Spring is here and so are celebrations such as graduations, weddings, birthdays, and family gatherings. These celebrations are a great opportunity for families and friends to get together. If you are hosting a party this spring, there are several things you can do to create healthy, active, and low cost celebrations.
Food is a big part of any celebration. The foods you serve at a party can be healthy, without your guests even knowing it. Here are a few simple, low cost ideas:
- Raw vegetables
- Fruit salad or melon balls
- Baked beans
- Baked chips
- Low-fat milk
- 100% fruit juice mixed with club soda instead of soda pop
Create excitement at parties by trying new and different foods. Try grilled turkey or veggie burgers instead of the traditional hamburgers. Or sample foods from different cultures.
Cakes and dessert are usually parts of a celebration and can still be included in a healthy celebration. Lightly frost cakes or skip the frosting and top with fresh or frozen fruit. Another idea is to top ice cream with strawberries instead of cookies and caramel sauce. Whatever cake or dessert you serve, it is important to keep the serving small.
Make preparing a meal part of your party activates. Preparing homemade pizza can be fun and less expensive than ordering a pizza from a restaurant. You can make the crust from scratch or try refrigerated pizza dough. Refrigerated biscuit dough or English muffins can also be used to allow each guest to make their own mini pizza. Top the crust with pizza sauce and toppings such as lean ground beef or ground turkey, veggies, and cheese. To control the cost, limit pizza choices to 2-3 toppings.
Being active makes everyone feel good. Keep your guests active during the celebration. For younger children, try traditional games such as Duck, Duck, Goose, Simon Says or tag. For older children and adults, take a walk instead of sitting and watch television. The University of Minnesota has more ideas on how to keep kids active.
To save money, try serving snacks or a "mini meal" instead of a full meal. Ideas may include a fruit kabob made from mandarin oranges, strawberries, and bananas, smoothies or small sandwiches. Save money by preparing less expensive snacks that will feed a lot of people such as watermelon slices or popcorn. For more low-cost recipe ideas, check out The Recipe Box from the University of Minnesota Extension
As you are getting ready for spring celebrations, try something new. The University of Minnesota Extension has an online recipe box filled with different foods, and activities can make the celebrations memorable. As you can see, parties can be a low cost, fun way to bring people together. For more tips on Healthy Celebrations, check out the USDA's Ten Tips to Healthy Celebrations fact sheet.