Host a healthy dinner party
When planning a dinner party, we often throw caution to the wind when it comes to fatty, high calorie foods. But you don’t have to skimp on taste when it comes to creating healthy meals for your guests.
Appetizers – everyone loves them, but we tend to serve rich or deep fried foods such as cheeses and cream-based dips. If you are going to serve a dip try using light sour cream, or yogurt as a base. Salsa is always a good alternative and it only has five to 10 calories per table spoon. Vegetables make a great snack to serve your guests — they are vibrant in colour, not to mention delicious.
Easy Stuffed Veggies
2 large tomatoes
1/2 cucumber (medium size), peeled
Garlic and shallot
– Cut the tomatoes and cucumbers in half and scoop out the inside
– In a large bowl – mix garlic, shallot, goat cheese and basil
– Scoop the mixture into the veggies
– Pour a splash on balsamic vinegar over the veggies for taste
– Cut into bite-size pieces
Nutritional information (for approx 2 pieces): Calories 115; Carbs 9; Fat 6; Protein 7
Cocktails are a traditional staple at any dinner party, but they can also be high in sugar and calories. Instead of serving heavy sugar-based beverages, try serving different varieties of wines from your local liquor store. For even less calories, you can try a refreshing wine spritzer. Simply add a little soda water to a light white wine, and add a few lemon or lime wedges. Also, when you mix sugar free sodas with spirits, it is also a low calorie option.
For the main course, think the three b’s; baked, bbq and broil. To cut back on added fat and calories, avoid frying your meal in butter or oil. A great idea for a dinner party is a quick and easy pasta toss. When it comes to pasta, try to stay away from alfredo and cream sauces. They are very rich and high in calories and fat content. A simple marinara sauce, or a little olive oil and garlic can go a long way, especially when you add fresh veggies.
If you use whole wheat pasta, you can cut out some of the starches and increase your fiber intake. And it’s delicious!
Penne with Asparagus and Smoked Salmon
Whole wheat penne pasta
1 bunch of fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
6oz of smoked salmon cut into strips
2 tbsp of fresh dill, chopped
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated.
– Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente.
– Bring another pot of lightly salted water to a boil and cook or steam the asparagus so that it is still crunchy. Rinse in cold water and drain.
– In a large mixing bowl, add the penne, asparagus, salmon slices, herbs, olive oil, cheese and salt and pepper (if desired)
– Toss well and serve
Nutritional information, per serving: Calories 406; Carbs 38; Fat 20; Protein 22.
Now onto everyone’s favourite part of the meal: dessert. It’s always a challenge to choose a delicious sweet treat that isn’t full of sugar. A delicious treat that is easy to make is angel food cake with fresh fruit.
Cinnamon Ripple Angel Food Cake
1 1/2 cups of egg whites (12 to 14 large eggs)
1 cup plus 1tbsp sifted cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar divided
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 to 4 tsp ground cinnamon
– Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
– Separate the eggs adding the whites to a measuring cup.
– Sift the flour before measuring. Add about half the sugar to the flour and sift again.
– Beat the egg whites in a large bowl, adding the salt and the cream of tartar to the whites as soon as they become foamy
– Continue beating, as soft peaks begin to form, add the remaining sugar and extracts.
– Beat until peaks form
– Using a spatula, gently fold the flour and sugar mixture into the egg white foam with ‘over and up’ motions.
– Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl or the flour mixture will sink.
– Mix only until the flour is moistened.
– Scrape the batter into pan in three or four layers. Sprinkle the cinnamon through a fine sieve onto the batter between layers.
– Bake immediately for 45 min.
– When the cake is removed from the oven, immediately invert the tube pan onto the counter.
(recipe from www.recipes4cakes.com/angelfood/ripplecake.htm)
Nutritional information, per serving: Calories 129; Carbs 29.4; Dietary fiber 0.1g; Protein 3.1g.
Liqueurs are a signature dessert partner. Instead of serving them with your coffee (they are loaded with sugar) visit your local coffee shop and buy a few different varieties of flavoured coffees and teas. They are a delicious alternative to heavy alcoholic beverages.
Photo ©iStockphoto.com/ Adam Booth