Whether it’s a summer BBQ, a birthday party or a holiday celebration, planning a menu that’s healthy and delicious can be a challenge. However, these gatheringss are a great way to bring culinary masterpieces for family and friends to enjoy! We’ve collected some of our favorite recipes that incorporate different flavors and nutrients to keep your favorite foods healthy. Plan a get-together without the stress of menu planning! These recipes are sure to be a hit and inspire you and your guests to try something new! What’s even better, these recipes are hand-picked from our RD friends!
We hope that your event is filled with treasured memories of family, friends, and delicious and healthy food.
Enjoy Fruit Sweetened Beverages: Put a brake on sodas and fruit juices with naturally sweetened drinks like iced tea! Jennifer Lynn-Pullman, RDN of Nourished Simply shares how she sweetens her green tea for the perfect, refreshing drink, “Adding fruit to tea is a great way to add a natural sweetness. Depending on the fruit and taste you are looking for you can still add some sugar, but not nearly as much. Peach Green Tea is probably my favorite fruit flavored tea.”
Bring on the Healthy Fats: Having healthy fats available to spread onto burgers and sandwiches will limit the consumption and addition of unhealthy fats like mayonnaise. Guacamole and other spreads are also tasty as chips and dip! Katie Pfeffer-Scanlan, RDN of One Hungry Bunny shares her favorite recipes with healthy fats, “Creamy Spring Pea Guacamole also works as an excellent sandwich spread or even as a pizza topping. If you prefer an alternative to the avocado, feel free to use an extra 1/2 cup of green peas and one or two tablespoons of olive oil to add a source of healthy fats.”
Keep it Allergen Friendly: Whether it’s lactose, gluten or nuts, allergens are present in many different foods. Make it easier for individuals who have an allergy or choose to avoid those ingredients with allergen friendly recipes! Kelly Jones, RDN of Eat Real Live Well shares her favorite allergen friendly recipe, “my go-to recipe whether it’s time for a BBQ or tailgating season is this dairy-free and nut-free spinach and artichoke dip. With so many food allergies and dietary preferences, this gives everyone the creaminess they’re looking for in spinach and artichoke dip without any concerns.”
Serve Versatile Recipes: Leftovers are inevitable. By making dishes that can be used in multiple ways, it keeps leftovers interesting and tasty! Sarah Pflugradt, RDN of Salubrious RD shares her favorite versatile recipe, “I love my White Bean and Red Pepper Salad for any get together. It’s fast and easy to whip up and tastes even better when made ahead of time. As an added bonus, leftovers can be made into a tasty bean dip.”
Amplify Healthy Whole Grains: Everyone loves the Mexican flavors in this Freekeh and Black Bean Salad with Lime Cilantro Dressing. Ancient grain Freekeh adds a boost of fiber and protein to this salad which makes it an ideal choice for vegan and vegetarians at any gathering. -Kathy Siegel, MS, RDN & Tracee Yablon Brenner, RDN, CHHD, Triad to Wellness.
Keep Salads Satisfying: No one likes a soggy salad. By adding ingredients that keep it crispy, salads will last longer and taste better! Jodi Danen, RDN of Create Kids Club shares her secret weapon to crispy salads, “I love that this Brussel Sprout, Cranberry, and Roasted Almond Salad gets everyone happily eating Brussels sprouts, and it is a breeze to make. Crisp Brussels sprouts are my secret weapon against soggy salads. You can dress this salad ahead of time and it will be perfect when you serve it later.”
Make Unhealthy Classics Healthy Again: What most people think of with a hamburger meal is a huge, juicy burger, dripping with fat and cheese, on enriched white bread, with a side of French fries and a beer. Let’s change that picture with my healthified Classic America Cheeseburger! We have to stop calling foods “bad” and “good” because the truth is that you can make any “bad” food “good” (or “good” food “bad”) by altering the composition of the recipe or that meal. – Stacey Mattinson, RDN, Stacey Mattinson.