Between creating a meal plan, catering, being conscious of dietary restrictions, and allocating side dish responsibilities, hosting a successful Friendsgiving involves a lot of moving parts. Whether you can’t celebrate with your family this year or you’d prefer to celebrate with your friends, here are some tips for hosting a healthy Friendsgiving.
Create a flexible meal plan.
Thanksgiving dishes don’t have to be unhealthy. Turkey is a lean protein and adding a few fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help you create a healthy and balanced meal.
If you’re not sure where to start, try planning your meal around seasonal vegetables, like winter squash, swiss chard, and cauliflower. Place healthier plates around the table, and avoid soaking your veggies in butter, oil, or salt. Of course, you don’t have to completely omit comfort foods during your Friendsgiving dinner, but make sure to offer some healthier options.
For the ultimate delicious, healthy Friendsgiving dinner, consider some of these health-conscious side dishes:
- Low-carb cauliflower stuffing
- Holiday roasted vegetables
- Butternut squash soup
- Glazed sweet potatoes with lentils
- Shaved vegetable salad
Thanksgiving is about togetherness, and your Friendsgiving food and drink menu should be, too. Whether it’s a full menu or just a few sides, it’s important to serve food that all your guests can enjoy.
When sending out invites, ask each guest about their food allergies and dietary restrictions. When assigning dishes, let your attendees know about allergies and restrictions so everyone can create inclusive dishes, such as vegetarian-friendly side dishes.
Coordinate the rest.
If you’re planning to do the heavy lifting and cook the turkey, consider allocating a few side dishes and desserts to your friends. After creating your healthy Friendsgiving menu, ask for volunteers to bring in side dishes and desserts, and assign out the remaining dishes.
This can help ensure that you’ll have sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie—and that you won’t end up with four dishes of Brussels sprouts and no stuffing. After getting a general idea of your Friendsgiving headcount, let attendees know how many servings to make to avoid running out of food.
Additionally, consider asking attendees to arrive with their food warmed to serving temperature, as your oven will probably hold the turkey. You can also store a few side dishes in the microwave to keep them warm. Since microwaves are insulated, they can help keep food warm for up to 30 minutes.
Offer a few light refreshments.
Drinks are a must-have to wash down all of that comfort food, but beverages are also filled with empty calories. To keep your drink menu light and refreshing, here are a few low-cal recipes:
Remember: You’ll need enough wine, beer, or whiskey to go around. Be sure to figure out how much alcohol you’ll need for your Friendsgiving party in advance, and ask guests to contribute accordingly.
When planning your drink menu, make sure to include a few healthy nonalcoholic options, such as iced tea, black coffee, and water. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with hosting responsibilities, consider allocating bar duties to a friend or setting up a DIY drink station.
Slow down and enjoy the moment.
After devoting your time and energy to hosting a successful Thanksgiving, allow yourself to slow down, relax, and fully enjoy every moment with your close friends. To set the ambiance for your dinner, take some time to create a playlist or ask attendees to create their own.
When it’s time to eat, take note of the texture and flavor of every bite. Eating more mindfully can help you enjoy holiday comfort food without going overboard on calories. To avoid filling up too fast, be sure to eat breakfast, stay hydrated, and control your portions.
Friendsgiving hosts have the most difficult job of all, but with some delegation and careful planning, you can enjoy comfort food and holiday festivities with your closest friends.
[Feature Image: Unsplash]