Lighten up your summer soiree with a delectable array of healthy treats that all your guests can enjoy. With warm temperatures upon us, it's time to start eating healthier and enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables. Impress your friends and family with these healthy menu ideas:
image by Shinsuke JJ Ikegame
If anyone knows how to feed a summer party crowd, it's chef Ina Garten of "The Barefoot Contessa." Her hummus recipe will start your party right. With just a handful of wholesome ingredients — chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and salt — you can mix up a delicious dip for crudités and tortilla chips. Tahini is a simple sesame seed paste, which has loads of heart-healthy benefits. Guests will dip into your homemade hummus without guilt and restriction, which is the only way to dip.
Fruity & Refreshing Drinks
Skip the alcoholic beverages if everyone's going to be in the sun all day. Since alcohol is a depressant, guests will feel sluggish when the sun goes down. And are those extra calories necessary? For a bright, refreshing drink that will nutritiously energize your soiree, break out the blender. Peel and slice ripe honeydew melon into big pieces and toss them into your blender along with some ice. The slushee-like drink, with just a hint of sweetness, will quench thirsts. Garnish with a lemon peel.
Don't put the blender away just yet. Smoothies are easy to concoct with a handful of fresh or frozen berries, a banana and water. Toss in a tablespoon of Chia seeds for protein. Serve in mason jars with straws and your guests' taste buds will swoon.
A Food Network summer soiree wouldn’t be top-notch without a recipe from the queen of sweet herself, Giada De Laurentiis. In less than an hour, you can mix up a batch of heaven, also known as Oatmeal, Cranberry and Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Each bite is full of chocolate chip goodness with delicious hints of oatmeal and cranberry.
For a light and summery sweet, treat your guests to mini Lemon Thyme Bars. Thyme, a healing herb, categorizes these bars as healthy, but keep in mind they do contain butter and flour. Bake mini versions so friends and family will have to try at least one!
Don’t leave out the quintessential summertime favorite — potato salad. Trade in those Yukon Gold potatoes for beta-carotene-rich sweet potatoes, the rich ingredient in Rachel Ray’s Sweet Potato Salad with Bacon recipe. Hot sauce gives it a kick, and without heavy mayonnaise this side dish is perfect for a hot summer day. Beta-carotene also helps our body generate Vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant. Indulging in this spicy dish will help keep the body cool.
Guy Fieri really sets the stage for a slimmed-down feast with his Grilled Tequila Lime Fish Tacos. First, marinate red cabbage in red wine vinegar, salt, sugar and one cup of cilantro or parsley. Parsley is chock-full of nutritious ingredients that have even been shown to reduce cancerous tumors. Red cabbage is a super food alternative to traditional head lettuce; it's an optimal source of Vitamin C.
Next, marinate firm white fish, such as Mahi Mahi, in a mixture containing cumin, lime and just a hint of tequila. Stuff grilled fish pieces into a warm tortilla, top with the cabbage, and you have a delicious, yet nutritious, twist on an old favorite.
Cooking up these exciting dishes may just turn you into a culinary connoisseur. If the Food Network is about to become the new love of your life, you can research cable packages at slackware.org for all your forthcoming cooking escapades and parties.