Whether it’s game day or just a family celebration, most people have in mind that a friendly gathering means a lot of food – and usually not the healthiest kind. We’re talking chips, burgers, loaded fries, pizza and all of those things we love to mindlessly munch on. Well, it’s about time that came to an end. Meeting up with people does not have to mean eating junk food, and to help you get on the right track, here are some amazing, healthy alternatives for your next get-together.
Fruit & veggie dippers
We all love some crispy chips dipped in sauce. But there is an equally delicious alternative that doesn’t contain any processed foods: veggie dippers. Cut up some carrots, celery, cucumber, zucchini, kohlrabi and any firm veggies you love and serve them alongside some low-fat Greek yogurt and organic hummus. Serving them raw will give you the most nutritional value, but if you want that chip flavor, you can coat the veggies in your favorite seasonings and bake them in the oven for about an hour until they crisp up. You can do the same thing to satisfy a sweet tooth: cut up different fruits – or put softer fruits on a toothpick, and serve yogurt with a bit of honey or almond butter for the dip.
Food doesn’t only have to taste good – it needs to look good, and rainbows are quite good-looking. Rainbow pinwheels are so easy to make: they are different-colored veggies wrapped up in a whole-wheat tortilla, and then sliced into pinwheels. Glue it down with a bit of hummus so it doesn’t all fall apart, and you have the perfect, healthy appetizer.
Avocado is known as the millennial favorite, but there’s more to it than looking good on pictures. Avocado is full of healthy fats and the creaminess it gives makes it the perfect substitute for a lot of unhealthy spreads that we usually put on bread. Avocado toast is exactly what it sounds like, but the toppings you can put over it are endless. From crumbled goat cheese to prosciutto, you can decorate and enhance the flavors in so many different ways, that it’s no surprise it has appeared in the selections of the best catering companies in NYC. You can also make them bite-sized with different kinds of bread and toppings on the side so that everyone can create their perfect combination.
Sliders are very easy to make, and you can prepare them in bulk, making them the perfect party food. Usually, they are filled with cheese, unhealthy dips, and unnecessary fats. However, it’s completely possible to make a healthy alternative to traditional sliders, by using homemade falafel in the shape of the buns (preferably whole-grained) and using healthy options for toppings, like lots of vegetables and natural spreads and condiments.
Healthy loaded nachos
Nachos are a favorite party food because they are the perfect thing to share with friends and family. But making them healthy isn’t that hard. Start by swapping the fried tortilla chips with whole-wheat pita chips, and then ditch the cheese and the meat. Instead, add some homemade fresh tomato salsa, black beans, diced avocado, and just a touch of low-fat cheese to bind it all together. For dips, Greek yogurt, hummus, and guacamole are once again the way to go.
Spicy cauliflower bites
If you are missing the chicken wings, this might just help your craving. Replace the meat with some cauliflower florets and bake them instead of frying them. Put them in the same hot sauces and spices you normally would, as well as a fresh, cool sauce to combat the heat. They will taste like a party in your mouth, and you probably won’t want to stop after one.
When eating at parties it’s important to remember that it’s not about what you eat – it’s how much. No matter how healthy the food served is, if you can’t stop yourself from eating too much, it won’t be healthy anymore. So go for the healthy options, but don’t think of it as a free pass to eat as much of it as you want. And if you know that other people will be reluctant to change to the healthier alternatives, offer to host the next party and surprise them with the selection. They won’t even miss the old way once they dig in!