Healthy Eating

How to Get People to Bring Healthy Party Food

How often do you show up to a party just to see what delicious treats will be served?

From birthdays to bereavement, guests strive to show up with the most sugary, salty, or otherwise rich and fattening foods they can find.

But when you think about it, is unhealthy food really a gift? Do people need more sugar highs? More stomach aches? More guilt-inducing indulgences that take them further away from their health goals?

A cupcake with no frosting

Hey, no one wants to be the house that gives out raisins on Halloween, but sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. And of course, a nourishing meal isn’t unkind. More than you may realize, people would *rejoice* at being given a healthy snack or hearty meal instead of another plate of cookies.

Yes, sugary and salty foods can trigger good feelings at the moment. But mostly I think we’ve been brainwashed: our notion of treats is a marketing-created concept. We’re told that’s what people want for a mood-boost, and we go along with it.

Well… we should stop going along with it. If we’re ever going to whip our diets into shape, it’s clear that we need to take control over how we—and our loved ones—define treats.

Maybe it starts with preparing a list of healthy party food ideas that you can bring to get-togethers or give to neighbors. Or maybe it’s being ready with ways to tell others that you’d like healthy food instead of junk.

Here are a couple thoughts for starters.

Highly Giftable Healthy Foods

A fruit tray

There are lots of dishes you can bring to a party and still be the “fun one.” Like curried butternut squash soup or grilled eggplant topped with fresh tomatoes.

In a pinch, something as simple as a festive veggie tray, quinoa salad, or fruit and Greek yogurt will beat a box of donuts every time.

If someone asks what they can bring to your party, be prepared to suggest a few nutritious ideas (perhaps the ones above).

Or steer them in the right direction by saying something like, “We’ve got dessert taken care of, so how about a healthy side dish?”

Keep Your Cravings in Check


If people do bring unhealthy treats, be prepared to handle sabotage smoothly without offending them.

And if those mountains of goodies are looking mighty tempting, drawing on the 4 D’s (divert, distract, display and delay), can help you stay in control of what you want to eat.

Remember, it’s not the end of the world if you decide to enjoy a small portion of sweet goodies on occasion.

But doing so too frequently can have a negative impact on your waistline, and will hinder your weight loss efforts.


Let’s face it, food is such a big part of our social lives, and eliminating junk food from parties would ruin a lot of the fun of getting together.

But there’s no rule that says all party food has to be unhealthy!

Be the change you want to see in your social circle, and consider taking healthy food to your next party. The trend just might catch on!

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Chelsea Ratcliff

Chelsea Ratcliff

Writer and expert

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