Hospitality: How to Host a Healthy Get-Together With Friends

Hospitality: How to Host a Healthy Get-Together With Friends

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

~ 1 Peter 4:9

Yes, the Bible encourages us to open our homes and our hearts to others.

I actually love to have guests over to our home. Putting on a big spread and entertaining family or friends is something I thrive on. What I tend to struggle with most, however, is spending too much money on food and supplies, and the frustration of the aftermath sometimes left behind.

Yes, I just went there. Sorry folks. I'm all about keeping it real here on the blog. Having guests over can lead to things like a play-dough fest gone wrong with gooey, pink dough stuck like glue in your tan carpet, a broken sliding screen door (someone always walks through the closed screen door), whipped cream from dessert smeared all over the deck furniture, and so much more.

I suppose you could call the aftermath a sign of a fun gathering! Right? 😀

Aside from the mess and occasional destruction, I usually end up feeling terribly guilty about the amount of money spent to feed and entertain everyone, too. Truthfully, there was probably a better way, and everyone would have still had a great meal and an enjoyable time together.

In the past I've had a tendency to overthink these gatherings with my heart focused on the wrong aspect of it - like the details that make it extra special, rather than just keeping it simple and stress-free so the focus can be more on fellowship.

  • Is it really necessary to have a spotless home before guests arrive?

 

  • Is it really necessary to have everything perfectly placed, the most beautiful table settings, and a 7-course meal?

 

  • Is it really necessary to spend money on festive decorations or yard games you don't already have for your own family fun?

No, no, and no.

All that does is stress me out and cost too much. Also, the house will obviously get messed up, so why not do a deep cleaning after everyone leaves, instead?

As I've thought about ways to simplify life a little bit more, spend a little less, and live a lot healthier - not just in our food choices, but also in managing stress - it occurred to me that I should be approaching hospitality a different way. A healthier way!

So here's how I do it now...

Hospitality: How to Host a Healthy Get-Together With Friends

Know Your Guests

A healthy get-together starts with knowing your guests. How many will be joining you? Do they have children? How old are the kids? Will they need a special area with items of entertainment pre-planned? Are there food allergies or dislikes that you know about?

Take a few minutes to write down the particulars about the people you'll be showing your hospitality to, and plan accordingly. Just be sure to keep it simple and inexpensive. Pinterest has a wealth of easy, inexpensive, and fun ideas.

Be prepared for and willing to accept messes made by the entire group of children present, including your own. Kids love to play with friends and this can be messy business sometimes. You can always ring a bell before dessert and request a 5-minute clean up time with the kids.

Also, be sure to let the parents of a baby or toddler know if your home is child-proof or not so they can keep an eye out for the safety of their child while visiting.

Create a Meal Most Would Enjoy

Unless you're hosting a gourmet-food cooking gathering or have a specific theme for your party, it's best to avoid complicated or unusual foods in your meal plan. Not everyone loves caviar, diver scallops, or duck liver.

Stick with the basics. Is it an outdoor picnic? How about sandwiches, salads, and fresh fruit? A BBQ? What would be good cooked on the grill? A Friday night of movies and card games? How about homemade pizza and chicken wings? If you have a Costco or Sam's Club membership, take advantage of buying food supplies there for your gathering. You really do get more for your money, even if that means driving 45 minutes out of your way like it does for me.

Try to provide healthy ingredients for those who are more health-conscious or who might be restricted from eating certain things. This is where knowing your guests can be very helpful.

I always have guests ask, "what can I bring?" So be prepared for those questions. Hospitality doesn't mean you have to provide all of the fixings. Be willing to settle for less food, and be ready to offer opportunities for others to pitch in when they ask.

Keep Dessert Simple Yet Healthy

Fresh fruit is loved by many and is sweet and tasty for dessert. It can also be expensive. You can keep it simple, though. My husband likes to grill pineapple rings which are deliciously sweet. Try them with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream.

Another good option for a healthy - or healthier - dessert is chocolate graham crackers spread with Cool Whip out of the freezer. Turn them into what looks like an ice cream sandwich. It tastes like one too, and is very low calorie! Kids and grownups love them!

Even a nice display of dark chocolate squares (hey, it's totally healthy!), mixed nuts, mixed berries, frozen yogurt cups, or homemade fruit popsicles are all good choices.

Don't forget to offer coffee or tea as an after dinner drink with dessert.

Dress Up Water With Citrus

Good, tasty, clean water! Not only can you dress it up to look pretty and festive, it's also super healthy for everyone.

Instead of loading up a large self-serve container of lemonade or fruit punch (like I've been known to do in the past), fill it with pure Spring water and plenty of slices of lemon, orange, and/or lime. A sprig of mint might be nice, too. This will be a lovely, refreshing attraction to the kids and adults. Best of all, it's the least expensive drink option for a large crowd.

Plan Before or After Dinner Active Time

A great way to get active after dinner is to have something planned in advance. Maybe you and your guests could go for a walk around your neighborhood, or hike at a nearby trail. A group bike ride would be fun, too, if you plan ahead and have everyone bring their bikes.

Other great movement activities are a game of badminton or volleyball, croquet in the front yard, or even fun family-friendly challenges like potato sack races, jump-roping tournaments, hide and seek, or even a good old fashioned game of tag. Hoola hoops are fun, too!

This will all depend on my first point which is knowing your guests. Not all guests are going to want to be active. In that case, it's best to stick with what you know they'll be willing to do. Just give them a heads up before they arrive so they'll be prepared.

Have Conversation Starters Ready

Not everyone is a great conversationalist. Even if you invite someone over who you know is typically super chatty, keep in mind that he or she may be having an off day where there isn't much on their mind to chat about. Likewise, you may be lacking in things to say, too. Nothing makes a get-together with friends more awkward than silence.

So, have some conversation starters on hand if things get too quiet. You can do this by googling "conversation starters" to see if you can find some great topics, or you can spend a few minutes mind-mapping things you know about your guests and their interests. This will get you thinking about good topics of discussion. People generally love to talk about themselves or their interests, so why not give your friends some gentle queues?

One more thing. Pray. At our house, my husband will pray before everyone begins eating. When he's not here and it's just me and the girls hanging out with friends, I do the prayer.

What do you think about this? I'd love for you to share your experiences in the comments.

 

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Rosann Cunningham

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Author at Rosann Cunningham
Rosann is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach specializing in hormone health. She is also a fitness junkie, with a specific passion for mixed martial arts style kickboxing and is trained in Krav Maga - a military self-defense fighting system. After a Hashimotos diagnosis which turned out to be a very wrong call, Rosann became her own health advocate and fought her way back to optimal health and wellness. She is determined to help her clients dig deep to find the root cause of their hormone health struggles, so they too, can thrive and live the abundant life of health and happiness they deserve. Rosann believes nobody should be a victim in life or in their health, so in her coaching practice she loves to integrate a martial arts style and sense of accountability.

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