4 Healthy Potluck Recipes That Will Make You the Hit of the Party!
Cooking for a potluck doesn't have to be unhealthy or complicated. Here are 4 healthy, delicious recipes to get you started.
You've been asked to bring food for a potluck that is healthy and satisfies both children and adults -- no problem, right? Instead of loading the table with frozen appetizers and heavy dips (or asking your nanny to whip something up for you), bring some crowd-pleasing dishes with the help of these healthy potluck recipes.
Sweet or Savory
These recipes come from award-winning author and registered dietitian Clancy Cash Harrison. Harrison's food philosophy is simple: keep it fun and real. She advises parents to help children experience foods in different textures and allow them the ability to "learn to like" the food.
- Frozen pineapple on a stick. This dish is perfect on a hot, summer day. It also allows children to experiment with a different texture: frozen pineapple is not stringy at all! "When I did the pineapple on a stick it got a lot of attention," says Harrison. "You let it sit out for a couple of minutes before you eat it, and it's actually very creamy." If you want to increase the fun factor, bring some vanilla yogurt for dipping or sprinkle the fruit with cayenne pepper. Pack the frozen pineapple in a cooler with ice, and either take out the pineapple when you're ready to serve or let guests serve themselves from the ice chest. Kids will gobble up these Popsicle-like treats. But unlike Popsicles, which quickly turns to liquid, pineapple slices will remain frozen longer and won't make a mess when they thaw.
- Brain-boosting meatballs. According to Harrison, you should choose potluck dishes that taste even better the longer they sit. "Some dishes may get soggy and mushy. Stick to something that gets better with age," says Harrison. This savory dish is nutritious -- it is full of nourishing brain fats and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin D, choline, omega-3 fatty acids and iron. Plus, you can always modify the recipe to fit your tastes. Swap the spinach for hearty kale, or trade the beef for ground turkey. Kids will go nuts for this filling dish, and won't need Mom and Dad's help cutting these meatballs. Who wouldn't want to attend a party and come out smarter?
Amee Livingston, blogger at Amee's Savory Dish and author of "A Cup of Tea for Tiger and Me," loves clean eating and helping people make better food choices. "I like to make potluck dishes that have a lot of color from vegetables and contrasting textures," she says. Want to make your healthy potluck recipes truly unique? Livingston recommends adding a "wow" factor. "What distinguishes an everyday meal with one that has a 'wow' factor is definitely ease of preparation and plate presentation," says Livingston. Try these easy meals that you can prep ahead, but skip the fancy garnishes. Invest in stylish serving bowls and plates to spruce up your dish instead.
- Mexican chicken casserole. This is one meal that lets you throw everything together when you're in a pinch! "One great thing to think about when putting together a potluck dish is getting all of your food groups into one pan," says Livingston, "so you'll have less cleanup and a healthy, well-rounded meal that kids will love." With beans and chicken, this casserole serves up a dose of lean protein -- green pepper, tomatoes and salsa add eye-catching colors.
- Creamy ham and spaghetti casserole. Feed your guests a ham dinner, minus the hard work. "This recipe is a favorite of mine," says Livingston. It's easy to see why. This dish is fulfilling while also fun to eat! With mushrooms, peas, and low-fat dairy this dish is lighter than it looks, but kids will love the alfredo-like sauce.
Need more dinner ideas? Check out these quick meal ideas for busy moms.
Susana Marcelo is a writer, educator and mother of two who is usually over-caffeinated and carries way too many gel pens in her purse. Follow her on Twitter and say hello.