Health and Vitality for The Party Season

It's that time of year when everyone is having parties and impromptu bbqs.
And what's more is, it is only going to get worse in the lead up to Christmas and then New Year.

For those of us who care about our health and realise the importance of proper nutrition keeping healthy over this
time of year can be tricky.

Attending parties where you eat too much over processed food which is full of sugar, e-numbers, bad fats, and drinking too much alcohol which can leave you feeling depleted of energy and attack your immune system. In this post I am going to give you a few ideas on how to host a party and include plenty of nutrient dense nibbles and treats and also  give you a few tips on how to be wise to parties and avoid eating too much low quality food.

A Personal Challenge

I was inspired to write this blog post as I recently had one of the biggest challenges for me when it was our two year old son’s birthday. How was I going to cater for up to 40 people and ensure that there was plenty of nutritious food for everyone that was also appetising.

I also wanted to cut out any processed white sugar so that we didn't end up with a house full of children bouncing of the walls with sugar overload. There is no doubt that it did require more preparation than using supermarket bought food, but it was so worth it.
So here is how I did it.

How to Prepare for a Party Using Healthy Alternatives

Firstly in the week leading up to the birthday party, I tried to make as much food as possible. One of my favourite party treats was a take on Chocolate Rice Bubbles/ or Crackles which ever you call them, they are sugar free, taste delicious and are nutritious.
Really Chocolatey Crackles
Ingredients:

  • 150grams Cacao Butter
  • 4 tbsp Cacao Powder
  • 4 tbsp Carob Powder
  • 4 tbsp Agave Syrup
  • Approx 2 Cups of Puffed Rice cereal(I use an organic brown rice brand)

Method:

  1. Place a glass mixing bowl over a pot of boiling/simmering water and gently melt the cacao butter.
  2. Once the butter is melted turn off the heat and add in the two powders as well as the agave syrup and give it a good whisk using a metal balloon whisk.
  3. Then pour in the puffed rice cereal and cover all the grains with the sauce, you can add in more if the there is plenty of sauce.
  4. Then pour into cup cakes cases and allow to set in the freezer or fridge.
  5. nb: Keep in the fridge prior to eating as the chocolate sauce will begin to melt.

 

These make great sweet treats for kids birthday parties along with fruit kebabs and peanut butter cookies baked with coconut sugar instead of conventional sugar and cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips.
When it came to the birthday Cake I followed this recipe:

Moist Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

•    2 cups coconut sugar
•    1 3/4 cups spelt flour
•    3/4 cup cacao
•    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
•    1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
•    1 teaspoon sea salt
•    2 eggs
•    1 cup milk/rice milk
•    1/2 cup melted butter/coconut oil
•    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
•    1 cup boiling water

Method
1.Heat oven to 350°F and grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2.Stir together coconut sugar, flour, cacao, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.
3.Add eggs, milk, melted butter and vanilla  beating on medium speed of mixer for 2 minutes.
4.Slowly stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).
5.Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to
wire racks. Cool completely.

I use spelt flour as I find it is an easier to digest grain, but you could use any flour you like.

Once I had prepared the cake I had the job of trying to find a way to ice the cake without using icing sugar, so the best thing I could come up with was to use a high quality organic whipping cream to which I whisked up and added in a couple of tablespoons of agave syrup and once I spread it on the cake I then decorated it with berries.

Savory Party Food Ideas

For savoury foods there are a lot more healthy options to choose from, which are not too time intensive.

One of my favourite is making homemade hummus and guacamole
with capsicum, carrot and celery to dip with and provide some good quality chips that are GM, and MSG  free. You can normally find them in health food shops or even the health food section of your supermarket. You may also want to
provide your guests with cheeses and breads which you can get from a good quality delicatessen, and for the adults get a selection of olives, and sundried tomatoes.

For the kids having a bowl full of cherry tomatoes and cubes of
cheese cut up seems to go down well, as well as freshly cooked corn on the cob with a dob of butter or coconut oil.

You may also like to provide an array of veggies patties or good quality meat patties. They are easy to make, can be cooked using coconut oil and you can put in lots of healthy fresh ingredients.

Although hosting a party yourself can be stressful the downside of going to other people's parties is that their may not be good quality food available. So here are a few ideas to help you avoid blowing out.

Other People’s Parties!

When it comes to going to other people's parties I always think it is a good idea to offer to bring something, then you can bring something that you know is healthy and that you are happy to eat, for example taking a dessert or treat such as
raw chocolate, or Lucuma Power Balls or a cake baked with coconut sugar this is a great way to show people that eating raw and healthy food can be delicious.

It is also a good idea to have a light snack before going to a party to ensure you are not really hunger which may then lead to you over doing the processed foods and be sure to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, particularly if you are likely to be drinking alcohol.

When at times it can't be avoided to eat food that is not going to be nutritious remember it is also essential to our health to enjoy life and make the most of social occasions so there are times when it is good to just let your hair down and enjoy the moment with out stressing out about how nutritious the food is. So enjoy the good times  and when you do over indulge pay attention to how it makes you feel and how your body reacts to it,  then let it spur you onwards to keep on eating nutritious food that feeds your body from the inside out.

Please let us know if you have any party foods that you like to make that go down a treat.