Keeping your party menu healthy doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Let your party be more than just a celebration. Let it serve as an inspiration. Skip the takeaway pizzas, buckets of chicken or carb-loaded pasta. Do something different and opt for a healthy-themed menu instead.
We asked Anabelle Co-Martinent of La Juiceria and Serina S. Bajaj of Kind Kones to dish us their best advice to curating a menu that's both healthy and tasty.
What are your three best tips when it comes to hosting a healthy party?
Anabelle: Have both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. Serve plenty of natural snacks on the table such as cut fruits and a variety of nuts. Make it colourful and fun.
Serina: Plan ahead, get creative because presenting healthy food can be fun, and don't forget about seasoning. Natural herbs and spices can boost the flavour profile for any dish.
What's a big no-no then?
Anabelle: Don't serve anything too complicated. You don't want your guests to be self-conscious about how to eat it.
Serina: Serving bland food. Healthy food can be tasty when you know the right combos.
Any fun games or activities you can suggest that can help promote healthy living among the guests?
Anabelle: You can organise a DIY Smoothie Bowl station and have guests decorate their own smoothie bowls. Think bright ingredients for that perfect Insta-worthy pictures!
Serina: Maybe a DIY station where guests can get creative and really think about how to put together their own healthy beverage of dish — salad bar, ice cream bar with healthy topping options and so forth.
Anabelle: When it comes to appetisers, choose something that is fuss-free and easy to eat. You can always make it more interesting by varying the flavours of the dip.
Serina: I like to keep the appetisers light, colourful and simple — but with a lot of texture.
Strawberry, Yellow Lentil & Candied Pecan Salad (gluten-free, low carb)
Served in a big salad bowl or small individual glass cups, it's super healthy but full of flavour.
Purple & Yellow Corn Chips with homemade Salsa & Guacamole (vegan, gluten-free)
These are great crunchy party munchers with homemade dips to replace unhealthy options.
Roasted Beet Hummus with Crunchy Crudites (vegan, gluten-free, low carb)
Another dish that's easy to put together and guests will still have room for mains.
Anabelle: Three crowd favourites: Salad, pasta and chicken.
Healthy folks will surely get their fix and it's easy to prepare. Better yet, let the guests build their own salad and give them plenty of topping options.
It's comfort food, especially the classic bolognese. However, I would make a vegetarian version instead. To liven it up, add lots of diced carrots, shiitake mushrooms and pumpkin together with the sauce.
You can stuff many things inside the chicken for extra flair. Think roasted vegetables like potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms. While you're entertaining your guests, the chicken can be kept hot in the oven. Another stress-free option!
Serina: Mains should bring a sense of merriment. I like to make them indulgent, vibrant, yet wholesome while also being conscious of lower carb and vegan options for my guests.
Roasted sweet potato & caramelised onion tart with goat cheese
This can be made in advance. It just needs to be cooked on the day, which says you a lot of time and energy.
Homemade Rigatoni Pasta Pesto (dairy-free)
Same with the pesto sauce.
Butternut pumpkin & Eggplant Moussaka (vegan, gluten-free, low refined carbs)
Tip: Use almond cream instead of cheese topping.
Acai / Smoothie Bowls
You don't find these very often at parties so it'll definitely have a wow factor. All you need is a powerful blender, acai bars (which can last a long time in the freezer) and other fun fruits such as bananas and berries. Better yet, let your guests create their own smoothie bowl designs with different toppings.
Greek yoghurt and wildflower honey on the side
I recently discovered that plain Greek yoghurt mixed with honey is a superb dessert for those looking for an alternative to ice cream. You can add honey and sweeten the yoghurt as you wish, depending on the level of sweetness you desire.
Serina: Every party should have something sweet. And healthy desserts are even better because your guests can indulge with less guilt!
Flourless Sweet Potato Brownies (gluten-free, dairy-free)
Apple & Cinnamon Pie (gluten-free, vegan)
Anabelle: I love sparkling water and I believe most guests would opt for this as a safe bet. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and it's a great thirst quencher.
If you're too busy to prepare it yourself, just grab them from the stores. When you have extras, the guests can even bring them home too. You can even throw a mini contest to see how fast they can finish the juice shots (as opposed to tequila ones).
Nothing beats drinking for the source itself and it's a great way to jazz up the party. Coconut water contains a similar electrolyte profile to human blood, making it an ideal beverage to replace fluids and help remove toxins from the body. Drinks, with benefits.
Photo: La Juiceria
Serina: These three choices are perfect party refreshers and are much healthier than sugary soft drinks.
Sparkling Elderflower Lemonade
Strawberry Mint Infused Water
It not only looks pretty but adds an extra oomph to regular water.
Alternatively, do you provide catering for those looking for a more stress-free way and what are some must-orders from your menu?
Anabelle: We do! Whether it's La Juiceria Superfoods or Super Saigon, we can even close off certain outlets to host a private function. I definitely recommend the Nasi Lemak Wrap (it's a crowd pleaser!), the Buddha Bowl(mini version), and the Teriyaki Chicken Grain Bowl. Oh, and not forgetting our range of cold-pressed juices.
Serina: Yes! We have a mobile ice cream cart that's perfect for adding that fun factor to any party. We can scoop our vegan ice cream on-site or send pre-packed cups. You have nearly 50 flavours to choose from. The majority of our dessert pantry is also available for catering whether it's a whole cake or a variety platter. Our Ferrero Rocher Bliss Ball (raw, vegan, gluten-free) is very popular. We also have savoury offerings with a variety of wrap and sandwich choices.