoked salmon on cucumbers with a little fresh dill. Make zucchini "boats" topped with feta cheese, herbs and fresh tomatoes. Create stuffed baby portobellos with crab meat. As you can see, the possibilities are endless. This is a simple and creative way to offer hors d'oeuvres that are as healthy as they are beautiful. Serving appetizers this way offers a light pre-meal option for guests that isn’t too filling. After all, you want them to have room for the main attraction.
2 Use Zucchini or Spaghetti Squash as Noodles
Veggie noodles are increasing in popularity as more and more people are forgoing gluten and wheat in favor of plant based diets. Vegetable based noodles are a unique way to serve a healthy dish to guests. Instead of making a heavy pasta dish, keep things light by spiraling or julienne peeling zucchini into “noodles”. You can also use spaghetti squash and top with fresh sauce, veggies and meat for a light and savory dish. Both keep calories low leaving room for all the other healthy dishes you’ve created. Using veggies as a base for noodle dishes is an amazing plant fueled option that is versatile and good for you.
1 Offer Vegetarian Options
A vegetarian option is important when entertaining as more and more people are adopting a vegetarian lifestyle. Your guests will appreciate this gesture and you may even surprise a few carnivores. It’s not all about tofu and mock meat recipes with air quotes when it comes to serving up vegetarian dishes. High protein, plant-based dishes can have even the meat eaters at your party feeling satisfied. Create tacos with black beans and plantains, or make veggie burgers full of chickpeas, vegetables and fresh herbs. With so many amazing recipes on blogs and recipe websites, great recipes will always be at your finger tips.Sources: cookinglight.com, foodnetwork.com