Ask guests about allergies or special dietary needs, and plan and prepare accordingly.
- Have a starter or light appetizer course followed by a main course and dessert. Or serve a variety of appetizers with salad and dessert, and omit the main course. A variety of lighter food choices help guests resist the temptation to overindulge.
- Ask guests about allergies or special dietary needs, and plan and prepare accordingly. Check out these articles for important information:
- Label each dish so guests know what they're eating.
- Garnish with aromas and color instead of calories.
- Add slices of fresh lemons and limes, or sprigs of parsley, basil, mint or rosemary to dishes.
- Stuffed mushrooms are a great appetizer and double as a garnish.
- Use fruit kabobs as drink stirrers, and use small straws to thread the fruit.
Easy, Healthy Appetizers
- Raw vegetables with dip, fruit kabobs with cheese, cooked shrimp or raw veggie kabobs, or an elegant shrimp cocktail platter all make delectable appetizers. Add selections from the Olive & Antipasti Bar, and include whole-grain crackers, thin slices of bread or baguettes, and salsa, guacamole or hummus for dipping.
- Spread smoked salmon or nova lox with lite cream cheese, roll the slices like jelly rolls, cut them into rounds, and arrange them on a serving platter with toothpicks. Try this Smoked Salmon Rolls recipe.
- Hollow out your favorite large vegetable or fruit and use it as a festive holder for dips or cut-up fruits or veggies. Choices that work well include bell peppers, whole pineapples (cut in half lengthwise), oranges, and melons.
Smart Main Courses
- Broiled beef, chicken or tofu kabobs make great main courses – and cut down on prep time for you. Use a half-head of purple or green cabbage or eggplant as a decorative kabob holder. Simply wash your vegetable, cut it in half and place it cut-side down on a plate. Insert the kabob skewers and garnish your platter with fresh mint, basil or parsley.
- Use “slider” buns or small rolls rather than regular-sized sandwich buns. For a unique twist, make sandwich wraps, cut them on the diagonal, and arrange them on a holiday platter. Vary the colors and flavors of the wrappers and fillings. Or try this breadless sandwich: Ham & Swiss Reuben Roll-Ups Recipe.
- Serve cheese fondue with chunks of crusty bread, cooked meats, vegetables, and kabobs.
- Offer at least two vegetables or a vegetable and salad with your main course. At least one of the vegetables should be simple, such as roasted broccoli or whole green beans sprinkled with slivered almonds or grated Pecorino-Romano cheese.
- Always offer a lower-calorie salad dressing or balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
- Opt for buffet-style serving to let guests control their own portions.
Delectable Dessert and Drinks
- Cut desserts into mini portions so guests have “tastes” of several favorites.
- Feature a bowl of fresh fruit.
- Along with bite-size pies or small cake slices, add variety with bite-sized “tarts” made with prepared phyllo or cookie cups. Try filling with blueberries or raspberries and whipped cream; strawberries and a drizzle of chocolate; pumpkin-pecan filling; lemon curd served right from the jar or blended with whipped topping or Greek yogurt and topped with fresh raspberries.
- Chocolate fondue is an impressive dessert. Offer chunks of pears, apples, fresh strawberries, pineapple, and pound cake or angel food cake.
- Coffee drinks can be a way to end a night with a dessert-like flair.
- Offer small pieces of specialty chocolates instead of heavy desserts.
- Keep punch cold with style. Create unique ice cubes by placing a washed berry, mandarin orange section or pineapple chunk in each cube slot. Create a decorative ice ring by filling the mold halfway with water or juice, arranging the fruit, and freezing. After the mold is frozen, add the remaining water or juice.
- Offer decaffeinated coffee, herbal teas and alternative sweeteners.
- Combine sparkling soda with juice or wine and lots of ice for low-calorie spritzers.
- Serve flavored low-calorie waters and other low-calorie beverages.
Download the Giant Eagle Entertaining Guide.
Brought to you by the Registered Dietitians at Giant Eagle and Market District®