Hosting a party is a great way to gather with friends, enjoy great food and catch up on each other’s lives. Proper planning can ensure healthy eating with the right foods and portion control. But what happens when someone takes on a dish that’s beyond their culinary capability?
You’re probably well-aware of the risks of having a potluck. If you don’t set up a food list, you might end up with nothing but chips and dip for dinner. When you do create a list, the last person to see it is always stuck with the most difficult dish. Before you commit to the big night’s food offerings, take the time to assess your friends’ strengths and weaknesses for well-rounded and nutritious foods.
Plan the meals
Depending on the size of the party, you’ll want at least a few appetizers for people to pick at. Apps can be one of the quickest and easiest dishes to prepare. From a simple cheese plate to slightly more complicated tomato and mozzarella bites, these are small eats that you can easily put together right before guests arrive. This way, the food will be fresh, and you won’t have to worry about the appetizer-bringing partygoers arriving late.
This leaves salads, soups, entrees and desserts. Make sure you won’t have too much of one meal by designating a certain number of guests for each dish. Depending on everyone’s tastes, you might want to bulk up on salads instead of desserts. Keep the participants’ eating preferences in mind. Additionally, ask everyone about food allergies and let everyone know which ingredients should be avoided.
Encourage a cohesive potluck by establishing a theme or listing some suggestions. A fun way to promote healthy eating habits is to find an especially nutritious ingredient and making it the star of the dinner party. This can be something simple, like tomatoes or apples. This will get everyone’s creative culinary juices flowing and give them a chance to show off their skills in the kitchen.
Not everyone is comfortable with cooking, so remember to give people the option of purchasing foods. If you host potlucks often, you’ll have a better idea of which and how many friends prefer buying meals over creating them. This doesn’t have to take away from the spirit of the party. In fact, if these individuals are open to the idea, other friends who are kitchen-savvy can give them some lessons either before or during the potluck.
Chances are, many of your friends enjoy a good potluck, but don’t want to host the event themselves. It’s a lot of setup and cleanup work, so consider purchasing some disposable dishware to decrease the workload. But, one of the biggest problems that potluck hosts may face is the sheer amount of food that’s left over.
Prepare for this by addressing the leftovers before the potluck even begins. Let everyone know that they should bring empty sealable containers to ensure that you aren’t left with all the food at the end of the night. You can minimize or expand the amount of leftovers by setting meal preparation guidelines, letting everyone know that they should make enough for a certain number of persons.
A potluck, above all, is about having fun and enjoying the company. Mishaps are sometimes unavoidable, so it’s important to focus on the spirit of the party. However, planning the event and the courses well ahead of time and working with your friends’ strengths will be beneficial. Everyone will be eating healthy and delicious food, reveling and appreciating your efforts.