Food is a basic human necessity for survival. We eat to live, but we also eat to
enjoy and savor the taste of food. Most Americans plan their day around meal times; we wake up and eat breakfast, break for lunch and then gather around the dinner table to relax and talk about our days. Sharing meals with family and friends can be a fun time to socialize but also can lead to less than healthy eating habits.
Potlucks are a great way to create a fun and social atmosphere without the task of picking and paying for a nice restaurant meal. Make the potluck a time to relax and enjoy your friends and family. You can celebrate girls’ night out, gather together to watch your favorite television show or start a book club.
Tips to Make Potlucks Fun and Healthy:
You may ask, why choose a weekly theme? Themes are not only fun, but also give people ideas to come up with creative foods. Themes can encourage people to try new recipes that they would have otherwise not attempted. It also brings variety to the dinner table: the more creative the theme, the better the meal turns out. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.
Balance Out Your Meal
Another important element to think about when creating a successful healthy potluck is balancing out the meal. When you prepare a meal at home, your nutrition knowledge leads you to choose a protein (bean, meat, chicken, fish, tofu, etc.), carbohydrate or starchy vegetable (rice, pasta, potato, corn) and vegetable to create a well-balanced meal. You can rotate who brings the vegetable choice, often a hard component to tackle at potlucks, to keep your potluck meals equally balanced. Motivate creative vegetable dishes so people do not think it is a chore, but rather a challenge. Encourage people to try new recipes, but keep it simple with just one to two vegetables in a dish. Remind them that they can always purchase pre-packaged vegetables and create something wonderful in under 30 minutes!
Grilled Shrimp and Arugula Salad
Prep time: 30 minutes 6 servings
|3 Cups fresh Arugula||1 Garlic Clove, minced|
|1 lb De-veined Shrimp||1 Tbsp Olive oil|
|½ Cup tomato, chopped||Dash of Salt and Pepper|
|1 Whole Orange, peeled & cut (try to cut between the slices to avoid the skin)|
|1 Whole Lemon||Dash of Salt and Pepper|
|½ Cup Olive Oil||Dash of Garlic Powder|
Marinate shrimp in a bowl with the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Heat sauté pan to medium heat and cook shrimp mixture until pink and firm. Place on paper towel to soak up excess oil and let cool.
Mix arugula, oranges and chopped tomatoes in a salad bowl, add shrimp once cooled to room temperature and place to the side. To create the dressing, squeeze lemon juice into a small bowl, stir juice and slowly add in the olive oil while whisking mixture. Add in garlic salt, salt, and pepper to taste. Toss salad gently with dressing and enjoy!