5 tips to host a healthy party

5 tips to host a healthy party

Robin Foroutan and Stephanie Mandel by Robin Foroutan and Stephanie Mandel

5 tips to host a healthy party

July 04, 2018

 BE A BETTER HOST - PLAN A HEALTH-CONSCIOUS COOKOUT

We all know the words healthy and BBQ are rarely used in the same sentence. But have hope, conscious cookouts do exist. With these five fresh tips and tricks, we are here to help you confidently host healthy, all while keeping your guests - kids included - happy. 

Healthy food options

 STARTER TIPS

Focus the meal around real and whole foods, and go organic whenever possible. The ‘organic’ label helps keep certain preservatives and GMOs off your plate.

Fresh produce, snacks, and sauces can be as affordable as the grab-and-go packaged alternatives — only requiring a little extra prep time. Fresh always tastes best!

Also, aim for 70% of your plate to be vegetables, a good practice in general, and one you can share with your friends and family.

 

TIP # 1

Choose quality meats.

AVOID PROCESSED, INDUSTRIALLY RAISED, FACTORY FARMED

Quality meat for healthy habits

The grill is a staple for backyard BBQs and 4th of July cookouts. The healthiest treat to give to your guests will be organic, pasture-raised, grass-fed meat.

AVOID CONVENTIONAL HOT DOGS.

It’s sad but true - this American staple is often packed with processed and potentially harmful ingredients, like nitrates and nitrites, which have been linked to certain cancers.

healthy hot dogs

Instead, choose organic, nitrate-free, all-beef hot dogs.

WE ALL LOVE THOSE GRILL MARKS, BUT…

The yummy char is not just unhealthy, it's potentially harmful.

 

Healthy party option - grilled veggies

Grilling meats (beef, poultry, and fish included) at high temperatures form harmful cancer-causing compounds, like PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and HCAs (heterocyclic amines). When the fat from the meat drips onto the hot coal, PAHs form and deposit onto the food via the rising smoke and flames.

 A PREVENTATIVE MEASURE

Cancer-proof your BBQ by marinating with anti-oxidants.
Studies show that certain foods can block the carcinogenic compounds from forming. Marinating meat in certain herbs and spices cuts the formation of HCA's by up to 90%.

 

 BOTTLED BBQ SAUCE WON'T HELP

They're usually packed with sugar and can actually increase the HCA formation in your food. It's tastier and healthier to make your own sauce at home. Look for recipes that call for a no-sugar-added, vinegar-based marinade. Use fresh herbs and spices: garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, sage, oregano, thyme, and lemon juice as they are all anti-oxidant rich, and act as PAHs and HCA fighters.

 

Check out our blog post for healthy marinade ideas.

healthy skewers

FUN NOTE: GRILLED VEGGIES ARE SAFE!

They are immune to it - PAHs and HCAs don’t form on veggies at all.

 TIPS TO BUYING QUALITY IN BULK

Although the best quality often comes with a higher price tag, the conventionally-made, highly processed options may come with considerable health risks. If affordability is a concern, here are a few tips:

 

  • Don’t just buy beef; get a variety: chicken skewers are great additions to the menu. No need to be burger-centric.
  • Prep small sliders for better portion control. Win both in the quality and quantity category.
healthy party option - grilled corn and skewed veggies
  • Pack the grill with a ton of vegetables, which are more affordable in bulk, only requiring a little extra prep time.
healthy party option - sliced radishes and cucumber
  • Stick it: Any meat that can fit on a skewer can be paired with a colorful, nutritious vegetable.

TIP # 2

Prep veggies as sides.

THEY CAN BE DISGUISED AS BBQ STAPLES

healthy chopped veggies

The ultimate health tip is keeping most of your plate full of vegetables. Instead of serving a salad, sneakily serve healthy and creative bites that guests can munch on while they wait for their burgers to be flipped.

And ensure no party ‘crashing’ — keep the energy up by offering no carb, low carb, or ‘slow’ carb sides.

LET'S GET SNEAKY

Disguise low carb veggies as BBQ staples.

healthy mashed potatoes

A great (and almost indistinguishable) alternative to mashed potatoes is cauliflower mash. Buy frozen cauliflower rice for an easier and quicker prep, and simply add bacon or garlic. This is a much healthier, low carb side dish for your guests.

IF IT FITS ON A STICK, SKEWER IT.

Most things taste better when grilled.

As mentioned above, veggies are immune to char-related carcinogenics. Thread any kind of veggie possible through a skewer: mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, and zucchini. Add asparagus to the lineup too.

 

PRO TIP: COOL YOUR POTATOES

Resistant starch is a hot topic now - and a superfood for your gut.

It acts like soluble fiber and offers many health benefits, including improving insulin sensitivity, reducing inflammation, and lowering blood sugar levels. ‘Activate’ these benefits by letting your potatoes cool before serving them.

OTHER DELICIOUS RECIPES IDEAS FOR

VEGETABLE BASED SIDES:

healthy side dish - broccoli

  • Potato salad in radicchio cups
  • Zucchini pasta
  • Deviled eggs (guacamole filled, even!)
  • Broccoli slaw

 

TIP # 3

Sneaky snacks.

ATTRACT THE KIDS 

sliced veggies with a healthy dip
  • Attract the kids by cutting raw veggies in a fun way. Try stars and stripes for the 4th! Even arranging the veggies into a flag pattern will attract more people to this plate.
  • Homemade dips are the way to go - store-bought dips can be loaded with unnecessary added sugars. Our Pinterest page has lots of recipe ideas!
  • If you think chips are a must, read the label before you buy. Opt for brands that use coconut or avocado oils. Many oils are heavily processed and promote inflammation. Avoid brands that use: soybean, canola, corn, cottonseed, or peanut oils.
healthy nut options
  • Offer a bowl of homemade, spicy nut mix. Buy the nuts raw, add your herbs and spices, and roast in the oven. Prepackaged roasted and salted nuts are usually made with inflammatory hydrogenated vegetable oils and MSG, which can counteract their many health benefits.

TIP # 4

Sweets and treats.

HEALTHY DESSERTS TIPS

healthy fruit popsicles
  • Get creative with fruit - grilled pineapple, peaches or watermelon wedges are much healthier than your store-bought ice cream sandwich.
  • Dates are great - although super sweet, they are also very high in fiber. Scoop the centers out and fill with a nut butter (try almond, cashew or sunflower seed butter). Sprinkle a little-shredded coconut, and voila!
  • For the advanced, ambitious planners: impress your guests by making your own avocado ice cream using the energy-boosting superfood cacao — sweetened with monk fruit or stevia.
  • For the kids (if some watermelon isn’t enough), serve fruit-only popsicles.

TIP # 5

Stay hydrated.

DRINKING AND THE SUN IS NOT THE HEALTHIEST MIX 

watermelon and lemon with a healthy drink
  • Create a hydrating punch: watermelon juice, although high in sugar, is over 90% water and full of vitamins and electrolytes that help to stave off dehydration and harmful fluid imbalances. If you are looking for an extra punch, stick with ’neutral' clear spirits like vodka or tequila for your punch, and garnish with a watermelon wedge.
  • EAT water. Almost a quarter of our water intake daily comes from our food. We are better equipped to hold onto the water if we eat it, versus drink it — it is absorbed more slowly, which means it stays in our bodies longer.
  • Water-rich foods don’t just stop at watermelons: serve up some cucumbers, cantaloupe, strawberries, or celery.

We've got your back.

This guide was written by Dr. Morrison and the health and nutrition experts at The Morrison Center. Our team is dedicated to helping you achieve optimal health through the treatment and prevention of disease. You are what you eat, and we hope you have a happy and healthy 4th of July.

 

THE TEAM

Dr.Jeffrey Morrison

JEFFREY A. MORRISON, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Morrison is an award-winning medical doctor, a leader in the field of Integrative Medicine, and champion of a nutritional approach to healthcare.

Robin Foroutan - nutritionist

ROBIN FOROUTAN, MS, RDN, HHC

Robin Foroutan, MS, RDN, HHC is a registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in Integrative Medicine, Functional Medicine and holistic healing modalities.

Stephanie Mandel - nutritionist

STEPHANIE MANDEL, NC, HEALTH COACH

Stephanie Mandel obtained her Nutrition Consulting certification with honors from Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition in Berkeley, California.

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