Conscious Entertaining for the 21st Century

People have this belief that a party is an excuse to serve and eat unhealthy food. Let me tell you, it is not.

You are not having the only party of the year. We are going to functions and lectures and meetings and lunches and dinners and we are constantly bombarded with foods that are unhealthy.

Some might say, “Ok, so just eat a little bit.” I don’t want to eat just a little bit. I am a grown active woman. I’m hungry!

Speaking specifically of women, my notion of female beauty reveres women with meat on the bones. However, the majority of us cannot eat everything in front of us and keep our figures. When you serve unhealthy foods, you’re testing our will power. Thanks a lot!

Furthermore, many of us – both men and women- are now aware that our industrialized world has left us with food allergies and intolerances. We have to be discerning of our foods or we don’t feel well.  Also of importance, diabetes is on the rise and it’s not just inner city children that are suffering. People are watching their sugar intake.

Additionally, there are vegetarians, vegans, the paleo,the gluten-free, the dairy-free, and the organic only. I’m not saying that we aren’t a little meshuga with all this, but the point is: people are making the choice to be conscious about their eating.

Somehow we have let catered food be the standard with which we cook for our guests.

As a general rule, catered foods do not cater to conscious eating. They are filled with sugar. I’m talking sauces, not even desserts. They are fried. They are filled with cheese and white flour. One appetizer is an eggroll, the other is a gruyere quiche followed by a bite size taco with hot sauce. One has nothing to do with the other.

Those ingredients are not meant to be digested by your stomach all at the same time. Worse,  usually with appetizers there are not three, but six of them each inspired from a different continent and hence, digestively speaking, incompatible!

No wonder you feel bloated and rush out of to unhook your trousers in the car.

A gracious host or hostess recognizes that conscious food choices are being made by a majority of people on some level or another.  The gracious host makes the conscious decision to plan a conscious menu.

I am not suggesting you cater to each and every person’s individual needs but providing options for your guests is a nice touch. Nor am I suggesting that the food should taste like it came right out of a health food store. Flavor should never be sacrificed and it doesn’t need to be when using extra virgin olive oil based dishes with fresh meats and produce.

Serving healthy food is a classy touch. It is an act of love.  A show of respect.  A conscious choice.

Here are the thoughts that go through my head when assembling this menu:

If you are cooking, try following these rules. If you are having your party catered, show this list to the caterer. If they do not cook in such a way, find one who does!

Here is a summer appetizer cocktail menu that does just this.

  • Not more than one or two carby things
  • Include two types of  protein – one vegetarian or vegan, and one animal protein
  • fresh vegetables are not only healthy, they lighten the load and can aid with digestion. Include them.
  • Make sure that the vegans, vegetarians, pescatarian, dairy-free, gluten free people all have at least one thing to eat- These people already know that they are in for a challenge when they eat out. They have probably have already eaten something beforehand and will be so pleasantly surprised when they see that there is something for them to enjoy at your party.
  • Keep the sugar on low. (Even my desserts are on the less sweet side to help avoid end of the night food comas)
  • No more than 1 thing with white flour/wheat- it’s a treat but not good for us so keep it to minimum
  • Stick to one type of cuisine (Mediterranean, Mexican, Thai)-  meaning the foods are of the same palate and digestiveley compatible


TAGS: appetizers, carbs, cocktails, dairy-free, entertaining, food allergies, gluten-free, healthy, olive oil, paleo, sugar free