Potlucks are a great idea when you want to get together with your friends and enjoy a meal inexpensively with less work on your part. Preparing just one dish and enjoying the entire meal has many benefits. It can, however, be a caloric overload, especially if the other cooks aren’t conscious of the fat and calorie count. Instead of sacrificing your diet to a high calorie feast, try some of these more healthy alternatives:
- Taco Bar: always a popular choice, Mexican foods can be high in fat and calories. Instead of starting with ground beef, swap out ground chicken or turkey. Use fat-free refried beans instead of full fat. Load your plate with crunchy veggies, such as lettuce and tomato, and add grilled veggies like squash, zucchini, peppers and onions. Salsa adds lots of flavor, but not high calories. Low-fat cheeses and reduced- or fat-free sour cream or Greek yogurt complete the selection. Skip white flour tortillas and instead try whole grain or corn, as well as baked chips in place of fried. You can supply the meat and assign a topping to each of your guests.
- Salad Bar: Especially in the warm weather, salads are a yummy choice, since they don’t require any cooking. As the host, you can supply a large bowl of mixed dark greens. Ask your guests to provide healthy toppings, such as chopped tomatoes, red and green peppers, fruit like grapes, apples or mandarin oranges, nuts, sliced beef, cucumber spears, broccoli florets, grilled chicken breast, or shrimp. Offer two low-fat dressing choices and you’ve created a wonderful, flavorful salad. Here are some more tips from our own salad potluck, which can include pasta salad and fruit salad, too!
- Baked Potato Bar: Serve large baked potatoes (split in half lengthwise) and have your guests bring low-fat cheese, Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, guacamole, hummus, chopped veggies, fajita vegetables, and lean proteins such as turkey chili, black beans, grilled chicken, or lean ground beef.
- Soup: Have each of your guest bring a healthy soup, like chicken noodle, vegetable beef, grilled veggie soup, vegetarian chili or barley beef and vegetable, and provide whole grain bread bowls, side salad, or corn bread.
August 27th, 2010