Many of us have been practicing social distancing for well over a month now. The pain of not being able to see our friends and family regularly has certainly been a struggle, but it’s also given us ample free time to work on side projects and get to know ourselves better through hardship.
Since the state of coronavirus has started looking up, many people are eagerly anticipating seeing their friends and family members once more. One of the best ways to celebrate seeing each other again is by throwing a healthy dinner party for friends.
After all, who wouldn’t enjoy a great meal with even better company? Gathering your friends around the table for the first time in weeks (or maybe even months) is an opportunity that should not be squandered. Luckily, we still have some time before most states lift their social distancing mandates so we have plenty of time to start planning the perfect evening party.
Not sure where to start? Here are some of the best ways to throw a healthy dinner party for friends and family members after quarantine.
Set the stage
No healthy dinner party is complete without a great theme. Some simple ideas include a “welcome back” theme, a theme surrounding spring, or a simple dinner date theme. If you want to get really clever, however, you could always establish a theme that involves an inside joke or a theme where you have to dress up.
Since everyone is eager to go outside, opting for a more complex theme might be the perfect thing to drum up some engagement. Why not go for a costume contest or a potluck? That way, your guests will be able to participate in the planning, not just show up for a random dinner party. Your friends will be able to use the rest of their quarantine time coming up with great costume ideas or crafting innovative recipes to impress their friends. Some people might even look up some online art classes for kids to get great ideas for crafting their outfits.
In the meantime, it’s important for you to prep your space. If you’re asking that your friends bring a range of dishes to sample, it’s vital to have a stage or countertop that can accommodate the range of meals for your guests. You should also choose the a strong option: if you choose a table, ensure that the proper screwed fittings to support the table can take on the additional weight expected from heavy casserole dishes and cool decorations. In the event that you’re worried about cluttering up your countertops and tables, you can always opt for hanging decorations, wall decorations, and centerpieces to clear up some table space.
Clean, clean, clean
It’s been a while since you have had guests over, so you should also perform some thorough cleaning, especially if you have pets. When cleaning, start from the top of your home and work your way down, cleaning the floor last; that way, any dust or dirt will collect on the floor and you can sweep it all up without dirtying your clean floors later.
After all, cleaning your home is important, both for you and your guests. Some companies have made a complete business out of cleaning services alone.
Here’s a brief cleaning checklist to ensure your guests’ comfort.
- Start at your ceilings and clear away any cobwebs and dust. This will make hanging any decorations easier and give your house a brighter feeling.
- Wash the walls and windows to remove unseen dust and grime. You’d be surprised at how much build-up appears on your glass door system because of candle soot, dirty pets, and dust. If your guests will be passing through these doors to get to your backyard or patio, this aspect of cleaning is especially vital.
- Dust every surface. Most people have at least a mild allergy to dust, but it’s hard to see it piling up, especially on light surfaces. Dust your television stand, any shelving in the home, and on the tops of doorframes. Your guests won’t notice that you performed a good dusting, but their clear sinuses are all the thanks you will need.
- Vacuum furniture to rid them of any crumbs from your ample quarantine snacks. Be sure to get the tops of the sofa and beneath the seats to remove any stray pet hairs from the upholstery. You should also move the couch away from the walls and vacuum underneath the whole couch since dust accumulates there, too.
- Vacuum and sweep your floors, but only mop if it’s necessary. You’ll have better luck mopping after the healthy dinner party for friends since they will likely track a bit of dirt into your home that is best cleaned the next day.
- Tackle the bathroom. The place where you get cleaned up is actually one of the dirtiest spots in your home. Clean the toilet, sink, and even the bathtub to make a good impression. Those who have to use the bathroom counter to remove and clean their Invisalign braces will appreciate a clean countertop devoid of hair and soap stains.
- Wipe down handles and surfaces to stop the spread of bacteria. Even though the threat of coronavirus is winding down, you should still practice good hygiene when inviting over guests.
Your house should already start looking and smelling better from your cleaning efforts. On the day of the party, however, you should also opt for the best wax melters to make your home smell amazing. These wax melters are typically less dangerous than candles which rely on an open flame.
Once you’re done cleaning your home, you’re officially ready to start decorating for your party.
Some might say that cleaning your house is a great way to implement health and safety measures in your home. However, there is one primary safety threat when it comes to throwing a great party (even one that’s healthy: alcohol.
This is because drinking and driving is a huge issue in the United States. After more than a month in quarantine, it makes sense that you’d want to toss a few back in the company of great friends. But drinking and driving is never okay. When you send out the invitations to your party, be sure to encourage your friends to drink responsibly.
After all, there’s no reason you shouldn’t get a little crazy. You’re blowing off steam from more than a month in quarantine! Just be sure that you and your guests have a safe way to get home by contacting rideshare apps or designating a sober driver. Since your house is already tidy and clean, you can also toss a few sleeping bags on the living room floor for a comfy sleepover.
No matter how rowdy you get, you should also keep noise to a minimum. Part of staying safe at a party is preventing things from getting out of hand. If you live in a quiet residential community, few neighbors want to hear your hoots and hollers throughout the night. Be respectful of others when you throw a healthy dinner party for friends, especially if there are a few drinks involved.
Choose a healthy menu
Even if you opt for a pot luck option, you’ll still have to prepare a few healthy options for your many guests. Here are some tips for providing healthy choices at your healthy dinner party for friends:
- Stick to veggies as your main ingredient. While savory meats like chicken and turkey are still lean enough to be considered healthy, featuring vegetables as your main ingredient will stick to your theme a little better. This is especially true if you have vegetarians or vegans in the mix. Vegetable-inspired dishes will offer a vibrant display of colors and easily absorb a range of flavors, ranging from sweet to spicy. In some cases, you might even be able to pair your colorful foods with the decor you’ve established for the party. Since these fruits and vegetables offer a lot of vitamins and minerals, this is also good for those suffering from thinning hair because of the stress from quarantine. This healthy menu is key for refueling your friends after social distancing.
- Rely on smaller portion sizes. This is especially important if you’re having a potluck with the rest of your guests. Too much food will make everyone feel tired and will eventually bring the party to an early end. Smaller portions will also allow you to indulge in the less-than-healthy options that might show up for dessert.
- Prep in advance. Your dinner party will be easier to plan for if you prepare some delicious food in advance. Most stews, chilis, and dips are easy to prepare and just require some heating up on the day of the party. Since you want to spend as much time with your guests as you can, this tip is vital.
- Before you do anything, ask about allergies. Most people think of a healthy dinner party for friends that only includes healthy options, but allergens are just as important to consider. Peanuts and shellfish can cause severe allergic reactions in some people. If you have guests with allergies, preparing all the food on your own can ensure that no allergens will find their way into the mix. This might make hosting a potluck more challenging, but it’s essential in keeping your friend away from a health claims administrator for an allergy attack.
- Don’t forget healthy drinks! Water should be the top beverage on your menu and it doesn’t have to be boring and flavorless like most people think. Try sprucing up your classic water with a sparkling option infused with strawberries and limes. This beverage is simple to prepare and far healthier than juices and lemonades that are loaded with sugar.
- Look for alternatives when it comes to adult drinks, too. Most liquors and alcohols are packed with calories. That’s one of the many reasons hard seltzers like White Claw, Truly, and even Budweiser’s newest brand have taken the younger generations by storm. Low in calories, these seltzers have a similar alcohol content to beer at a fraction of the calories. They also make a great base for many cocktails if you want to get creative. Of course, you should always remind your friends to drink responsibly, even in the comfort of their friend’s home.
- Create some healthy snacks to eat while gaming and relaxing. Your dinner is important, but it’s equally important to pad the rest of your party with great games, fun drinks, and flavorful, healthy food.
Make your healthy dinner party for friends a reality!
Now that the end of social distancing is finally in our grasp, there’s no better time to start planning a healthy dinner party for friends and family members. Clean your home, choose a theme, and craft a menu that will have your friends talking for months to come. After weeks upon weeks of social distancing, you deserve to let loose and have some fun in a safe, healthy way.