Cook up these healthy and delicious dishes for a guilt-free night of fun
Hosting an outdoor gathering on a beautiful evening is a perfect way to celebrate all that makes summer so awesome—great food and activities shared with friends in the fresh air!
To prevent excessive intake of sweets, rich food or alcohol that can turn the light and healthy feeling of summer into a heavy, overdone mode, choose a theme and make plans from there.
Consider these five fun ideas...
1. Tropical Night
Make pineapple the star in an all-natural fruit punch made fizzy with sugar-free soda water. Pair pineapple, grapes and cheese on a platter. Use pineapple in main dishes like sweet and sour chicken, grilled pineapple tofu kebabs or homemade Hawaiian pizzas. Finish with a dessert platter featuring a variety of bright and colourful tropical fruit.
2. Mediterranean Night
Take inspiration from the beautiful cuisine of Greece and Italy. Summer-ripe tomatoes, basil and healthy olive oil can be featured in appetizers like bruschetta, grilled vegetable skewers and even soup served in individual mini portions. Offer a variety of red, yellow and heirloom tomatoes as garnishes for homemade burgers.
3. All-Canadian Night
With red and white as the theme, make a vegetable platter using veggies like cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper strips and radishes interspersed with white cauliflower and jicama slices. Feature summer-ripe red fruit like cherries, watermelon, peaches and raspberries. Offer burger toppings showcasing different regions of Canada. For example, grainy mustard and whole wheat buns from Prairie-grown crops, smoked salmon and blueberry chutney from the West Coast and more from the different areas of the country. Perfect especially for Canada Day!
4. Sports Night
Theme the food around an active, healthy life. Offer a summer-ripe fruit smoothie bar and dishes that feature plant-based goodness like hummus, energy ball-style cookies, grilled chicken, salmon, fresh seafood or tofu and, of course, an abundance of vegetables.
5. Mexican Night
You can never go wrong with a taco bar heaped with homemade fresh salsa and guacamole. A virgin lime and strawberry margarita bar is a delicious, refreshing touch, too.
Along with the theme, consider putting some emphasis on the party other than making it entirely about the food. Guests could come in related attire or full costumes. Games and activities can be added that match the theme.