Since cocktail hour is my favorite time of day, I am excited to share these great tips for hosting a healthier happy hour from San Diego-based Registered Dietitian Elizabeth!
Hi there KERF Community! I am truly honored to be able to guest post today over here at KERF. I have to admit, I’ve been a fan of Kath’s ever since I learned that dietitians blogged! I didn’t find this gem until 2012 but boy let me tell you I am so glad I did.
Flash forward a few years and KERF has inspired me to start my own blog, Simple Swaps. Motivated by a desire to help the average person develop a healthy relationship with food, I decided to showcase the small changes that can lead to big differences in one’s health. Hence the name Simple Swaps- a swap here, a swap there, and viola… a new you!
One of the things I absolutely love about KERF is that Kath is all about balance and moderation, which includes having that afternoon cocktail to let loose and relish in the little things in life. Phew… AMEN sister! I too am a big proponent of finding that yin-yang which is why I think happy hours are the best medicine.
Living in San Diego has allowed me to be exposed to the countless breweries and wineries we have at every corner; but I have to admit, I am still not a beer or wine fan. I prefer to stick to those distilled spirits; you know, like vodka and tequila?. It’s probably a good thing I don’t live in Russia or Mexico then, huh?!
The problem for me is when I go out for a drink: I can opt for the $15 frozen daiquiri, but honestly the sugar in these leaves me feeling sluggish and sick to my stomach when I hit the bottom of the glass.
So, what’s a lady to do when she still enjoys those happy hour cocktails? Enter, the home happy hour!
Hosting a home happy hour is definitely a win-win for not only your wallet, but also your friends with kiddos who want to partake but can’t get a sitter last minute. Not only can the whole cul-de-sac partake, but you can keep the kids busy with the loads of toys at your disposal. Plus, you can easily blend up a delicious blueberry lemonade using fresh fruits and citrus infusion for the whole crew. Reminder – hold off on adding the spirits until the kids get their virgin ones! Little do they know they are getting a serving or two of fruit in there to boot… stealth health r-i-g-h-t!
By hosting at your house, you can infuse appetizers that can easily have a simple swap in there. For instance, think about the decadent dishes you typically get at happy hour – nachos, dips, guacamole, quesadillas, and potato skins. Any ideas on how you could #simpleswap them?
Bingo- you’ve got it! Using some of the kitchen staples you have on hand, like pita bread, cheese, fresh veggies, a can of beans, avocados, and even frozen French fries, you can whip up crowd pleasing foods in no time. The flip side- by making these items in house, you not only are saving added calories and fat from the preparation methods (i.e. baking- you’ve got an oven), but you also can control the amount of salt. I tend to pump up the flavor by using smoked paprika and other spices to give that homemade kick to the snacks. Here’s a sample of a simple hummus I whipped up using my single serving blender cup- no mess clean up!
Now that you’ve whipped up these delicious eats, what’s to stop you from eating the entire spread? Enter…PORTION CONTROL! I totally understand it’s a lot easier said than done, but think about your table set up. What if you were to remove the food from the table and move it to a side counter top?
By doing so, you can create a “BYO” station, allowing your guests customizability while also appeasing all the different diet types too. Plus, you can practice that stealth health approach by putting out smaller plates and cups. How much can you really fit on that four inch plate?
Tempted to put a bowl of chips in the middle? Change up your routine and sport that beautiful basil plant you picked up in the center. Or, if you have a handy man around like mine, have him build you a #DIY table with succulents in the center! Not only will this save you for future parties on centerpieces, but it also changes into an ice chest- trust me, your friend’s will envy you!
Are you sold yet? I hope so! Here’s to a great weekend of home hosted happy hours! Be sure to use the hashtag #shawsimpleswaps to show me how you’re celebrating!
Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RD
Elizabeth is a Registered Dietitian and entrepreneur in San Diego, California. She is working on building her private practice and expanding her services into media, foodservice and corporate wellness consulting. She blogs over at Simple Swaps, where you can find her giving the latest nutrition tips and tricks on how to swap this for that when it comes to your managing your health. Check her out (@shawsimpleswaps) and get to know how small changes can make big differences in your overall health!