Australia Day post-holiday entertaining

Australia Day post-holiday entertaining

Australia Day post-holiday entertaining

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You just got out of the holiday season and are working on your New Year resolutions to get fit. Then comes the Australia Day long-weekend, with the possibility of plans working against your determinations.

But just because you just got out of the silly season doesn’t mean you’ve got to put an end to all parties. Here’s how you can still afford to host parties, by putting your own healthy spin into it.

Healthier food choices

Ditch the carb-heavy and sugary food options like potato mash, pies and lamingtons for healthier options such as sweet potato or pea mash, steamed fish and fresh fruit popsicles.

It’s good to start with healthy appetizers themselves as serving innutritious starters just set the scene for a meal full of overeating. Pick food that isn’t overwhelm the appetite but still are of nutritional value – think along the lines of carrot or celery sticks and black bean or guacamole dips, devilled eggs and spiced nuts.

Plan ahead

One thing that many don’t do is plan ahead. Have a headcount a few days before your party so you know how many people you’re expecting and cooking for, so you don’t end up overcooking. Have a realistic breakdown of what you need based on the headcount and proceed accordingly.

And resist the temptation of cooking more than you need to – your guests aren’t obligated to finish all the food that you have prepared.

Offer non-alcoholic beverage options

It’s summer and almost an Aussie tradition to put the barbie on and have beers on Australia Day. If you can’t stay away from the alcoholic chillers, try to match your alcoholic consumption with water.

If you can resist having alcohol, choose a pitcher of iced water or tea infused with fresh fruit and mint instead. It provides a healthier alternative, which is just or even more refreshing than the former and hydrates you.

Go easy on the barbecue

Many have the misconception that barbecued food is healthy, but it’s not quite what it seems. A barbecue runs much hotter and heats meat from below, so the fat from the meat drips onto the coal, which then burns, rises up, and coats the meat. Many nutritionists have identified that this “smoked fat” contains a lot of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a chemical linked to cancer.

So when using the barbecue: try trimming as much fat off the meat as possible; cook the meat with indirect heat; flip it often; avoid overcooking your meat and partially pre-cook the meat so you won’t have to put it on the barbecue for long.

Time food service

Food at parties is more often than not served later than what people are used to. Serving guests later than usual means they – and you – are drinking on an empty stomach, meaning alcohol gets absorbed faster, and load up on appetisers (which is why point #1 is important).

And when serving, instead of bringing out all you’ve prepared, set out reasonable quantities and refill when it runs low. That way, you’re subliminally pacing your intake. In addition, once everyone has had their ample share to eat, instead of leaving out the food till guests leave, bring them back into the kitchen and pack up.