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Entertaining Advice for the Unexperienced Host

Entertaining Advice for the Unexperienced Host

Inviting over guests for cocktails and dinner instead of going out is often more relaxing and enjoyable for many hosts. However, there are always those who aspire to host a party, but as soon as party date arrives, who would rather crawl under the covers than prepare a three-course meal for eight and stay collected enough to partake in the conversation. For those not in-the-know, entertaining expert Jenny Steffens Hobick is here to offer her tips and guidance.

Any tips for someone who is usually too busy with the food and drinks to actually sit down and enjoy themselves in conversation with their guests?

Menus for entertaining should be simple, and remember, the oven is your friend! I like to serve anything that cooks in the oven and goes straight to the table, or that can go easily onto one simple platter and served family style. This method allows me to prepare everything ahead of time and get all of the pots and pans cleaned before any guests arrive. I write down an oven schedule and time everything so I know exactly when to put it in the oven so it all comes out at the same time. When my guests arrive, the kitchen is on autopilot and I am free to have a great time.

What are some smaller, less intimidating options if a full dinner party seems like too much for me right now?

I love hosting brunch on a weekend morning when the pressure is off and everyone is in a relaxed mood. Most brunch foods can be made the day before which makes for a very laid-back way to entertain. I like to make monkey bread that proofs and rises over night, and egg strata that is best in the refrigerator overnight and baked off in the morning. Before I go to bed, I assemble a big platter of berries and fruit that is ready for the morning. A Bloody Mary Bar is as easy as putting out bottles and filling bowls with olives, limes, and celery. In the morning, I put on a pot of coffee and a pitcher of orange juice. Everyone helps themselves from the kitchen island.

Do you have any advice for those looking to start entertaining but aren’t sure how to throw something together?

Start small and make something you love. Have no more than five guests, six including you. It is easier to manage a small group your first time. Try serving something like Lobster Mac N’Cheese that is made beforehand but is special enough for company.

How can someone put together a great dinner or evening with friends on a budget? What are some shortcuts that can be made without sacrificing too much style?

I like to have one show-stopper on the menu, which means I splurge on one thing — maybe truffle butter, sea scallops, or great heirloom tomatoes. If you make one thing shine, you can make everything else very simple. Try to figure out what your guests will rave about on the way home and invest in that to be the star of your party.

Any dinner-table ideas for keeping the conversation flowing?

Seating arrangements may seem stuffy, but they are absolutely necessary to ensure great conversation. You have to have the wittiest, most talkative, or most interesting person (or people) in the middle of the table. Also, there is a reason the hostess and host traditionally sit at the head of the table, they can foster cross table conversation by asking a question to the person at the other end of the table.

Jenny lives in Concord, Massachusetts, and is an event and lifestyle expert. Visit her site at Everyday Occasions.

Kinfolk is guide to small gatherings, a marriage of our appreciation for art and design and our love for spending time with family and friends. Click here to read more of Kinfolk online.

This story was originally published on August 2, 2011.


Be a Healthier Summer Party Host

Host a cookout with fresh, lower-calorie versions of cookout favorites.

Related To:

Potato Salad in a light green dish on a white washed tabletop with dishes of slice fruite, sandwiches and macaroni salad

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Food Network

Hosting a summer bash? You don't need to throw your healthy eating goals out the window, or make guests feast on carrot sticks. Make cookout classics with better-for-you ingredients to create a spread full of slimmed-down favorites. It'll be so flavorful, your guests won't miss the extra fat and calories.

Here are some tips to slim down cookout favorites, and some recipes to get you started.

Burgers
Spring and summer are prime time for burgers — they’re so perfect for cookouts. Calories and fat abound in many burgers because of fatty meats, huge buns and heaps of cheese and creamy sauces. Instead of banishing these from your plate, think about ways to trim them down. A little less of each will shave off calories, and you won’t miss a thing in the flavor department — promise!

Fatty cuts of meat are high in saturated fat and cholesterol (not so good for the old ticker). Leaner alternatives — 90 to 95 percent lean ground beef, chicken or turkey breast, bison and fish — make equally satisfying burgers. Jazz up lower-fat meats with herbs and spices, and add moisture to the patties with chopped onion and mushrooms or a tangy sauce.

If you love cheese and mayo, consider low-fat versions and opt for one, not both. Cheeseburger fans: Try topping your burger with a little bit of strong cheese for a burst of flavor without the high-calorie cost. Sliced avocado makes a creamy addition to a burger and offers less saturated fat and cholesterol than traditional mayo.

Then, don't forget to pile on the fresh vegetables like ripe tomatoes, onion, spinach, lettuce and cucumbers. Even with a smaller burger, you’ll still feel full with loads of fiber-rich veggies. Get more healthy burger tips »

Burger Recipes to Try:

Grilled Meats
Grilling is one of the lightest ways to cook, but to keep it that way, you want to pick leaner meats. Here are some healthy options for the grill:

  • Poultry: Skinless, white-meat chicken or turkey ground turkey breast
  • Beef: Flank steak, top loin, sirloin, porterhouse, T-bone steak and tenderloin 90% lean ground beef
  • Pork: Pork chops or tenderloin
  • Lamb: Look for the word “loin”

When shopping, look for meats that have the least amount of visible fat. If the cut is marbled, that means it’s streaked with fat. Get more tips for healthier meats »

Grilled Main Dish Recipes to Try:

Pasta Salad
Pasta salad: It seems like no cookout would be complete without it. Everyone has their favorite recipe, some lighter than others. Avoid the common pitfalls and keep your mix nutritious and delicious.

First off, cut the mayo. A typical 1/2-cup serving of classic macaroni salad contains 310 calories — about two-thirds of which come from fat. Fat isn't the enemy, but keep it to about one tablespoon of oil or two tablespoons of low-fat mayo or dressing per serving.

Once you've lightened the dressing, add a nutritional punch to the rest of the salad. Use whole-wheat pasta to up fiber and lower overall calories, and load up on veggies, like tomatoes, onions, celery, bell peppers and scallions. Get more tips for healthier pasta salad »

Pasta Salad Recipes to Try:

Potato Salad
If you’re looking for a quick fix, deli counters often offer pre-made potato salads, but not so fast! Those versions can have more than 300 calories and 20 grams of fat per serving. Homemade recipes, meanwhile, often call for at least one cup of mayonnaise! Swap out some or all for a flavorful vinaigrette, pesto sauce, sundried tomatoes, Dijon mustard or lots of fresh herbs. If you favor the traditional creamy texture, a combo of mayonnaise and low-fat yogurt has flavor with much less fat.

Sturdy potatoes can stand up to lots of extra veggies, like green beans, tomatoes, celery, peas, carrots, bell pepper and red onion. The more veggies you add, the heartier (and more full of nutrients) your salad. Chopped pickles and olives also add a nice acidic bite. Also, try keeping the skin on the potatoes — they contain tons of nutrients like hunger-fighting fiber. Get more tips for healthier potato salad »

Potato Salad Recipes to Try:


Light, Fresh Side Salads
Once you've covered the essentials, fill your table with light, fresh salads made from farmers' market finds.

Fruit Desserts
Finish your party with a dessert that's full of in-season fruit: Strawberries, blueberries and peaches all reach their peak midsummer. Make a fresh fruit salad, or throw heartier fruits like pineapple and stone fruits (like peaches, plums and nectarines) on the grill to bring out their sweetness. Serve with frozen yogurt or syrup.

Fruit Dessert Recipes to Try:


Portions of this article were written by Registered Dieticians Dana White and Toby Amidor. Get more of Dana and Toby's healthy ideas at FoodNetwork's Healthy Eats blog.


Be a Healthier Summer Party Host

Host a cookout with fresh, lower-calorie versions of cookout favorites.

Related To:

Potato Salad in a light green dish on a white washed tabletop with dishes of slice fruite, sandwiches and macaroni salad

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Food Network

Hosting a summer bash? You don't need to throw your healthy eating goals out the window, or make guests feast on carrot sticks. Make cookout classics with better-for-you ingredients to create a spread full of slimmed-down favorites. It'll be so flavorful, your guests won't miss the extra fat and calories.

Here are some tips to slim down cookout favorites, and some recipes to get you started.

Burgers
Spring and summer are prime time for burgers — they’re so perfect for cookouts. Calories and fat abound in many burgers because of fatty meats, huge buns and heaps of cheese and creamy sauces. Instead of banishing these from your plate, think about ways to trim them down. A little less of each will shave off calories, and you won’t miss a thing in the flavor department — promise!

Fatty cuts of meat are high in saturated fat and cholesterol (not so good for the old ticker). Leaner alternatives — 90 to 95 percent lean ground beef, chicken or turkey breast, bison and fish — make equally satisfying burgers. Jazz up lower-fat meats with herbs and spices, and add moisture to the patties with chopped onion and mushrooms or a tangy sauce.

If you love cheese and mayo, consider low-fat versions and opt for one, not both. Cheeseburger fans: Try topping your burger with a little bit of strong cheese for a burst of flavor without the high-calorie cost. Sliced avocado makes a creamy addition to a burger and offers less saturated fat and cholesterol than traditional mayo.

Then, don't forget to pile on the fresh vegetables like ripe tomatoes, onion, spinach, lettuce and cucumbers. Even with a smaller burger, you’ll still feel full with loads of fiber-rich veggies. Get more healthy burger tips »

Burger Recipes to Try:

Grilled Meats
Grilling is one of the lightest ways to cook, but to keep it that way, you want to pick leaner meats. Here are some healthy options for the grill:

  • Poultry: Skinless, white-meat chicken or turkey ground turkey breast
  • Beef: Flank steak, top loin, sirloin, porterhouse, T-bone steak and tenderloin 90% lean ground beef
  • Pork: Pork chops or tenderloin
  • Lamb: Look for the word “loin”

When shopping, look for meats that have the least amount of visible fat. If the cut is marbled, that means it’s streaked with fat. Get more tips for healthier meats »

Grilled Main Dish Recipes to Try:

Pasta Salad
Pasta salad: It seems like no cookout would be complete without it. Everyone has their favorite recipe, some lighter than others. Avoid the common pitfalls and keep your mix nutritious and delicious.

First off, cut the mayo. A typical 1/2-cup serving of classic macaroni salad contains 310 calories — about two-thirds of which come from fat. Fat isn't the enemy, but keep it to about one tablespoon of oil or two tablespoons of low-fat mayo or dressing per serving.

Once you've lightened the dressing, add a nutritional punch to the rest of the salad. Use whole-wheat pasta to up fiber and lower overall calories, and load up on veggies, like tomatoes, onions, celery, bell peppers and scallions. Get more tips for healthier pasta salad »

Pasta Salad Recipes to Try:

Potato Salad
If you’re looking for a quick fix, deli counters often offer pre-made potato salads, but not so fast! Those versions can have more than 300 calories and 20 grams of fat per serving. Homemade recipes, meanwhile, often call for at least one cup of mayonnaise! Swap out some or all for a flavorful vinaigrette, pesto sauce, sundried tomatoes, Dijon mustard or lots of fresh herbs. If you favor the traditional creamy texture, a combo of mayonnaise and low-fat yogurt has flavor with much less fat.

Sturdy potatoes can stand up to lots of extra veggies, like green beans, tomatoes, celery, peas, carrots, bell pepper and red onion. The more veggies you add, the heartier (and more full of nutrients) your salad. Chopped pickles and olives also add a nice acidic bite. Also, try keeping the skin on the potatoes — they contain tons of nutrients like hunger-fighting fiber. Get more tips for healthier potato salad »

Potato Salad Recipes to Try:


Light, Fresh Side Salads
Once you've covered the essentials, fill your table with light, fresh salads made from farmers' market finds.

Fruit Desserts
Finish your party with a dessert that's full of in-season fruit: Strawberries, blueberries and peaches all reach their peak midsummer. Make a fresh fruit salad, or throw heartier fruits like pineapple and stone fruits (like peaches, plums and nectarines) on the grill to bring out their sweetness. Serve with frozen yogurt or syrup.

Fruit Dessert Recipes to Try:


Portions of this article were written by Registered Dieticians Dana White and Toby Amidor. Get more of Dana and Toby's healthy ideas at FoodNetwork's Healthy Eats blog.


Be a Healthier Summer Party Host

Host a cookout with fresh, lower-calorie versions of cookout favorites.

Related To:

Potato Salad in a light green dish on a white washed tabletop with dishes of slice fruite, sandwiches and macaroni salad

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Food Network

Hosting a summer bash? You don't need to throw your healthy eating goals out the window, or make guests feast on carrot sticks. Make cookout classics with better-for-you ingredients to create a spread full of slimmed-down favorites. It'll be so flavorful, your guests won't miss the extra fat and calories.

Here are some tips to slim down cookout favorites, and some recipes to get you started.

Burgers
Spring and summer are prime time for burgers — they’re so perfect for cookouts. Calories and fat abound in many burgers because of fatty meats, huge buns and heaps of cheese and creamy sauces. Instead of banishing these from your plate, think about ways to trim them down. A little less of each will shave off calories, and you won’t miss a thing in the flavor department — promise!

Fatty cuts of meat are high in saturated fat and cholesterol (not so good for the old ticker). Leaner alternatives — 90 to 95 percent lean ground beef, chicken or turkey breast, bison and fish — make equally satisfying burgers. Jazz up lower-fat meats with herbs and spices, and add moisture to the patties with chopped onion and mushrooms or a tangy sauce.

If you love cheese and mayo, consider low-fat versions and opt for one, not both. Cheeseburger fans: Try topping your burger with a little bit of strong cheese for a burst of flavor without the high-calorie cost. Sliced avocado makes a creamy addition to a burger and offers less saturated fat and cholesterol than traditional mayo.

Then, don't forget to pile on the fresh vegetables like ripe tomatoes, onion, spinach, lettuce and cucumbers. Even with a smaller burger, you’ll still feel full with loads of fiber-rich veggies. Get more healthy burger tips »

Burger Recipes to Try:

Grilled Meats
Grilling is one of the lightest ways to cook, but to keep it that way, you want to pick leaner meats. Here are some healthy options for the grill:

  • Poultry: Skinless, white-meat chicken or turkey ground turkey breast
  • Beef: Flank steak, top loin, sirloin, porterhouse, T-bone steak and tenderloin 90% lean ground beef
  • Pork: Pork chops or tenderloin
  • Lamb: Look for the word “loin”

When shopping, look for meats that have the least amount of visible fat. If the cut is marbled, that means it’s streaked with fat. Get more tips for healthier meats »

Grilled Main Dish Recipes to Try:

Pasta Salad
Pasta salad: It seems like no cookout would be complete without it. Everyone has their favorite recipe, some lighter than others. Avoid the common pitfalls and keep your mix nutritious and delicious.

First off, cut the mayo. A typical 1/2-cup serving of classic macaroni salad contains 310 calories — about two-thirds of which come from fat. Fat isn't the enemy, but keep it to about one tablespoon of oil or two tablespoons of low-fat mayo or dressing per serving.

Once you've lightened the dressing, add a nutritional punch to the rest of the salad. Use whole-wheat pasta to up fiber and lower overall calories, and load up on veggies, like tomatoes, onions, celery, bell peppers and scallions. Get more tips for healthier pasta salad »

Pasta Salad Recipes to Try:

Potato Salad
If you’re looking for a quick fix, deli counters often offer pre-made potato salads, but not so fast! Those versions can have more than 300 calories and 20 grams of fat per serving. Homemade recipes, meanwhile, often call for at least one cup of mayonnaise! Swap out some or all for a flavorful vinaigrette, pesto sauce, sundried tomatoes, Dijon mustard or lots of fresh herbs. If you favor the traditional creamy texture, a combo of mayonnaise and low-fat yogurt has flavor with much less fat.

Sturdy potatoes can stand up to lots of extra veggies, like green beans, tomatoes, celery, peas, carrots, bell pepper and red onion. The more veggies you add, the heartier (and more full of nutrients) your salad. Chopped pickles and olives also add a nice acidic bite. Also, try keeping the skin on the potatoes — they contain tons of nutrients like hunger-fighting fiber. Get more tips for healthier potato salad »

Potato Salad Recipes to Try:


Light, Fresh Side Salads
Once you've covered the essentials, fill your table with light, fresh salads made from farmers' market finds.

Fruit Desserts
Finish your party with a dessert that's full of in-season fruit: Strawberries, blueberries and peaches all reach their peak midsummer. Make a fresh fruit salad, or throw heartier fruits like pineapple and stone fruits (like peaches, plums and nectarines) on the grill to bring out their sweetness. Serve with frozen yogurt or syrup.

Fruit Dessert Recipes to Try:


Portions of this article were written by Registered Dieticians Dana White and Toby Amidor. Get more of Dana and Toby's healthy ideas at FoodNetwork's Healthy Eats blog.


Be a Healthier Summer Party Host

Host a cookout with fresh, lower-calorie versions of cookout favorites.

Related To:

Potato Salad in a light green dish on a white washed tabletop with dishes of slice fruite, sandwiches and macaroni salad

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Food Network

Hosting a summer bash? You don't need to throw your healthy eating goals out the window, or make guests feast on carrot sticks. Make cookout classics with better-for-you ingredients to create a spread full of slimmed-down favorites. It'll be so flavorful, your guests won't miss the extra fat and calories.

Here are some tips to slim down cookout favorites, and some recipes to get you started.

Burgers
Spring and summer are prime time for burgers — they’re so perfect for cookouts. Calories and fat abound in many burgers because of fatty meats, huge buns and heaps of cheese and creamy sauces. Instead of banishing these from your plate, think about ways to trim them down. A little less of each will shave off calories, and you won’t miss a thing in the flavor department — promise!

Fatty cuts of meat are high in saturated fat and cholesterol (not so good for the old ticker). Leaner alternatives — 90 to 95 percent lean ground beef, chicken or turkey breast, bison and fish — make equally satisfying burgers. Jazz up lower-fat meats with herbs and spices, and add moisture to the patties with chopped onion and mushrooms or a tangy sauce.

If you love cheese and mayo, consider low-fat versions and opt for one, not both. Cheeseburger fans: Try topping your burger with a little bit of strong cheese for a burst of flavor without the high-calorie cost. Sliced avocado makes a creamy addition to a burger and offers less saturated fat and cholesterol than traditional mayo.

Then, don't forget to pile on the fresh vegetables like ripe tomatoes, onion, spinach, lettuce and cucumbers. Even with a smaller burger, you’ll still feel full with loads of fiber-rich veggies. Get more healthy burger tips »

Burger Recipes to Try:

Grilled Meats
Grilling is one of the lightest ways to cook, but to keep it that way, you want to pick leaner meats. Here are some healthy options for the grill:

  • Poultry: Skinless, white-meat chicken or turkey ground turkey breast
  • Beef: Flank steak, top loin, sirloin, porterhouse, T-bone steak and tenderloin 90% lean ground beef
  • Pork: Pork chops or tenderloin
  • Lamb: Look for the word “loin”

When shopping, look for meats that have the least amount of visible fat. If the cut is marbled, that means it’s streaked with fat. Get more tips for healthier meats »

Grilled Main Dish Recipes to Try:

Pasta Salad
Pasta salad: It seems like no cookout would be complete without it. Everyone has their favorite recipe, some lighter than others. Avoid the common pitfalls and keep your mix nutritious and delicious.

First off, cut the mayo. A typical 1/2-cup serving of classic macaroni salad contains 310 calories — about two-thirds of which come from fat. Fat isn't the enemy, but keep it to about one tablespoon of oil or two tablespoons of low-fat mayo or dressing per serving.

Once you've lightened the dressing, add a nutritional punch to the rest of the salad. Use whole-wheat pasta to up fiber and lower overall calories, and load up on veggies, like tomatoes, onions, celery, bell peppers and scallions. Get more tips for healthier pasta salad »

Pasta Salad Recipes to Try:

Potato Salad
If you’re looking for a quick fix, deli counters often offer pre-made potato salads, but not so fast! Those versions can have more than 300 calories and 20 grams of fat per serving. Homemade recipes, meanwhile, often call for at least one cup of mayonnaise! Swap out some or all for a flavorful vinaigrette, pesto sauce, sundried tomatoes, Dijon mustard or lots of fresh herbs. If you favor the traditional creamy texture, a combo of mayonnaise and low-fat yogurt has flavor with much less fat.

Sturdy potatoes can stand up to lots of extra veggies, like green beans, tomatoes, celery, peas, carrots, bell pepper and red onion. The more veggies you add, the heartier (and more full of nutrients) your salad. Chopped pickles and olives also add a nice acidic bite. Also, try keeping the skin on the potatoes — they contain tons of nutrients like hunger-fighting fiber. Get more tips for healthier potato salad »

Potato Salad Recipes to Try:


Light, Fresh Side Salads
Once you've covered the essentials, fill your table with light, fresh salads made from farmers' market finds.

Fruit Desserts
Finish your party with a dessert that's full of in-season fruit: Strawberries, blueberries and peaches all reach their peak midsummer. Make a fresh fruit salad, or throw heartier fruits like pineapple and stone fruits (like peaches, plums and nectarines) on the grill to bring out their sweetness. Serve with frozen yogurt or syrup.

Fruit Dessert Recipes to Try:


Portions of this article were written by Registered Dieticians Dana White and Toby Amidor. Get more of Dana and Toby's healthy ideas at FoodNetwork's Healthy Eats blog.


Be a Healthier Summer Party Host

Host a cookout with fresh, lower-calorie versions of cookout favorites.

Related To:

Potato Salad in a light green dish on a white washed tabletop with dishes of slice fruite, sandwiches and macaroni salad

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Food Network

Hosting a summer bash? You don't need to throw your healthy eating goals out the window, or make guests feast on carrot sticks. Make cookout classics with better-for-you ingredients to create a spread full of slimmed-down favorites. It'll be so flavorful, your guests won't miss the extra fat and calories.

Here are some tips to slim down cookout favorites, and some recipes to get you started.

Burgers
Spring and summer are prime time for burgers — they’re so perfect for cookouts. Calories and fat abound in many burgers because of fatty meats, huge buns and heaps of cheese and creamy sauces. Instead of banishing these from your plate, think about ways to trim them down. A little less of each will shave off calories, and you won’t miss a thing in the flavor department — promise!

Fatty cuts of meat are high in saturated fat and cholesterol (not so good for the old ticker). Leaner alternatives — 90 to 95 percent lean ground beef, chicken or turkey breast, bison and fish — make equally satisfying burgers. Jazz up lower-fat meats with herbs and spices, and add moisture to the patties with chopped onion and mushrooms or a tangy sauce.

If you love cheese and mayo, consider low-fat versions and opt for one, not both. Cheeseburger fans: Try topping your burger with a little bit of strong cheese for a burst of flavor without the high-calorie cost. Sliced avocado makes a creamy addition to a burger and offers less saturated fat and cholesterol than traditional mayo.

Then, don't forget to pile on the fresh vegetables like ripe tomatoes, onion, spinach, lettuce and cucumbers. Even with a smaller burger, you’ll still feel full with loads of fiber-rich veggies. Get more healthy burger tips »

Burger Recipes to Try:

Grilled Meats
Grilling is one of the lightest ways to cook, but to keep it that way, you want to pick leaner meats. Here are some healthy options for the grill:

  • Poultry: Skinless, white-meat chicken or turkey ground turkey breast
  • Beef: Flank steak, top loin, sirloin, porterhouse, T-bone steak and tenderloin 90% lean ground beef
  • Pork: Pork chops or tenderloin
  • Lamb: Look for the word “loin”

When shopping, look for meats that have the least amount of visible fat. If the cut is marbled, that means it’s streaked with fat. Get more tips for healthier meats »

Grilled Main Dish Recipes to Try:

Pasta Salad
Pasta salad: It seems like no cookout would be complete without it. Everyone has their favorite recipe, some lighter than others. Avoid the common pitfalls and keep your mix nutritious and delicious.

First off, cut the mayo. A typical 1/2-cup serving of classic macaroni salad contains 310 calories — about two-thirds of which come from fat. Fat isn't the enemy, but keep it to about one tablespoon of oil or two tablespoons of low-fat mayo or dressing per serving.

Once you've lightened the dressing, add a nutritional punch to the rest of the salad. Use whole-wheat pasta to up fiber and lower overall calories, and load up on veggies, like tomatoes, onions, celery, bell peppers and scallions. Get more tips for healthier pasta salad »

Pasta Salad Recipes to Try:

Potato Salad
If you’re looking for a quick fix, deli counters often offer pre-made potato salads, but not so fast! Those versions can have more than 300 calories and 20 grams of fat per serving. Homemade recipes, meanwhile, often call for at least one cup of mayonnaise! Swap out some or all for a flavorful vinaigrette, pesto sauce, sundried tomatoes, Dijon mustard or lots of fresh herbs. If you favor the traditional creamy texture, a combo of mayonnaise and low-fat yogurt has flavor with much less fat.

Sturdy potatoes can stand up to lots of extra veggies, like green beans, tomatoes, celery, peas, carrots, bell pepper and red onion. The more veggies you add, the heartier (and more full of nutrients) your salad. Chopped pickles and olives also add a nice acidic bite. Also, try keeping the skin on the potatoes — they contain tons of nutrients like hunger-fighting fiber. Get more tips for healthier potato salad »

Potato Salad Recipes to Try:


Light, Fresh Side Salads
Once you've covered the essentials, fill your table with light, fresh salads made from farmers' market finds.

Fruit Desserts
Finish your party with a dessert that's full of in-season fruit: Strawberries, blueberries and peaches all reach their peak midsummer. Make a fresh fruit salad, or throw heartier fruits like pineapple and stone fruits (like peaches, plums and nectarines) on the grill to bring out their sweetness. Serve with frozen yogurt or syrup.

Fruit Dessert Recipes to Try:


Portions of this article were written by Registered Dieticians Dana White and Toby Amidor. Get more of Dana and Toby's healthy ideas at FoodNetwork's Healthy Eats blog.


Be a Healthier Summer Party Host

Host a cookout with fresh, lower-calorie versions of cookout favorites.

Related To:

Potato Salad in a light green dish on a white washed tabletop with dishes of slice fruite, sandwiches and macaroni salad

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Food Network

Hosting a summer bash? You don't need to throw your healthy eating goals out the window, or make guests feast on carrot sticks. Make cookout classics with better-for-you ingredients to create a spread full of slimmed-down favorites. It'll be so flavorful, your guests won't miss the extra fat and calories.

Here are some tips to slim down cookout favorites, and some recipes to get you started.

Burgers
Spring and summer are prime time for burgers — they’re so perfect for cookouts. Calories and fat abound in many burgers because of fatty meats, huge buns and heaps of cheese and creamy sauces. Instead of banishing these from your plate, think about ways to trim them down. A little less of each will shave off calories, and you won’t miss a thing in the flavor department — promise!

Fatty cuts of meat are high in saturated fat and cholesterol (not so good for the old ticker). Leaner alternatives — 90 to 95 percent lean ground beef, chicken or turkey breast, bison and fish — make equally satisfying burgers. Jazz up lower-fat meats with herbs and spices, and add moisture to the patties with chopped onion and mushrooms or a tangy sauce.

If you love cheese and mayo, consider low-fat versions and opt for one, not both. Cheeseburger fans: Try topping your burger with a little bit of strong cheese for a burst of flavor without the high-calorie cost. Sliced avocado makes a creamy addition to a burger and offers less saturated fat and cholesterol than traditional mayo.

Then, don't forget to pile on the fresh vegetables like ripe tomatoes, onion, spinach, lettuce and cucumbers. Even with a smaller burger, you’ll still feel full with loads of fiber-rich veggies. Get more healthy burger tips »

Burger Recipes to Try:

Grilled Meats
Grilling is one of the lightest ways to cook, but to keep it that way, you want to pick leaner meats. Here are some healthy options for the grill:

  • Poultry: Skinless, white-meat chicken or turkey ground turkey breast
  • Beef: Flank steak, top loin, sirloin, porterhouse, T-bone steak and tenderloin 90% lean ground beef
  • Pork: Pork chops or tenderloin
  • Lamb: Look for the word “loin”

When shopping, look for meats that have the least amount of visible fat. If the cut is marbled, that means it’s streaked with fat. Get more tips for healthier meats »

Grilled Main Dish Recipes to Try:

Pasta Salad
Pasta salad: It seems like no cookout would be complete without it. Everyone has their favorite recipe, some lighter than others. Avoid the common pitfalls and keep your mix nutritious and delicious.

First off, cut the mayo. A typical 1/2-cup serving of classic macaroni salad contains 310 calories — about two-thirds of which come from fat. Fat isn't the enemy, but keep it to about one tablespoon of oil or two tablespoons of low-fat mayo or dressing per serving.

Once you've lightened the dressing, add a nutritional punch to the rest of the salad. Use whole-wheat pasta to up fiber and lower overall calories, and load up on veggies, like tomatoes, onions, celery, bell peppers and scallions. Get more tips for healthier pasta salad »

Pasta Salad Recipes to Try:

Potato Salad
If you’re looking for a quick fix, deli counters often offer pre-made potato salads, but not so fast! Those versions can have more than 300 calories and 20 grams of fat per serving. Homemade recipes, meanwhile, often call for at least one cup of mayonnaise! Swap out some or all for a flavorful vinaigrette, pesto sauce, sundried tomatoes, Dijon mustard or lots of fresh herbs. If you favor the traditional creamy texture, a combo of mayonnaise and low-fat yogurt has flavor with much less fat.

Sturdy potatoes can stand up to lots of extra veggies, like green beans, tomatoes, celery, peas, carrots, bell pepper and red onion. The more veggies you add, the heartier (and more full of nutrients) your salad. Chopped pickles and olives also add a nice acidic bite. Also, try keeping the skin on the potatoes — they contain tons of nutrients like hunger-fighting fiber. Get more tips for healthier potato salad »

Potato Salad Recipes to Try:


Light, Fresh Side Salads
Once you've covered the essentials, fill your table with light, fresh salads made from farmers' market finds.

Fruit Desserts
Finish your party with a dessert that's full of in-season fruit: Strawberries, blueberries and peaches all reach their peak midsummer. Make a fresh fruit salad, or throw heartier fruits like pineapple and stone fruits (like peaches, plums and nectarines) on the grill to bring out their sweetness. Serve with frozen yogurt or syrup.

Fruit Dessert Recipes to Try:


Portions of this article were written by Registered Dieticians Dana White and Toby Amidor. Get more of Dana and Toby's healthy ideas at FoodNetwork's Healthy Eats blog.


Be a Healthier Summer Party Host

Host a cookout with fresh, lower-calorie versions of cookout favorites.

Related To:

Potato Salad in a light green dish on a white washed tabletop with dishes of slice fruite, sandwiches and macaroni salad

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Food Network

Hosting a summer bash? You don't need to throw your healthy eating goals out the window, or make guests feast on carrot sticks. Make cookout classics with better-for-you ingredients to create a spread full of slimmed-down favorites. It'll be so flavorful, your guests won't miss the extra fat and calories.

Here are some tips to slim down cookout favorites, and some recipes to get you started.

Burgers
Spring and summer are prime time for burgers — they’re so perfect for cookouts. Calories and fat abound in many burgers because of fatty meats, huge buns and heaps of cheese and creamy sauces. Instead of banishing these from your plate, think about ways to trim them down. A little less of each will shave off calories, and you won’t miss a thing in the flavor department — promise!

Fatty cuts of meat are high in saturated fat and cholesterol (not so good for the old ticker). Leaner alternatives — 90 to 95 percent lean ground beef, chicken or turkey breast, bison and fish — make equally satisfying burgers. Jazz up lower-fat meats with herbs and spices, and add moisture to the patties with chopped onion and mushrooms or a tangy sauce.

If you love cheese and mayo, consider low-fat versions and opt for one, not both. Cheeseburger fans: Try topping your burger with a little bit of strong cheese for a burst of flavor without the high-calorie cost. Sliced avocado makes a creamy addition to a burger and offers less saturated fat and cholesterol than traditional mayo.

Then, don't forget to pile on the fresh vegetables like ripe tomatoes, onion, spinach, lettuce and cucumbers. Even with a smaller burger, you’ll still feel full with loads of fiber-rich veggies. Get more healthy burger tips »

Burger Recipes to Try:

Grilled Meats
Grilling is one of the lightest ways to cook, but to keep it that way, you want to pick leaner meats. Here are some healthy options for the grill:

  • Poultry: Skinless, white-meat chicken or turkey ground turkey breast
  • Beef: Flank steak, top loin, sirloin, porterhouse, T-bone steak and tenderloin 90% lean ground beef
  • Pork: Pork chops or tenderloin
  • Lamb: Look for the word “loin”

When shopping, look for meats that have the least amount of visible fat. If the cut is marbled, that means it’s streaked with fat. Get more tips for healthier meats »

Grilled Main Dish Recipes to Try:

Pasta Salad
Pasta salad: It seems like no cookout would be complete without it. Everyone has their favorite recipe, some lighter than others. Avoid the common pitfalls and keep your mix nutritious and delicious.

First off, cut the mayo. A typical 1/2-cup serving of classic macaroni salad contains 310 calories — about two-thirds of which come from fat. Fat isn't the enemy, but keep it to about one tablespoon of oil or two tablespoons of low-fat mayo or dressing per serving.

Once you've lightened the dressing, add a nutritional punch to the rest of the salad. Use whole-wheat pasta to up fiber and lower overall calories, and load up on veggies, like tomatoes, onions, celery, bell peppers and scallions. Get more tips for healthier pasta salad »

Pasta Salad Recipes to Try:

Potato Salad
If you’re looking for a quick fix, deli counters often offer pre-made potato salads, but not so fast! Those versions can have more than 300 calories and 20 grams of fat per serving. Homemade recipes, meanwhile, often call for at least one cup of mayonnaise! Swap out some or all for a flavorful vinaigrette, pesto sauce, sundried tomatoes, Dijon mustard or lots of fresh herbs. If you favor the traditional creamy texture, a combo of mayonnaise and low-fat yogurt has flavor with much less fat.

Sturdy potatoes can stand up to lots of extra veggies, like green beans, tomatoes, celery, peas, carrots, bell pepper and red onion. The more veggies you add, the heartier (and more full of nutrients) your salad. Chopped pickles and olives also add a nice acidic bite. Also, try keeping the skin on the potatoes — they contain tons of nutrients like hunger-fighting fiber. Get more tips for healthier potato salad »

Potato Salad Recipes to Try:


Light, Fresh Side Salads
Once you've covered the essentials, fill your table with light, fresh salads made from farmers' market finds.

Fruit Desserts
Finish your party with a dessert that's full of in-season fruit: Strawberries, blueberries and peaches all reach their peak midsummer. Make a fresh fruit salad, or throw heartier fruits like pineapple and stone fruits (like peaches, plums and nectarines) on the grill to bring out their sweetness. Serve with frozen yogurt or syrup.

Fruit Dessert Recipes to Try:


Portions of this article were written by Registered Dieticians Dana White and Toby Amidor. Get more of Dana and Toby's healthy ideas at FoodNetwork's Healthy Eats blog.


Be a Healthier Summer Party Host

Host a cookout with fresh, lower-calorie versions of cookout favorites.

Related To:

Potato Salad in a light green dish on a white washed tabletop with dishes of slice fruite, sandwiches and macaroni salad

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Food Network

Hosting a summer bash? You don't need to throw your healthy eating goals out the window, or make guests feast on carrot sticks. Make cookout classics with better-for-you ingredients to create a spread full of slimmed-down favorites. It'll be so flavorful, your guests won't miss the extra fat and calories.

Here are some tips to slim down cookout favorites, and some recipes to get you started.

Burgers
Spring and summer are prime time for burgers — they’re so perfect for cookouts. Calories and fat abound in many burgers because of fatty meats, huge buns and heaps of cheese and creamy sauces. Instead of banishing these from your plate, think about ways to trim them down. A little less of each will shave off calories, and you won’t miss a thing in the flavor department — promise!

Fatty cuts of meat are high in saturated fat and cholesterol (not so good for the old ticker). Leaner alternatives — 90 to 95 percent lean ground beef, chicken or turkey breast, bison and fish — make equally satisfying burgers. Jazz up lower-fat meats with herbs and spices, and add moisture to the patties with chopped onion and mushrooms or a tangy sauce.

If you love cheese and mayo, consider low-fat versions and opt for one, not both. Cheeseburger fans: Try topping your burger with a little bit of strong cheese for a burst of flavor without the high-calorie cost. Sliced avocado makes a creamy addition to a burger and offers less saturated fat and cholesterol than traditional mayo.

Then, don't forget to pile on the fresh vegetables like ripe tomatoes, onion, spinach, lettuce and cucumbers. Even with a smaller burger, you’ll still feel full with loads of fiber-rich veggies. Get more healthy burger tips »

Burger Recipes to Try:

Grilled Meats
Grilling is one of the lightest ways to cook, but to keep it that way, you want to pick leaner meats. Here are some healthy options for the grill:

  • Poultry: Skinless, white-meat chicken or turkey ground turkey breast
  • Beef: Flank steak, top loin, sirloin, porterhouse, T-bone steak and tenderloin 90% lean ground beef
  • Pork: Pork chops or tenderloin
  • Lamb: Look for the word “loin”

When shopping, look for meats that have the least amount of visible fat. If the cut is marbled, that means it’s streaked with fat. Get more tips for healthier meats »

Grilled Main Dish Recipes to Try:

Pasta Salad
Pasta salad: It seems like no cookout would be complete without it. Everyone has their favorite recipe, some lighter than others. Avoid the common pitfalls and keep your mix nutritious and delicious.

First off, cut the mayo. A typical 1/2-cup serving of classic macaroni salad contains 310 calories — about two-thirds of which come from fat. Fat isn't the enemy, but keep it to about one tablespoon of oil or two tablespoons of low-fat mayo or dressing per serving.

Once you've lightened the dressing, add a nutritional punch to the rest of the salad. Use whole-wheat pasta to up fiber and lower overall calories, and load up on veggies, like tomatoes, onions, celery, bell peppers and scallions. Get more tips for healthier pasta salad »

Pasta Salad Recipes to Try:

Potato Salad
If you’re looking for a quick fix, deli counters often offer pre-made potato salads, but not so fast! Those versions can have more than 300 calories and 20 grams of fat per serving. Homemade recipes, meanwhile, often call for at least one cup of mayonnaise! Swap out some or all for a flavorful vinaigrette, pesto sauce, sundried tomatoes, Dijon mustard or lots of fresh herbs. If you favor the traditional creamy texture, a combo of mayonnaise and low-fat yogurt has flavor with much less fat.

Sturdy potatoes can stand up to lots of extra veggies, like green beans, tomatoes, celery, peas, carrots, bell pepper and red onion. The more veggies you add, the heartier (and more full of nutrients) your salad. Chopped pickles and olives also add a nice acidic bite. Also, try keeping the skin on the potatoes — they contain tons of nutrients like hunger-fighting fiber. Get more tips for healthier potato salad »

Potato Salad Recipes to Try:


Light, Fresh Side Salads
Once you've covered the essentials, fill your table with light, fresh salads made from farmers' market finds.

Fruit Desserts
Finish your party with a dessert that's full of in-season fruit: Strawberries, blueberries and peaches all reach their peak midsummer. Make a fresh fruit salad, or throw heartier fruits like pineapple and stone fruits (like peaches, plums and nectarines) on the grill to bring out their sweetness. Serve with frozen yogurt or syrup.

Fruit Dessert Recipes to Try:


Portions of this article were written by Registered Dieticians Dana White and Toby Amidor. Get more of Dana and Toby's healthy ideas at FoodNetwork's Healthy Eats blog.


Be a Healthier Summer Party Host

Host a cookout with fresh, lower-calorie versions of cookout favorites.

Related To:

Potato Salad in a light green dish on a white washed tabletop with dishes of slice fruite, sandwiches and macaroni salad

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Food Network

Hosting a summer bash? You don't need to throw your healthy eating goals out the window, or make guests feast on carrot sticks. Make cookout classics with better-for-you ingredients to create a spread full of slimmed-down favorites. It'll be so flavorful, your guests won't miss the extra fat and calories.

Here are some tips to slim down cookout favorites, and some recipes to get you started.

Burgers
Spring and summer are prime time for burgers — they’re so perfect for cookouts. Calories and fat abound in many burgers because of fatty meats, huge buns and heaps of cheese and creamy sauces. Instead of banishing these from your plate, think about ways to trim them down. A little less of each will shave off calories, and you won’t miss a thing in the flavor department — promise!

Fatty cuts of meat are high in saturated fat and cholesterol (not so good for the old ticker). Leaner alternatives — 90 to 95 percent lean ground beef, chicken or turkey breast, bison and fish — make equally satisfying burgers. Jazz up lower-fat meats with herbs and spices, and add moisture to the patties with chopped onion and mushrooms or a tangy sauce.

If you love cheese and mayo, consider low-fat versions and opt for one, not both. Cheeseburger fans: Try topping your burger with a little bit of strong cheese for a burst of flavor without the high-calorie cost. Sliced avocado makes a creamy addition to a burger and offers less saturated fat and cholesterol than traditional mayo.

Then, don't forget to pile on the fresh vegetables like ripe tomatoes, onion, spinach, lettuce and cucumbers. Even with a smaller burger, you’ll still feel full with loads of fiber-rich veggies. Get more healthy burger tips »

Burger Recipes to Try:

Grilled Meats
Grilling is one of the lightest ways to cook, but to keep it that way, you want to pick leaner meats. Here are some healthy options for the grill:

  • Poultry: Skinless, white-meat chicken or turkey ground turkey breast
  • Beef: Flank steak, top loin, sirloin, porterhouse, T-bone steak and tenderloin 90% lean ground beef
  • Pork: Pork chops or tenderloin
  • Lamb: Look for the word “loin”

When shopping, look for meats that have the least amount of visible fat. If the cut is marbled, that means it’s streaked with fat. Get more tips for healthier meats »

Grilled Main Dish Recipes to Try:

Pasta Salad
Pasta salad: It seems like no cookout would be complete without it. Everyone has their favorite recipe, some lighter than others. Avoid the common pitfalls and keep your mix nutritious and delicious.

First off, cut the mayo. A typical 1/2-cup serving of classic macaroni salad contains 310 calories — about two-thirds of which come from fat. Fat isn't the enemy, but keep it to about one tablespoon of oil or two tablespoons of low-fat mayo or dressing per serving.

Once you've lightened the dressing, add a nutritional punch to the rest of the salad. Use whole-wheat pasta to up fiber and lower overall calories, and load up on veggies, like tomatoes, onions, celery, bell peppers and scallions. Get more tips for healthier pasta salad »

Pasta Salad Recipes to Try:

Potato Salad
If you’re looking for a quick fix, deli counters often offer pre-made potato salads, but not so fast! Those versions can have more than 300 calories and 20 grams of fat per serving. Homemade recipes, meanwhile, often call for at least one cup of mayonnaise! Swap out some or all for a flavorful vinaigrette, pesto sauce, sundried tomatoes, Dijon mustard or lots of fresh herbs. If you favor the traditional creamy texture, a combo of mayonnaise and low-fat yogurt has flavor with much less fat.

Sturdy potatoes can stand up to lots of extra veggies, like green beans, tomatoes, celery, peas, carrots, bell pepper and red onion. The more veggies you add, the heartier (and more full of nutrients) your salad. Chopped pickles and olives also add a nice acidic bite. Also, try keeping the skin on the potatoes — they contain tons of nutrients like hunger-fighting fiber. Get more tips for healthier potato salad »

Potato Salad Recipes to Try:


Light, Fresh Side Salads
Once you've covered the essentials, fill your table with light, fresh salads made from farmers' market finds.

Fruit Desserts
Finish your party with a dessert that's full of in-season fruit: Strawberries, blueberries and peaches all reach their peak midsummer. Make a fresh fruit salad, or throw heartier fruits like pineapple and stone fruits (like peaches, plums and nectarines) on the grill to bring out their sweetness. Serve with frozen yogurt or syrup.

Fruit Dessert Recipes to Try:


Portions of this article were written by Registered Dieticians Dana White and Toby Amidor. Get more of Dana and Toby's healthy ideas at FoodNetwork's Healthy Eats blog.


Be a Healthier Summer Party Host

Host a cookout with fresh, lower-calorie versions of cookout favorites.

Related To:

Potato Salad in a light green dish on a white washed tabletop with dishes of slice fruite, sandwiches and macaroni salad

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Food Network

Hosting a summer bash? You don't need to throw your healthy eating goals out the window, or make guests feast on carrot sticks. Make cookout classics with better-for-you ingredients to create a spread full of slimmed-down favorites. It'll be so flavorful, your guests won't miss the extra fat and calories.

Here are some tips to slim down cookout favorites, and some recipes to get you started.

Burgers
Spring and summer are prime time for burgers — they’re so perfect for cookouts. Calories and fat abound in many burgers because of fatty meats, huge buns and heaps of cheese and creamy sauces. Instead of banishing these from your plate, think about ways to trim them down. A little less of each will shave off calories, and you won’t miss a thing in the flavor department — promise!

Fatty cuts of meat are high in saturated fat and cholesterol (not so good for the old ticker). Leaner alternatives — 90 to 95 percent lean ground beef, chicken or turkey breast, bison and fish — make equally satisfying burgers. Jazz up lower-fat meats with herbs and spices, and add moisture to the patties with chopped onion and mushrooms or a tangy sauce.

If you love cheese and mayo, consider low-fat versions and opt for one, not both. Cheeseburger fans: Try topping your burger with a little bit of strong cheese for a burst of flavor without the high-calorie cost. Sliced avocado makes a creamy addition to a burger and offers less saturated fat and cholesterol than traditional mayo.

Then, don't forget to pile on the fresh vegetables like ripe tomatoes, onion, spinach, lettuce and cucumbers. Even with a smaller burger, you’ll still feel full with loads of fiber-rich veggies. Get more healthy burger tips »

Burger Recipes to Try:

Grilled Meats
Grilling is one of the lightest ways to cook, but to keep it that way, you want to pick leaner meats. Here are some healthy options for the grill:

  • Poultry: Skinless, white-meat chicken or turkey ground turkey breast
  • Beef: Flank steak, top loin, sirloin, porterhouse, T-bone steak and tenderloin 90% lean ground beef
  • Pork: Pork chops or tenderloin
  • Lamb: Look for the word “loin”

When shopping, look for meats that have the least amount of visible fat. If the cut is marbled, that means it’s streaked with fat. Get more tips for healthier meats »

Grilled Main Dish Recipes to Try:

Pasta Salad
Pasta salad: It seems like no cookout would be complete without it. Everyone has their favorite recipe, some lighter than others. Avoid the common pitfalls and keep your mix nutritious and delicious.

First off, cut the mayo. A typical 1/2-cup serving of classic macaroni salad contains 310 calories — about two-thirds of which come from fat. Fat isn't the enemy, but keep it to about one tablespoon of oil or two tablespoons of low-fat mayo or dressing per serving.

Once you've lightened the dressing, add a nutritional punch to the rest of the salad. Use whole-wheat pasta to up fiber and lower overall calories, and load up on veggies, like tomatoes, onions, celery, bell peppers and scallions. Get more tips for healthier pasta salad »

Pasta Salad Recipes to Try:

Potato Salad
If you’re looking for a quick fix, deli counters often offer pre-made potato salads, but not so fast! Those versions can have more than 300 calories and 20 grams of fat per serving. Homemade recipes, meanwhile, often call for at least one cup of mayonnaise! Swap out some or all for a flavorful vinaigrette, pesto sauce, sundried tomatoes, Dijon mustard or lots of fresh herbs. If you favor the traditional creamy texture, a combo of mayonnaise and low-fat yogurt has flavor with much less fat.

Sturdy potatoes can stand up to lots of extra veggies, like green beans, tomatoes, celery, peas, carrots, bell pepper and red onion. The more veggies you add, the heartier (and more full of nutrients) your salad. Chopped pickles and olives also add a nice acidic bite. Also, try keeping the skin on the potatoes — they contain tons of nutrients like hunger-fighting fiber. Get more tips for healthier potato salad »

Potato Salad Recipes to Try:


Light, Fresh Side Salads
Once you've covered the essentials, fill your table with light, fresh salads made from farmers' market finds.

Fruit Desserts
Finish your party with a dessert that's full of in-season fruit: Strawberries, blueberries and peaches all reach their peak midsummer. Make a fresh fruit salad, or throw heartier fruits like pineapple and stone fruits (like peaches, plums and nectarines) on the grill to bring out their sweetness. Serve with frozen yogurt or syrup.

Fruit Dessert Recipes to Try:


Portions of this article were written by Registered Dieticians Dana White and Toby Amidor. Get more of Dana and Toby's healthy ideas at FoodNetwork's Healthy Eats blog.