If you've been following the That Clean Life blog lately, you'll notice we've been a little too excited about this upcoming long weekend. We invited our friends over for a clean potluck and now we're sharing with you how it went! Here are some tips on hosting a healthy gathering and getting your friends on board too!
1. Plan ahead.
Pick guaranteed delicious recipes that are easy to make. From our list of top crowdpleasers, we went with the Crock Pot Burrito Soup and Mac n ' 'Cheese' (obviously). We also added a Nacho Bar which includes our Sweet Potato Nachos and Spicy Mango Guacamole.
Hosting any party can be stressful and much of it comes down to the amount of prep work you need to do. See what you can prepare ahead of time and spread the work over the week(s). For instance, the "cheese" sauce for the Mac n' Cheese can be frozen weeks in advance, and all the Crock Pot Burrito Soup ingredients can be chopped days ahead to hit the slow cooker on the morning of.
The great thing about these recipes is they all share similar toppings. We set out guacamole, grape tomatoes, greek yogurt, salsa, corn, black beans, chickpeas, feta cheese, sauteed mushrooms, black olives, chopped cilantro, green onions and baked shredded chicken.
Oh, and let's not forget about that DIY popcorn bar we shared with you earlier this week.
2. Challenge your friends to make a healthy contribution.
For many, this will be a fun opportunity to try something new and maybe throw in a little shock factor (black bean brownies!). Our friends made quinoa salad, baked falafels, quinoa pasta with homemade meatballs, black bean burgers, roasted chickpeas and mini turkey meatloaves!
For some, this might be more difficult. Help define what clean eating means and remind your guests to keep it simple and that most of what they often bring already meet the criteria (e.g. veggies and hummus, guacamole, salads, etc).
3. Set the tone and share the menu.
Let your guests know what you'll have on deck by providing a tentative menu. This gets the excitement and salivary glands going, while potentially inspiring their own ideas on what to bring. Most of our guests have already tried the infamous Mac n' 'Cheese' and couldn't wait to have more of it :). Bribe them with undeniable deliciousness. Simple.
4. Check in with easy recipe ideas or local suggestions.
Heading into the final days before the party, we shared some clean and simple recipe ideas for those still undecided. Share our list of top crowdpleasers for inspiration! For those short on time or uninterested in cooking, we recommended specialty shops we knew produced high-quality products. Desserts can be a tricky one so we suggested Tori's Bakeshop for their vegan, organic, gluten-free cupcakes.
5. Explore your drink options.
Don't forget the drinks! We set out fruit-infused water, fruit-infused soda (vodka optional!) with local organic beers and ciders. Using frozen fruit saved us time and ice.
6. Have fun!
Eating healthy can be fun and simple, and sharing this experience with our friends made it even more so. There's bound to be cooking mishaps but just make light of them. A few guests (with minimal cooking experience) made sure to preface their newly-tried recipes with a food poisoning dislcaimer (Note: no one has since reported food poisoning). Ultimately, this long weekend is about spending quality time with the amazing people in your life. Have a happy and healthy May long weekend!