Offer Healthy Options
While not every item you serve needs to be “healthy,” try to provide healthy choices as often as possible. Provide more nutrient-dense foods (foods with more nutrition and vitamins) and less “empty” calories (foods high in calories and fat but low in nutrients and vitamins). Variety is the spice of life!
Fruits and Vegetables
Make sure to include as many fruits and vegetables as possible. Remember ALL fruits and veggies count including fresh, frozen, canned and dried. Try including fruits and vegetables in baked goods and casseroles. You can also offer plates of raw veggies, bowls of canned fruits or trail mix with nuts and dried fruit.
Grains, Breads, Baked Goods
Try to offer whole grain breads and crackers instead of highly processed white flour breads and crackers. Grocery store muffins and sweet rolls are usually very high in fats and sugars. Whole grain breads and crackers and homemade muffins are generally better. Rice crackers, whole wheat bagels or English muffins and corn tortillas are excellent healthy choices.
Meats and cheeses can be expensive as well as high in fat. Some good choices include: sliced turkey, chicken and ham, nuts, and low fat cheeses such as mozzarella and reduced fat cream cheese. Other good protein sources are nuts, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, eggs, tofu, and soybeans.
Try to provide water, low fat milk and juice as often as possible instead of sugary drinks. Some ideas to try: water with lemon and/or orange slices in a pitcher, iced herbal teas such as hibiscus, mint or berry sweetened with a little honey.
Make fruit a prominent part of dessert or use low-fat or reduced sugar items. Include low-fat dairy or whole grains when possible.
Some “healthy fellowship” example menus.
Example #1: Whole wheat bagels with reduced fat cream cheese, sliced fresh fruit, carrot and celery sticks with peanut butter, milk and juice.
Example #2: Egg casserole (made with spinach, reduced fat cheese and turkey ham), fruit salad, iced herbal tea.
Example #3: Whole grain bread, sliced turkey and cheese, sliced veggie tray (carrots, celery, cucumbers, red peppers, etc.), hummus, sliced fruit, water w/lemon and orange slices.
Example #4: Bean dip, corn tortilla chips, green salad (or other raw veggie salad such as cole slaw), fruit smoothies (made with frozen berries, bananas, apple juice and/or rice milk).
Guidelines for Healthy Church Meals & Potlucks
Healthy eating means choosing the right foods. Build a base by selecting nutrient-packed foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, with smaller amounts of protein-rich foods, plus small amounts of fats, oils and sweets. Purchase fruits and vegetables in season. When fresh isn’t available, frozen and/or canned are also good, to increase vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Read food labels, to choose better sources of nutrients and to help limit fat, cholesterol, sugar and sodium. Cook using vegetable oils (olive, canola or peanut) instead of lard and butter.
While not every item you serve needs to be “healthy,” try to provide healthy choices as often as possible. Provide more nutrient-dense foods (foods with more nutrition and vitamins) and fewer “empty” calories foods (those high in calories and fat but low in nutrients and vitamins). Variety is the spice of life!