This summer is likely to be filled with picnics, potlucks, barbeques and all other forms of outdoor festivities as vaccine rates go up and restrictions on gatherings go down.
Whether it’s the Fourth of July, Labor Day or just a day of the week that ends in “day,” we’ve got some tips and recipes to help make it easy and delicious without going overboard on empty calories. That way you can focus on the fun without worrying about the food.
You’re not feeding an army
Whether it’s a potluck or a backyard barbeque, most people will not show up empty handed. That means you don’t have to feel like you’re feeding the whole party. Consider how many people will be there and how much other food there will be when deciding how much to make or take.
Consider dietary needs
Allergies and other food restrictions don’t have to stop you from making your favorite dish. Many times there are easy substitutes that won’t affect the quality of the recipe. If that’s not the case with yours (or dare not alter great-grandma’s recipe), just make sure you have a sign listing the ingredients so guests don’t have any surprises.
Summer fruit makes the perfect picnic
Fresh fruit can be extra delicious on a hot summer day. If you don’t have time to slice and dice, choose ones that are ready to eat, like cherries, grapes and all the different kinds of berries.
If you do have time, fresh sliced watermelon is a perennial favorite at summer soirees. Or you can throw together a simple fruit salad that can be served in its own juices or with a light dressing of your favorite yogurt.
Sometimes fresh vegetables can be almost as sweet as fruit. Put together a tray of cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, sliced bell peppers and other favorites along with nutrient-filled dip like hummus and you’re good to go.
Craving a salty crunch?
Fresh fruits and vegetables are great for delivering a crunch, but sometimes you want that salty goodness of a chip. Good news: Not all salty snacks are going to derail your diet. There are plenty of better choices out there that can feed your need – just check the labels for their nutritional info.
BodyKey by Nutrilite™ products offer some options that are sure to hit the spot and can be a solo snack or used as a vehicle for any of your dip and salsa options. The popcorn is lightly salted and can provide a crunch on its own or add a few shakes of our favorite seasoning and turn it into a whole new snack for guests.
Nutritious sweet treats
If you want to feed your sweet tooth, choose some recipes that deliver nutrients along with the sweetness you’re looking for. This protein-packed banana cranberry pecan muffin recipe is a great example. Make it in mini muffin tins for the perfect serving size.
Portion control is the best strategy to prevent overindulging on decadent dishes. Serve treats in smaller sizes so you can get that sugary goodness without going overboard. Protein helps make you feel full, so that will help, too.
Add to the drink offerings
Hydration is always important, especially if you’re sweating in the sun for several hours. Consider bringing cooler with a variety of energy drinks and sparkling water to help quench people’s thirst.
Make it easy
No matter what you have brought to gatherings in the past, it’s always good to re-evaluate how you do things. Here are some questions to ask yourself: Will it travel well? Can it be served at room temperature? Is it easy to serve and easy to consume? Will it be easy to take home any leftovers?
Maybe your delicious dish is worth any hassles and extra work and guests look forward to it every year. But that doesn’t mean there might not be easier ways to do things. Look at your options with a fresh eye for new strategies that can make your tasks easier.
Now, go have fun! And for more information on any of the products mentioned here, click the links below.
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