I just had an amazing weekend! A friend of mine decided to throw a holiday party and asked me if I would consider catering her event. While I love having dinner parties and gatherings where I cook for my guests, I’ve never officially catered anything. However, I love trying new things and am always up for a challenge, so I said I would go for it! Brave girl that she is, she trusted me and gave me the reins to create a menu, shop, and make food for about 40 people.
The really amazing thing about her request was that she wanted to throw a “healthy” holiday party. She didn’t want to offer her guests the usual heavy, sugary, waist-enlarging options that we so often see on party tables. Sure, that stuff tastes pretty yummy, but we walk away from parties feeling 10 pounds heavier, vowing to eat carrots for the next 5 days. That lasts until the next holiday party when we do the same thing....and again, and again, and again....all the way through New Year’s Eve. What’s a person to do when faced with indulgence after indulgence ?? We don’t want to have to say no to fun and nothing and enjoying the moment with friends and family.....that’s why this party was so special.
I created a table RICH in color, flavor, texture, options, and...NUTRITION! From the moment the guests arrived, there were “Ooohhs,” and “Ahhs” as they entered the great room and saw the food on the table. They were thrilled by the natural beauty of it all, and thankful that healthy options were abundant—and they didn’t have to start feeling the guilt....or the bloat! So how does a hostess prepare a fabulous and healthy holiday spread? Well, here’s what I did:
I thought of the food in terms of how I encourage my clients to eat on a daily basis: Greens, Fat, Fiber, Protein. I made sure that those elements were in abundance on the table so that when the guests were creating their plates, they were likely to get all components. When we have G, F, F, and P in each meal, our blood sugar stays balanced....and if you follow “Life by Lori,” you know that balanced blood sugar is the key to your wellness goals. These guests were not going to end the evening with insulin spikes, mood swings, bloating, weight gain, inflammation, and insomnia! They were going to leave feeling better than when they arrived!
I created “boards” filled with a variety of colorful veggies for vitamins, nutrients, and fiber. To that, I added organic RAW cheeses for healthy fat, multi-seed crackers for more fiber and “crunch,” along with beet, red pepper, and garlic hummus + basil pesto. Olives were placed out for healthy fat. For protein, I made meatballs with organic, grass-fed beef that were amazing plain, or dipped in a variety of sauces. These were fun to spear with a toothpick and were gobbled up quickly! I also put out bowls of edamame for additional protein. The dessert section consisted of my homemade peanut butter or cashew butter protein balls, sprinkled with cocoa powder. I offered a raw blue cheese, dried apricots, dark chocolate covered almonds, and pomegranate seeds to hit the sweet spots.
I admit, a part of me wondered if guests would wish for “pigs in a blanket” or frozen quiches and sheet pans of brownies....but guess what! That didn’t happen. They ate well, went back for more, had big smiles on their faces, and thanked me for creating a healthy, delicious table. Your guests will do the same. I encourage you to try it this year! Come December 31, you and your friends won’t be carrying more than you should into the new year—healthy party offerings can be and ARE fabulous. Be a trendsetter in your circle.
Cheers and the Happiest of Holidays to you!!