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Healthier Hostess

Now that we are past Memorial Day, summertime soirees are on the horizon — and we can’t wait!

It really is the most wonderful time of year, and whether you’re hosting your own get-together or planning to contribute as a guest, attempting to mix healthier foods with fun can seem like an impossible task. Enter: our go-to RDs and nutrition pros to help make anyone into a healthier hostess this summer.

Viva la veggies:

Although not at all surprising for two dietitians to recommend, we can’t help but start any party planning with a veg-heavy menu. Not only is this the obvious choice when trying to include healthier foods, it also serves as an easy, little-to-no cook appetizer. Starting with a course of non-starchy veggies (aka, our one and only unlimited food!) means you and the guests fill up on fiber instead of the standard high-calorie apps.

Our main tip? Keep it interesting. While crudités have their place, to make vegetables more appealing, try creating an eye-catching display by mixing raw produce (like radishes, multi-colored carrots or green beans) with grilled and roasted varieties, too. Then, add exciting dips and spreads, like whipped feta with lemon and herbs, a plain Greek yogurt dip with olive oil and basil, or try an olive tapenade to create extra flavor contrast. In any case, the key is to take your vegetable course from the sad, grocery store carrots and celery to something everyone will actually want to try.

Carbs, but better: 

Carbs might be everyone’s favorite nutrient, yet so many people seem to love to hate them, too. We love a good carb, but agree many standard breads, crackers and chips leave room for improvement. When hosting, we opt for higher fiber versions of everything — and often times without anyone the wiser! The reason whole grains and high fiber swaps are better? Because fiber keeps us fuller for longer, therefore, innately helping to decrease mindless snacking while allowing us to feel satisfied more quickly. In a party setting, this can be clutch as drinking can lead to lower inhibitions and ultimately, overindulging.

Try swapping out standard water crackers from your cheese board for a high fiber version like some of our favorites from Simple Mills. We love their almond flour variety and find guests have no idea we’ve made their meal a bit healthier by including these simple, nutrient-dense crackers. Or, try serving higher-quality carbs at the dinner table by skipping the usual bread basket suspects and including 100% whole grain baguette slices instead. The small pieces will automatically help with portion control, while the heartier grain will add extra nutrients.

Cheers to summer:

Warm weather makes for the perfect time of year to break out the fun and fruity drinks. But what’s the best way to enjoy the flavors of summer without the added sugar that often accompanies fruit juice?

Opt for flavored waters to mix with your spirits which contain little-to-no added sugar. We are fans of Spindrift’s line of bubbly waters that are flavored with real squeezed fruit. Check out their Instagram for recipes and inspiration! We also suggest a summertime spritz comprised of white wine with soda water and a lemon which allows guest to drink, but at a slower rate. And, if all else fails – rosé all day.

Treat yourself:

Entertaining is a time to celebrate without sacrifice. When creating your menu, opt for bite-sized treats to help your guests keep portions in line. That may mean cutting up the dessert before it hits the serving platter or pre-portioning in cups if you’re serving a trifle or parfait.

Always serve fruit too, so guests can balance their indulgent bite with a better-for-you choice packed with nutrients and fiber. Play into the must-have fruits of summer – watermelon slices, frozen grapes or berry salads!


Illustration by: Prints By Paige

By Amanda Baker Lemein and Julie Pappas

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