Holiday time is descending upon us, and with that, potluck work celebrations pick up in frequency. Is it possible to enjoy some delicious work parties without going over the edge into poor health choices? Absolutely!
Avoid these potluck pitfalls and you can enjoy delicious food guilt free.
The pitfall: Untouched salad
How many times does someone offer to bring the greens, only to discover that no one has touched the platter? Time is of the essence on work breaks, so people tend to gravitate towards the easiest items on the menu.
How to avoid: A chopped salad filled with yummy toppings makes every bite exciting and is easy to eat quickly. Think bite-size pieces (including the lettuce), a sprinkle of cheese, nuts and seeds, and a fruit such as apples or grapes for sweetness. Dress the salad just before serving in a light vinaigrette so no one needs to fumble with dressing bottles (and you don’t get caught up having to bring in six dressings!)
The pitfall: High fat dishes
Indulging in rich foods is one of the delights of the holiday season. But excessive fat intake isn’t good for our health (although, don’t forget that fat in moderation is considered a healthy part of daily nutrition).
How to avoid: Plan a loose menu together. If one member makes an awesome bacon mac and cheese, try to lighten up on the other dishes. A tray of lemon chicken can be a real crowd pleaser, but offers a lean protein option to offset any richer dishes. When serving, use a measuring cup. It will make people more aware of how much they are taking.
The pitfall: Sweetened drinks
How to avoid: Replace soda and other sweetened refreshments with unsweetened tea (everyone can monitor how much sweetener they put in themselves), fruit-infused water and seltzer.
The pitfall: Dessert overload
How to avoid: Limit desserts to one or two, just enough to give everybody a little something sweet, without overdoing it. Consider fruit dipped in dark chocolate—that’ll be a big hit and nutritious to boot!
The pitfall: Carbohydrate mayhem
How to avoid: Many potluck recipes feature carbohydrates as the main ingredient. (“Would you like a side of bread with your bread?”) Opt instead for veggie-heavy dishes, such as this flavorful (and inexpensive) unrolled cabbage casserole or this zucchini gratin dish, which uses just a small amount of whole wheat breadcrumbs for crunch, along with flavor-packed parmesan.
What’s your favorite healthy option to bring to a work potluck?