You might be a clean eater if you trick your friends into coming to a healthy dinner party. I know I’m guilty. I’m all about figuring out covert ways to clean up my meals without pushing my healthy eating agenda on my friends.
What happens when you’re the one in charge of the menu at an upcoming dinner party or family gathering? If you don’t want your family and friends to hate you, then you won’t reveal your devious plan. Whether you have decided to cut out processed foods, eat paleo or go gluten-free, there are many ways to plan a healthy meal without making your guests feel deprived.
Try these helpful hacks to “clean” up your dinner party without sacrificing taste:
1. Start with the right appetizer
Think fresh fruit, crudités and healthy skewers. Caprese kebabs are a personal favorite.
2. Liven up your salad
Your guests aren’t going to be impressed by a sad pile of lettuce drizzled with vinaigrette. Set the clean eating tone with a vibrant and creative salad as a first course, like this Whole Foods-inspired California quinoa salad.
3. Make your own bread
Low-carb, gluten-free bread for the table is perfect to munch on. Ten bucks says your guests won’t be able to tell the difference.
4. Remember that olive oil is your best friend
Olive oil is a staple in paleo and Mediterranean diets, embraced by clean eaters everywhere. Use this healthy oil full of fatty acids and fat-soluble nutrients liberally: Drizzle on salad, splash on an entrée, or serve with herbs for dipping fresh bread on the table. Pricier polyphenol-rich extra-virgin olive oil is recommended for flavor.
5. Serve red wine
Clean eating doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the simple pleasures in life! Red wine has an estimated 120 calories a glass and is chock-full of antioxidants.
6. Try a new cuisine
A dinner party menu is the perfect opportunity to explore and try new things. Wow your guests with paleo-friendly Chinese food favorites.
7. Rethink your pasta
Zucchini noodles are easy to make and can be a great dinnertime conversation starter.
8. Choose the right grain
Quinoa leads the way in the clean eating fad, but there are so many more delicious and nutritious grains you can add to your meal. Pro tip: Rapid-cook nutrient-rich buckwheat, amaranth or millet in your rice cooker.
9. Dress up your veggies
Boring steamed vegetables have no place at a dinner party. Make veggies fun again with a reinvented cauliflower rice side dish.
10. Don’t skip dessert
Your friends will never forgive you. You can still enjoy a healthy after-dinner treat like this paleo skillet blueberry crisp.