It’s summer, and the grilling is easy. But with swimsuit season in full swing, along with New Year’s Weight loss and diet resolutions, you won’t win any hostess-with-the-mostess awards by stuffing your party guests with heavy food. We asked David Tutera, author of America Entertains (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2003) and celebrity party planner to share his tips for throwing a healthy summer parties – whether it be a picnic or a backyard rager.
With Tutera’s advice, your friends will never know the party menu is diet friendly (unless they happen to get on the scale), and you won’t sabotage your own plans for summer weight loss. These tasty, diet friendly meal ideas are sure to be hit for summer entertaining!
Why offer the usual creamy french onion dip with limp potato crisps when healthier, more flavourful options abound? Skewer prawns and pineapple chunks on the grill for low fat nibbles, or mix cherry tomatoes and watermelon balls for a vibrantly coloured first-course diet friendly salad.
Party drinks needn’t be a choice between decadent piano coladas (mega kilojoule, morning-after bloat) and deprivational diet soft drinks (it’s a party, after all). Strike a delicious compromise with white wine sangria brimming with fresh fruit – a perfect summer drink for entertaining. Or, try David’s signature swill: Blend vodka, tonic and a splash of diet lemonade. Garnish with mint.
Serve party guests healthy grilled fish fillets brushed with honey on a bed of greens with a side dish of fruit, fruit salsa or mango chutney. It’s a main with a lot of plate appeal and without the hamburger hangover of old-school summer barbeque fare.
Sweeten the deal
Fruits and fresh berries topped with light cream or yoghurt will satisfy your guests’ sweet tooths without sending them spinning into sugar shock, says Tutera. For a cool diet friendly finale to your summer party, scoop a trio of frozen sorbets or light ice creams into a glass or an oblong dish and top them off with a sprig of mint or basil.
Set the scene
“A lot of people think summer parties are just about being outside,” says Tutera, adding that in summer entertaining, as in life, it’s the little things that count. So pick a fabulous tablecloth to set the mood, substitute your paper plates for colourful plastic, put out lots of candles and big pitchers of healthy, cool water and finish with vases of fresh flowers.
“Music is the heartbeat of any party,” says David. Not only is it a solution to avoid dreaded awkward silence, but the right summer soundtrack is bound to get your friends burning off their meals faster than your can say ‘low calorie pavlova’. Pop in a crowd-pleasing compilation like Buddha Bar or Cafe Del Mar and your party guests are good to groove.