We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you ... you're just helping re-supply our family's travel fund.
For many people, eating healthy is both a challenge and a journey. No matter where you lie on this spectrum or where you might be on your food path, it is important to keep trying and keep going. Some days are better than others. Help make today a good day by incorporating some of these ideas into your meal plan. You will feel better having done so.
Add Healthy Sides
Vegetable side dishes such as this Asian green beans dish are the perfect accompaniment to any meal highlighting similar flavors. It is also suitable as a side for warm-weather grilling. By opting for an easy side that highlights the vegetables instead of dousing them in unhealthy dressings, you are creating a flavorful dish that will leave your guests wanting more.
Some of the best side dishes are the healthy ones that pack a lot of flavor without the addition of too many extra and unnecessary ingredients that eliminate all of the health benefits. Spices and a dash of olive oil are your friends here. And sometimes a quick saute or flash in the pan with extra virgin olive oil, salt, black pepper, and garlic is just right. Squeeze a lemon wedge over the top after plating for results that are delicious, satisfying, and still good for you.
Barring any nut allergies within your group of guests, roasting nuts is another good choice to incorporate a healthy side dish. Toss your nuts of choice, such as almonds or cashews, with olive oil, salt, and any other spice you wish. Some tasty options include paprika, sriracha and honey, or lots of black pepper. Once roasted, they can be added as is, incorporated into a salad, or plated next to the green beans.
Be Mindful Of the Main Dish
You want the star of your meal to be delicious and have visual appeal. To fill both of these requirements, you do not need to sacrifice your health. Select a lean protein such as chicken, beef, quinoa, or tofu. Plan to marinade as you like the night before. This way, the protein will soak up delicious flavors. When food is more flavorful, you tend to enjoy and appreciate it more.
If you have vegetarians and meat-eaters both coming to your meal, it is easy to create a healthy meal that includes both. This is easily done with the protein. If you wish, select lean beef and tofu. Slice or cube them and place them in separate containers but make the same marinade for each to keep the flavors complementary. By doing so, you will save time in shopping for ingredients as well as preparing the marinade. It will also be easier to work the side dishes to coordinate with the same flavors.
Watch this video for marinade recipe ideas. Please note that the video highlights vegan and tofu concepts, but these recipes work well with any protein.
Make the Meal Together
Inviting friends and family over to share a meal with one another does not mean you have to toil in the kitchen by yourself all day. Change how you approach entertaining others by involving them in the entire process. By including your guests in meal preparation, you get a chance to casually converse and catch up with one another before sitting down to eat. It is a great time to bond, listen to music, and work together.
Begin by creating a menu and then go shopping for the ingredients beforehand. Depending on what recipes you will make, you can decide whether you will prepare the ingredients in advance or wait until help arrives. If your meal involves lots of chopping or marinating, go ahead and accomplish some of those tasks before your guests’ arrival.
Once people start coming in, toss them an apron and put everyone to work. Ask guests to slice vegetables, chop nuts, or measure spices. You can even assign them an entire dish, especially an easy one such as the Asian green beans recipe mentioned above. By having extra hands helping make the meal, you will be less stressed, and the meal will come together quickly. This way, you are less likely to overeat due to stress once you sit down at the table.
With these ideas and tips at hand, you can go ahead and invite your loved ones over for a fun dinner party. Make new memories by making food with one another. This just might become a new favorite ritual when you entertain. Eat well and be happy.