How To Eat Vegetables Without Feeling Like You’re On A Diet

What do you think of when you think of vegetables?

Does “eating diet food” come to mind, or is it one of your favorite foods?

Does it sound like something you “have to” or “should” eat, or just another part of your meals?

There is nothing inherently diet-y about vegetables, but diet culture has really taken advantage of them! 

It might feel a bit simple to write a whole blog post about vegetables, but we have found many clients associate them so closely to diets that their relationship with them can be disordered – so we thought it was worth talking about a little further.

You can enjoy vegetables how YOU like them, not how diet culture says you are supposed to eat them (i.e. with dressing on the side, or raw without dipping in ranch)!

Keep reading to see how your view of vegetables might be altered due to your dieting history, and how you can eat more vegetables without dieting. 

Dieting and Diet Culture Can Distort Your View of Certain Foods

Diet culture has created us to believe that some foods are “good” while others are “bad” – pitting the two against each other. Brittany Jones Nutrition Group dietitians teach food freedom, which allows unconditional permission to eat all foods, and can help us be more attuned with our body. 

Remember that “Force-feeding” yourself vegetables will move you in the opposite direction of trusting your body. 

As we learn to trust our body and its choices, we begin to strike a balance between functional and fun foods and it becomes a much more natural process. 

We have also seen how all-or-nothing thinking with vegetables can sneak in. If you have heard in a past diet that you can only have steamed, bland vegetables, low fat/low sugar dressing (or even worse- no dressing!), it is understandable how that would not satisfy you! If you have used vegetables to cover up a craving because they have little “points” (etc), you probably have realized this does not work and will only make your craving more intense. These experiences are common, and know that vegetables don’t have to be consumed in this way.

It is important to also note that your view toward vegetables might be altered from your experiences as a child. If you were forced to eat certain vegetables or if you were rarely exposed to them, this will also have an impact. Have compassion on yourself if it feels like you are “picky” when it comes to vegetables. It is never too late to just start trying and experimenting. 

Shift To An Abundance Mindset

Another reason people might avoid eating vegetables is that it is often used as a replacement for things when dieting. You can eat a lot of vegetables without having to make it a replacement for something else in the meal! By all means if you like cauliflower rice – go for it – but we would still love to see you add some carbs to your meal such as corn/peas/beans or some bread/crackers. If you love rice, eat the rice and have some vegetables on your plate as well.

It can be helpful to think how we can ADD to a meal or snack, not replace it. As you begin to try to incorporate vegetables in new ways, know that there might be some vegetables that you like and some you don’t, and that is okay! 

How To Make Vegetables Tasty 

Here are some ideas to incorporate more vegetables from a place of abundance, not restriction: 

  1. Start with a list. Think of the vegetables you like and the ones you have not tried or want to try making differently. Sometimes it can be helpful to think of something you have had before at a restaurant (like those crispy brussels sprouts or interesting salads) and want to try to recreate it! 
  2. Branch out in the kitchen. If you like steaming, go for it! But sautéing, roasting, and grilling can bring out amazing textures and flavors. If you have an air fryer (or convection oven), this can make vegetables really crisp. 
  3. Experiment with seasonings and marinades. Just like you marinate your meat for the grill, try marinating your vegetables! Think beyond salt and pepper- we love all the spice blends at Trader Joes! For those that find vegetables bitter, try using maple syrup or honey in a marinade or when roasting to cut the bitterness. 
  4. Don’t be afraid of oil. Not only does the oil help with satiety and in enhancing taste, it helps you absorb all the fat-soluble vitamins in vegetables. Also, you will thank yourself when cleaning the pan!
  5. Think beyond a side. Sides are great, but you can also enhance whatever you’re making by throwing some extra vegetables in the mix. Making a breakfast casserole or omelet? Maybe add some peppers and onions. Your favorite pasta dish or soup? Think about some throwing in frozen spinach or fresh mushrooms.
  6. Sauce it up. There are so many different things you can do in this area. Maybe it looks like a balsamic glaze, hummus, chimichurri drizzle, or some other dipping sauce. 
  7. You don’t have to order salad dressing on the side! You would be surprised how much more satisfying a salad is when it’s tossed nicely WITH the dressing. 

Check Out Some of Our Favorite Brittany Jones Nutrition Group Vegetable Recipes

We hope this gets you started on how you can be adding vegetables to your diet coming from a place of abundance. If you would like some ideas to get you started, check out some of ours below: 

TD Saturday Market Peach Panzanella Salad

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since I moved to Greenville, SC! I moved here for a job with a start up company after graduating from the Medical University of South Carolina Dietetic Internship, and never looked back.

A LOT has changed in the last decade. I met my person and married him, traveled a ton, had a baby, bought a house, and held several jobs before finally starting and growing my own business!

I was honored to be asked by the TD Saturday Market to participate in their Kitchen Series as it has always been one of my favorite activities in our city!

SC peaches are my absolute favorite, and I had so much fun combining them with ripe tomatoes, fresh cucumbers, meat, cheese, and of course delicious sourdough bread! My recipe features produce from Beachwood Farms, Hyders Farm, and Great Harvest Bread.

Check out my full TD Saturday Market experience and the recipe below!

Farmers Market Peach Panzanella Salad

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup White Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  • 3 Medium Ripe Peaches, sliced
  • 2 Tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 Small Red Onion, Peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 Cups Cucumber, sliced into half moons
  • 12oz Fresh Mozzarella, cut into small pieces
  • 4 Cups Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread, 1 day old & cubed
  • 6 Slices Prosciutto, sliced

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, honey, and Dijon mustard. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the peaches, tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, mozzarella, cubed bread, and prosciutto. Gently toss with the dressing.
  3. Arrange the salad on a large platter and top with fresh ground pepper.
  4. Enjoy!

Thanksgiving Recipe Round Up

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is just two weeks away?!

Though this year might be a little be different due to COVID19 guidelines and safety, we’ve been getting a lot of inquiries for recipes for your smaller holiday dinners.

Check out this round up of recipes that I’ve shared over the past 3 years, from salads, to sides, to desserts – there is something for everyone. Happy cooking!

Start with this Autumn Broccoli Salad

This recipe is for the nights you find yourself saying, “I have to bring a side dish to a party, but have no time!” Just chop up your seasonal vegetables listed below, and whisk together a few simple salad dressing ingredients, and there you have a delicious side dish that all your friends and family will love! Get the recipe here.

Everyone will love these Roasted Garlic and Chive Mashed Cauliflower Potatoes

These potatoes cover two bases by using half gold potatoes, and half cauliflower. The texture and flavor is amazing, and your guests/kids won’t be able to tell that they are also getting in some non-starchy vegetables! Get the recipe here.

Easy Honey Roasted Rainbow Carrots are a great last minute dish

If you are still looking for an easy and healthy dish, check out my Honey Roasted Rainbow Carrot recipe. With only 5 ingredients, you can easily throw it together to get some color on the table! Get the recipe here.

Spruce up the spread with these SAUTEED GREEN BEANS WITH TOASTED ALMONDS, LEMON & GARLIC

This dish is quick, easy and packed with fiber and good heart healthy fats from the almonds! If you don’t have a dish to bring to Thanksgiving dinner – I’ve got you covered! Get the recipe here.

Bring a high protein vegetarian dish with this MAC AND CHEESE WITH GREENS recipe

It’s a great spin on a classic dish! You can make this mac and cheese two ways: eat it right off the stove top or bake it for a more crispy crust. Get the recipe here.

Rosemary Roasted Vegetables for the win!

Often times we notice that the dishes at parties feature mostly proteins and starches, but very few contain vegetables. That’s why we always recommend bringing a vegetable dish to add some color to the spread! Get the recipe here.

dessert made easy with these maple walnut baked pears

We’ve come up with a festive holiday snack or dessert that only has five ingredients and is very simple to make. Just put together your ingredients, let it bake, and there you have a delicious Maple Walnut Baked Pear! Get the recipe here.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone – stay safe and stay healthy!

Last Minute Gift Guide

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I don’t know about you, but this whole Christmas is three weeks after Thanksgiving is NOT going very well for me! This holiday season has been a struggle with parties, travel, gifting, and Q4 deadlines.

That’s why I’ve put together this last minute gift guide. I’ve compiled this list with both wellness and time in mind. It starts with some quick-ship options and ends with downloadable options perfect for your Christmas Eve “oh crap” moments. I hope you enjoy it and happy shopping!

Wellness Gifts with 2-Day Shipping

  • A weighted blanket is perfect for the cold winter weather, and it also helps with decreasing stress/anxiety. This blanket is on sale on Amazon and will arrive in 2 days with prime shipping!
  • A gratitude journal to help celebrate every day WINS (no matter how the rest of the day went). This written exercise helps facilitate mindfulness and helps with forming a permanent positive mindset. Order it on Amazon and will arrive in 2 days with prime shipping!

Wellness Gifts You Can Pick Up Today

  • A gift certificate to the Brittany Jones Nutrition Group. Gift the gift of wellness this holiday! We offer gift certificates for nutrition packages, or in a dollar amount of your choice. Our office will be open until Monday 12/23 at 7PM and Allison will be available to assist you with your purchase and gift certificate. (We can also ship a gift certificate to you if you place your order by Fri 12/20!)
  • A letter board for writing intentions, positive messages and important reminders. Pick up this one at your local Target.
  • A sparking water maker from Soda Stream. We love sparkling water brands like La Croix and Spindrift, but why not make your own? Not only will it help you save money and make your grocery haul easier, you will also cut back on waste. Pick up this one at your local Target.

Wellness Gifts You Can Download Instantly

  • eCookbooks authored by our Registered Dietitian and CEO Brittany Jones! All 5 of our cookbooks can be downloaded to your computer or tablet (even if it’s Christmas morning!)
  • A Spa Gift Card for some self care in 2020! If you are in Greenville, SC I love the Spa at The West End – not only do they have gift cards for specific services but you can also purchase a day spa packages which are *incredible* You can purchase, download and print your certificate instantly making it a perfect last minute gift.

Merry Christmas from the Brittany Jones Nutrition Group!

Healthy Frozen Treats with WSPA

Every year the last few weeks of summer always feel like the hottest. Stay cool and hydrated with these homemade popsicles! They are easy to make, have less than 5 ingredients each and are a cool snack after a long hot day.

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Raspberry Lime Popsicles

Serves: 6 popsicles

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups raspberries
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 6oz water
  • 1 Tablespoon agave

Directions:

  1. Place the rapsberries, lime juice, water and agave in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Fill each popsicle mold to the fill line with the mixture,  insert popsicle stick and freeze for at least 6 hours
  3. To unmold your pops, run the forms under warm water for 10-20 seconds before eating!

Check out these great Zoku Classic Pop Molds, 6 Easy-release Popsicle Molds With Sticks and Drip-guards, BPA-free

Have nutrition questions or want to know more about becoming a Brittany Jones Nutrition Group client? Contact us here!

Instagram Accounts We 💗

Brittany Jones Nutrition Group

Comparison is the killer of all joy.

Comparison is something that comes up in our client sessions often, and today we wanted to take a minute to talk about comparing ourselves to others in our community –  how it can negatively impact our goals.

Your community is not just about the people you physically choose to surround yourself with anymore – it’s also about the community that you create for yourself on social media. This includes brands/businesses, gyms, influencers/bloggers, friends, and family.

If a photo you saw social media is creating negative self talk – unfollow that account now. You don’t have time for that!

Practice avoiding the comparison of current self to your old-self, your friends, family, strangers, coworkers, neighbors and ESPECIALLY photoshopped media and social media images. Social media is a place to selectively connect with others and build your community – make sure yours is a positive one!

Here are some of our favorite Instagram accounts to follow:

  1. @victoriamyers_ : Victoria is a body positive Registered Dietitian in Florida. She is the owner of her own private practice, Nourishing Minds Nutrition and the host of the Nourishing Women Podcast. She is a new mom and in her practice, she places an emphasis on women’s nutrition and wellness without fad diets.
  2. @find.food.freedom: This is one of our favorite accounts to follow, because they are so REAL. Sammy, Mindy and Aimee take a no BS approach to nutrition and call out all things diet culture. Our favorite is their f*** diet Friday series. Check it out – you won’t be able to stop laughing!
  3. @stephaniechinart : Stephanie is an illustrator from Toronto, Ontario. She shares her body positive and women’s empowerment designs over on her Instagram account. Stephanie utilizes her talents to tell women that they are more valuable than how society defines women.
  4. @Kait.hurley : Kait is the founder of the KAIT app. In her app she creates mindful movement by implementing a meditation session in each workout. Her goal is to use exercise to help individuals get stronger both physically and mentally – something we can get behind.
  5. @thebodypositive : The Body Positive is a non-profit from California that helps people overcome conflicts with their bodies to lead happier, more productive lives. Over on their Instagram, they use real women’s quotes, experiences, and artwork to express real body positivity.
  6. @aerie is a female underwear and swimwear brand owned by American Eagle. Aerie was one of the first clothing lines to leave their photos untouched. They use the hashtag #aeriereal to give women the power to share images of their real untouched bodies.
  7. @thirdlove Third Love is a bra and underwear company for women that carries 78 different sizes. Their mission is to supply bra sizes to accommodate women of all sizes and shapes and they promote this on their social media. (Also now is the time to unfollow Victoria’s Secret and all of their models that make you feel inadequate.)
  8. @girlfriend Girlfriend Collective is an active wear line based in Seattle Washington. Their pieces are ethically manufactured, made of sustainable materials, and they carry sizes from XXS to 6XL.
  9. @bodyimagewithbriBri is a licensed professional counselor living in a larger body. She works as an individual counselor focusing on body image and also provides supervision for professionals that want to learn more in this area. She posts many helpful tips on reframing negative body image thoughts and dealing with body image grief.
  10. @et.the.rd: Esther Tambe is a Weight inclusive Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. Esther strongly believes nutrition is an important topic for the African-American community but especially for young women, who may not connect with traditional weight-centric messages they see and hear about nutrition from society. She is committed to increasing awareness of eating disorders/disordered eating and weight inclusive nutrition counseling in Black communities.
  11. @chelseahester: Chelsea is a certified intuitive eating counselor and anti-diet coach living in NYC. She focuses on teaching people how to make peace with their bodies and food. She states her perfect future would be where all people can “embrace [their] curves, share meals filled with laughter, and wake up every morning proud and grateful to be exactly who [they] are.”
  12. @schultzzie: Sierra is a body positive youtuber, social media influencer, and new mom. She has been open about her own struggles with body image, PCOS, and bipolar disorder. Many of her videos focus on unrealistic beauty standards and fashion. She owns a clothing line called Confident and Kind that supports body positivity.
  13. @encouragingdietitian: Christyna is a weight inclusive dietitian that helps people find a peaceful and sustainable relationship with food and their body. Her mission is to create equitable access to evidence-based weight-inclusive space for individuals seeking nutrition education regarding intuitive eating and eating disorder recovery. She also has a blog and podcast you can find on her website.
  14. @dietitiananna: Anna is a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian, Certified Intuitive Eating Specialist and owner of Whole Life Nutrition Counseling. She proudly identifies herself as a disabled woman and is passionate about bridging the gap between the able-bodied and disabled worlds. Anna’s goal is to help others heal their relationships with food and body, trust their own wisdom, appreciate self-care, and to enjoy every bite along the way.
  15. @thenutritiontea: Shana labels herself as an “eat anything” dietitian. She focuses on challenging diet rules and common nutrition misinformation. She practices using the Health at Every Size Approach. Fun fact – she also has a B.S. in Fashion Merchandising!
  16. @jennifer_rollin: Jennifer is therapist and founder of The Eating Disorder Center in Rockville, Maryland. She has a certificate in Enhanced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Eating Disorder, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. Her pro-eating disorder recovery posts reach many, encouraging others to challenge negative thoughts and give themselves compassion.
  17. @alissarumseyrd: Alissa is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor,  Body Liberation Coach, and author of “Unapologetic Eating.” She strives to create a space that is inclusive and equitable for all body shapes and sizes, races and ethnicities, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations, and abilities. Her Instagram posts keep it real – the perfect balance of humor and facts to help you ditch the diet mentality and challenge negative food and body image thoughts.

What are your favorite accounts to follow? Let us know in the comments below!

Meet Our NEW Registered Dietitian: Christie Griffin, RD, LD, CDE, CSOWM

I am very excited to announce Christie Griffin, RD, LD, CDE, CSOWM as the newest member of the Brittany Jones Nutrition Group team! Christie offers nutrition counseling in packages of three or six sessions in our Medical Nutrition Therapy program. Keep reading to learn more about her background, her favorite food, and the #1 that she wants her new clients to know.

View More: http://kellimcabeephotography.pass.us/brittany-jones-rebrand

Q&A with Christie Griffin, RD, LD, CDE, CSOWM

Q: Where are you from originally?

A: I am originally from Atlanta, GA. I grew up in a family with 2 younger sisters and parents who loved all things sports. I played Varsity Tennis all through out high school. When I graduated high school it was off to Clemson University to study Nutrition!

Q: Why is being a Registered Dietitian your dream job?

A: I struggled with being overweight and my relationship with food when I was younger. I went to Clemson University to study nutrition to learn more for my own benefit and to help others. Years later, I love helping others learn to love food, and how it can help them (and not hurt).

Q: You also are a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), what made you want to specialize in diabetes?

A: I first started practicing as a dietitian in the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina, which has one of the highest rates of Type II Diabetes in the country. I worked with a Registered Nurse who was also a CDE to create and implement a Diabetes Self Management Program to help better meet the needs of the patients in that community. The more people I saw with diabetes, the more I wanted to learn about this disease. I then began to pursue getting certified as a Diabetes Educator myself!

Q: What is your favorite food?

A: Veggie pizza or roasted potatoes…oh and PICKLES!

Q: Take us through your typical day.

A: One of the things I love most about being a dietitian is every single day is different. Most days of the week I wake up and go to Orangetheory Fitness Greenville for my favorite HIIT workout. I started 6 months ago and I have loved seeing the progression in my endurance and strength! Other mornings I might walk my golden retriever Barkley around the neighborhood. For breakfast, I almost always have a Berry Protein Smoothie and some hot tea. I also work for the Business Health Department for Prisma Health where I get to meet with employees of the hospital as well as other companies in the area. My days are mostly filled with one on one appointments with clients for Prisma Health and/or the Brittany Jones Nutrition Group discussing weight loss and chronic disease management, or teaching group classes on various health topics. It is such an honor to work with people who are making a conscious decision to put their health first!

Q: What is your favorite thing to do in Greenville, SC?

A: My husband, Michael, and I absolutely love to try out new restaurants in the area. There are so many! We also really enjoy biking or walking the Swamp Rabbit Trail as well.

Q: What would you like your future clients to know about working with you?

A: I am all about Progress NOT Perfection! When you come and meet with me please don’t feel like you have to change everything in your life overnight. I love to help people make small, sustainable changes until they are confidently doing them regularly. Having a healthy and balanced eating pattern is a continuum, and I am going to meet you exactly where you’re at, with absolutely no judgement at all!

Click here to set up your FREE 15 minute discovery call to discuss your goals and book an appointment with Christie today!

What kind of stress are you experiencing? April is National Stress Awareness Month

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Stress. This word can evoke a variety of emotions within us and means different things to different people. We have an entire month (the month of April), dedicated to thinking about stress.

My name is Jessica Sharp and I am a brain expert and the Founder of Sharp Brain Consulting. I was a client of Blush Nutrition and loved my experience with Brittany for lots of reasons, but partly because of her holistic approach to health and nutrition. She and I both know that stress impacts weight and health and we both think it is important to talk more in-depth about stress and how it impacts our life.

There are two types of stress: acute and chronic. Acute stress is actually good for our brains and is short and does not have lasting effects on us. When you almost hit someone in your car and have to stop and get anxious about that. That is acute stress. When you are in an unhealthy relationship that consistently makes you feel stressed and anxious, this is chronic stress. Chronic stress, which is also known as toxic stress is what happens when stress becomes constant and consistent. There are a variety of things that can cause chronic stress, but some examples are a dysfunctional family, major work issues, abusive or unhealthy relationships.

I would encourage you to pause here and think about your stress. What is stressing you out? Do you think it is acute or chronic? Having an understanding of the type of stress you are dealing with will help you to manage the symptoms.

Okay, back to the blog. I won’t get too scientific on you, but stress sets off a process in the brain that can have long-term effects on our body. The amygdala is in the back of our brain and is shaped like an almond. Among other things, it activates our ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response that many people have heard it. It also controls our impulses and attaches emotions to memories. When we are experiencing stress, the amygdala sets off a process that increases adrenaline and cortisol and increases our heart rate. When we are experiencing acute, short-term stress, our heart rate goes down and our adrenaline and cortisol levels will decrease after a relatively short amount of time. When our stress is consistent and does not go away quickly, the levels of cortisol and adrenaline don’t decrease. That means are heart rate does not go down to a normal level. Additionally, because cortisol is involved in so many things in our bodies, it decreases our ability to fight infections, can make us gain weight, is linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and early death. Early death. Death can literally kill us.

In one of my previous jobs, I was definitely dealing with chronic stress. I loved my job but always felt like I had so much going on and never could find the bottom of my to-do list. The increased levels of cortisol definitely caused weight gain (particularly in my belly- yikes).

In addition to the list above, chronic stress can cause us to experience memory loss and decreased levels of serotonin and dopamine. Those two chemicals are linked to happiness, and when too low can lead to anxiety and depression. Finally, chronic stress can increase the size of our amygdala and decrease the size of our prefrontal cortex. Those are all science-y words to say that we become more impulsive and have a harder time with decision making, long term planning, focusing and organizing.

Later this month, we will talk about how to manage stress to help decrease the likelihood of experiencing these negative outcomes. For now, though, I want you to take some time to think about stress. 

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Write down the things in your life that cause you stress. Are you experiencing more acute or chronic stress? Thinking about your stressors will not only make you more self-aware but will also help to decrease your stress level.

I will be sharing more de-stressing tips with you later on this month – but bor now, though, feel free to engage with me on social media! Follow me on Instagram at @sharpbrainconsulting

-Written by Jessica Sharp, MPA

 

Spring Clean Your Diet with WSPA

Spring is finally here and I recently shared my tips to spring clean your diet with WSPA Channel 7 News. Warmer weather means that there is lots of produce is in season – and fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and water! Click here to get the Grape, Walnut, and Goat Cheese Chicken Salad recipe that I demonstrated on the segment.

Spring clean your diet by making at least one snack per day consist of produce + protein

Examples below:

  • 1 Cup cucumber slices + 2 Tablespoons hummus
  • 1 Small apple + 1 cheese stick
  • 1/2 Cup blueberries + 1/4 Cup walnuts
  • 17 Grapes + 25 almonds
  • 5 stalks celery + 2 Tablespoons natural nut or seed butter
  • 1 Peach (sliced) + 1 Cup cottage cheese
  • 1 Pear + 1/4 Cup pecans
  • 1/2 bell pepper (sliced) + 2 Tablespoons hummus
  • 1 Cutie + 1/2 Cup pistachios in shell
  • 1/2 Banana + 2 Tablespoons natural nut or seed butter
  • 1/2 Cup raspberries + 1/2 Cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 Orange + 1 hard boiled egg

Want to know more about meal planning and nutrition tips for spring? Contact me today to set up your FREE 15 minute discovery call.

How to Host a Chill and Healthy Dinner Party

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As we head into the third weekend of the #COOK75 challenge, it’s a great time to talk about alternatives to dining out with friends. Why not host a dinner party instead of going out to eat?

If hearing the phrase “dinner party” stresses you out, don’t worry! I am not a super formal person myself, and a dinner party doesn’t have to big this big ordeal with invitations, and seating charts. You can simply invite friends over for dinner without having all of that stress!

I’ve broken hosting a chill and healthy dinner party down into 5 easy steps. Not only will you save money by eating/drinking at home, you will likely be eating more healthy whole foods (and less processed foods) and won’t have anyone waiting for your table. You can stay and enjoy yourselves for as long as you would like!

5 Healthy and Chill Dinner Party Tips

  1. Don’t make the invite list too big. A dinner party is more intimate than a party-party, and 2-6 guests is a good starting point. You can feasibly cook for 4-8 people in a “normal size” kitchen without having to batch cook, and also have enough plates, silverware, and glasses for everyone.
  2. Ask your guests for food allergies/preferences before choosing recipes. After you send out your invites (and yes this can totally be a text – we’re chill, remember?) the next step is to ask what kind of food they want to eat. This is the time that the guest will typically mention a food allergy or preference. You can then start looking for recipes, and if you’re not sure if it fits within their allergy/preference don’t hesitate to run it by them. You don’t want to make anyone sick, so it’s always better to check if you’re unsure! When I’m in need of some culinary inspiration, I always browse the Blush Nutrition Recipe eBooks for ideas.
  3. Opt for a one pot or sheet pan meal. Make it easy on yourself with a meal that seems fancy, but is in fact very easy to make. If you want to have separate dishes because of food allergies or preferences, try making the meat/veggies on a sheet pan, and then serving a grain on the side. An example of this would be making the Sheet Pan Chicken Parmesan with Italian Veggies from my Winter Recipe eBook and serving whole wheat pasta or cauliflower gnocci on the side. Make sure to test out the recipe first! Don’t let your party be the first time you try something – take notes on your first round to make it easier on yourself on the day of the party. If there are steps that you can prep in advance (like chopping veggies or cooking grains) you can do that a couple of days before as well.
  4. Collaborate! While some more formal blogs/books might tell you that a dinner party host/hostess must make every dish at the party, we are living in 2019, and you do you. If your guest asks if they can bring something, and you feel you could use the help, say yes! Ask them to bring an appetizer (like a cheese board with crackers and nuts) or a dessert (like berries and dark chocolate).
  5. Add fresh flowers to the table. Skip the stress of name cards and fancy place settings, and spruce up your table with some simple fresh flowers! I always have fresh flowers from my garden on our table, and I find it elevates the table while also sending a welcoming feeling.

Do you have any dinner party questions/struggles? Send me a message here!