When you think of party food, you automatically think of rich, gooey desserts, entrées full of fat and flavor, and breads and vegetable side dishes slathered with butter and cheese. When entertaining, you always want to serve your best and most flavorful recipes because your main goal is the comfort, happiness, and well-being of your guests.
But there are lots of things you can do to prepare and serve healthy food, not only to your family, but also at a party. The changes don't have to be drastic, and the food will be delicious because you're using fresh, whole foods and more homemade products.
Parties come with built-in reasons to celebrate. Whether you're giving a surprise bridal shower or a milestone birthday party, a holiday gathering or a party to celebrate a job success or promotion, these celebrations are easy to pull together. But serving healthy food at these events is another matter. Most of the so-called best recipes you'll find in books, online, or from friends and family load on the fat, calories, and simple carbohydrates with little thought to health.
The emphasis in this book is on nutrient-dense foods. Nutrient-dense means that a food provides a lot of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and micro-nutrients for the calories it contains. Junk food and snack foods, candy bars, cakes, and white bread are generally considered empty-calorie foods. That means they provide very few nutrients for the calories.
Small changes will make a big difference: throw some carrots into a beef daube, add sweet potatoes to your favorite creamy potato recipe, grate carrots into spaghetti sauce, and serve an apricot sauce over a chocolate ice cream dessert. It's not difficult to work more produce into your diet; it just takes a little thought and imagination.
Here's another tip: don't try to make a brand new recipe for a party. You understandably want to serve something special, but do try a new recipe a few days or weeks before the party. Make sure you understand how to safely prepare it, that it tastes good to you and your family, and that it's within your skill level as a cook and baker.
One of the most important secrets to a good party is to relax. Humans are animals, after all, and we can sense the mood and tension in a room. If the host is worried and anxious, the party is never going to get into full swing. The most important rule is to have fun and enjoy yourself, no matter what. If something burns or a recipe doesn't turn out as planned, don't let that spoil your evening. Shrug it off and order pizza. The point of a party is to get friends and family together, enjoy each other's company, and have fun.