Summer is prime time for enjoying foods outdoors, which involves a lot of planning, from meal preparation to cleanup. So where do you start?
- The Who: Figuring out the number of participants is essential. This will impact the amount of food you make, and may restrict the locations where you can hold the party. You’ll also want to figure out whether there should be any kids or dogs. Are you hoping for an adult-only party where everyone can catch up or are you looking to have a big playdate for the kids and the pets?
- Consider the location: You’ve got plenty of options when it comes to outdoor gatherings. First assess the level of intimacy you’d like. If you want everyone to focus on socializing, think about having the gathering in your backyard. If you’re more focused on everyone staying busy, consider the local park or the beach. Additionally, if you’ve got a large party, you’ll probably want to head to a public venue.
- Discuss allergies: Before you start pulling out your favorite recipes, talk to everyone in the group to find out if anyone has food allergies. Send out a mass email to everyone who’s invited. This way, all the cooks will know what ingredients to avoid.
- Plan the food: Here is your chance to encourage healthy eating. Skip the prepackaged chips and look for some nutritious and equally delicious alternatives, like home-baked sweet potato chips. Substitute unhealthy ingredients with better ones when creating dishes. Remember to bring food that will keep well in coolers. Top it all off with good-for-you treats such as sweet and juicy watermelons or peaches.
- Assess the drinks: Rather than pick up a few boxes of soda, grab a box of flavored or plain seltzer water instead. You can freeze bits of fruit in your ice cube trays to encourage healthier habits. Additionally, partygoers will love being able to customize their own drinks. They’ll even have a small snack to enjoy once the ice melts.
- Look for activities: Whether you’re having the party in your backyard or are heading out, you may want to look into activities that can encourage partygoers to mingle. This can be a friendly game of Frisbee or a free movie night at the park. If you’re having the gathering at your place, you can feature lawn games and even a pinata, if you’re up for it. Continue the healthy lifestyle trend by featuring pinata items that aren’t candy.
- Bring containers: Eating outside means sharing the space with Mother Nature. Keep the pests away by bringing food in sealable containers and kindly reminding attendees to put the lid back on when they’re done serving themselves. Think about asking everyone to bring empty containers so that there won’t be any leftovers or food that may go to waste. This can be especially important at public venues.
- Create fun invitations: In our modern age, it can be easy just to send out a mass text informing all your friends about the when, where and what. Make the get-together more memorable by creating physical invitations. You can print these out or write them by hand. Invite the kids to display their creativity on the invitations to make them truly unique.
With so many decisions to make and a number of steps to take, planning well ahead of time can ensure that you throw a successful summer get-together this year.