Perhaps you’re having company over during the holidays and you’re trying to find the best foods for your guests to serve that also won’t take up a ton of your time? Short term guests aren’t as hard to feed as long term guests are, so I’ve created a healthy mix of different foods for both groups below. Always be sure to check with your guests to see if they have food sensitivities or allergies that might eliminate some of these, or other food choices, to serve. Creating delicious foods for your guests doesn’t have to be stressful. Just choose some of these, and you’ll be well on your way to pleasing a crowd, and stay sane too!
Muffins are one of the best foods for your guests for a few reasons. First, I like them because they’re good to eat as breakfast, a snack, or even an after dinner treat. They can also easily be turned into dessert with a hot cup of cocoa, and perhaps a dollop of whipped cream on top. Muffins are also easy to buy in packaged mixes if you don’t want to make your own. Sure, they aren’t as healthy this way, but some varieties are lower in sugar, fat and even gluten-free, so check around. Muffins also keep for a few days, which makes guests more likely to reach for them over and over instead of needing new snacks. They’re great for short or long term guests, and make a smashing brunch food to serve!
2. Loaf Cakes
Another awesome food to serve to guests that works the same as muffins, is loaf cakes, or what are also known as quick breads. These are just baked in a loaf pan, and you can easily use a muffin package mix and make it the same, but bake it in 1 or 2 loaf pans. Or, you can make your own, and make it as healthy as you like. Loaf cakes are also impossible to mess up, and you can pop them in the oven and forget about them for an hour while you do something else.
Everybody loves reaching for the nut dish, right? Mixed nuts go over very well with people, unless, of course they have a nut allergy, in which you could serve some spiced chickpeas or popcorn instead. Nuts are a fun snack food, but to keep them healthy, try to buy no salt added, or low sodium varities, and serve them with yummy cacao nibs or dairy-free chocolate chips as a healthier alternative.
4. The Veggie Tray
Everybody brings veggies trays to parties for a reason - they get eaten, even if people don’t claim to like them, and they’re easy. Why? Because you pop veggies on a tray with a yummy dip and people feel less guilty about eating the other snack foods. Plus, veggies are delicious and make for a great snack item! You can buy them pre-made or make your own. If you make your own, I suggest keeping it in the fridge until serving so it stays cool and fresh. You can even make your own healthy yogurt-based dip instead of sour cream-based varieties if you wish too. Veggie trays are best for short term parties or events, but if you have long term house guests, definitely consider them as well. People love being able to reach for veggies when they want something healthy and don’t have to prepare it themselves.
5. Raw Truffles
Okay, these might take a few minutes of your time, but no longer than 10 minutes, and they’re sure to be a hit at parties for short term guests or long term guests. But, I’ll warn you , you better make a double batch, because they’ll get gone quickly! To make, just puree some dates in a food processor with coconut, almonds and cashews. Add cocoa powder or cacao nibs if you want, and a little water to get it mixing. You can use whatever ratios of nuts or seeds you want, and when it’s done processing it should look like cookie dough. Then, just scoop it up with a spoon, roll into truffle balls, and leave in the fridge to set. These make excellent little snacks and are some of my favorite to keep around all year round.
6. Chocolate Anything
Everybody loves chocolate, so anything you keep around the house that is made of the delicious superfood, is sure to be a hit. Chocolate anything goes, and it can be as healthy as you want, or as sinful as you want. Either way, guests of all types will surely love you for it! Hot cocoa anyone?
If you’re having weekend guests, or guests in your home, eggs make the perfect breakfast to cook up for everyone, so long as they’re not vegan, of course. Eggs can be made into pancakes, quiches, scrambled up quick, tossed with some veggies for an omelet, or served sunny side up, or boiled. Keep a carton in your fridge, or maybe even two. You can also use eggs for a lot of your baked goods if that’s something you’re preparing to do as well for your guests.
Most people love hot cider, and while I prefer cocoa, cider is a sure hit to serve for guests. You can buy pre-made mixes, or make your own. You can also make a sugar free version by brewing a huge pot of cinnamon apple flavored tea, adding cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and orange slices, and adding stevia to sweeten. Or, you can buy a pre-made version and call it a day!
My favorite thing to serve people is cocoa. It’s warming, soothing, and innocent. It’s also a little less bold than coffee, and perfect for winter months, or for people who don’t drink coffee. Keep a few kinds of creamers or milks in your fridge in case someone has an allergy, and also keep a few sweetener choices around. Many people like sugar, I prefer stevia, and others prefer artificial ones, believe it or not.
Berries aren’t just for summer; they make a great winter guest food. You can serve them as is, with cream for dessert, with ice cream, or top any desserts with them. They can also be baked into muffins or loaf breads, and make an excellent pairing with eggs for breakfast. They can be served at short term events, or kept in the house all week for long term guests.
11. Soup or Chowder
If you’re looking for a light dinner to serve your guests, go with soup or chowder. They’re both calming and satiating and also very easy to prepare, along with being versatile. Soup and chowder are also inexpensive items, if you do your homework right, and you can even make them in your slow cooker so you don’t have to fuss with them.
Having weekend guests over? Make a batch of slow cooker oatmeal. It’s the perfect solution to fuss-free mornings, and makes for such a treat for guests to wake up to. You can also pair it with berries, nuts, seeds, or anything else you like to make it as healthy or versatile as you want. A good ratio is 1 cup steel cooked oats to 4 cups liquid in your slow cooker to make 4 servings. Then, you can add whatever other ingredients to it you prefer after that. I like cinnamon, vanilla extract, nutmeg, ginger and blueberries, but anything goes! You can also cool any leftovers and then store them in the fridge if you make a double batch. Then, they can be reheated for snacks, or paired with yogurt the next morning for a healthy breakfast.
Never, ever forget how powerful cookies are to serve to guests! Healthy or not, everybody loves cookies and any flavor is sure to be a hit. Pick a few of your favorites, and if you have to, buy a premade dough. I don’t suggest doing this unless you’re extremely short on time, but hey, guests will love you either way for it, and they probably won’t notice or care that they’re pre-made anyway. Cookies are great to have on hand for long, or short term guests and will probably disappear quickly, much faster than your guests do!
Another great treat for a snack or breakfast, is granola. Guests can either eat this plain, use it to top yogurt with, or have it with some milk for breakfast. This can be served to short and long term guests, depending on the situation, and can easily be bought from the store since it’s available in many brands, sizes and varieties.
Lastly, but most importantly - always have coffee for your guests - even if you don’t drink it. Most Americans start their day or end their evening with a cup of Joe, decaf or regular. If you don’t own a coffee pot, consider getting a small 4 cup serving one. You can reuse it to brew water for tea, which is what I like to also use my coffee pot for actually, even though I drink coffee. Guests love coffee, and I promise, they’ll love you for making sure you serve it while they’re in your home!
If you need some recipe ideas for healthy versions of these foods, please feel free to check out my blog soulfulspoon.com. Making nourishing foods is one of my favorite things to do for myself, and my guests. What about you? What foods do you serve to guests?