Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. ~Hippocrates

If you like to socialize, love good food and are interested in improving your healthy eating habits, I have an idea for you. What better way to do this than by sharing your journey with other like-minded people?

Invite some friends interested in cooking or learning how to cook, to join you in a dinner club. It is based around rotating houses and sharing responsibilities for a meal. Everyone helps at each meal and all split the cost. It is still cheaper and infinitely healthier than eating out – and you don’t have to tip! Here’s how it works:

1.Locate and invite enough people to ensure a good number at each event, but keep in mind how many can be comfortably accommodated at each member’s home.

  1. Decide how often you all want to meet: monthly? quarterly?
  2. Create a schedule, rotating homes.
  3. The host plans the whole meal, prepares the entree and picks up the beverages (alcoholic or not or both). S/he delegates the side dishes, desserts, salads, etc. according to the meal plan. Everyone contributes their share of the whole cost at the end of the meal.

Simple? What’s so different than any other dinner club you may be wondering? Here’s is the catch: The recipes have to be low in fat (compared to the norm; we are not getting crazy!). That means no cream sauces that use real cream. Thicken them with starches or by reducing the through simmering. Use healthy fats/oils: butter no or limited. Olive and canola? Yes. Meals should contain reasonable portions: a variety of vegetables (filling half the plate), 3-4 oz of animal protein, or alternate protein if you feel daring enough to find a good recipe. Try tofu (it comes in many textures), beans or add more veggies. Your grains should be whole grains or starches like sweet potato, and fill less than one quarter of the plate. See “myPlate for may ideas, recipes, calorie counts, tools to track your calories, activity, weight, etc. www.choosemyplate.gov.

Eating well and enjoying good food IS possible with a little effort. Best of all, sharing the time with your friends is really what nourishes your soul. The meal is a healthy bonus and gift to your bodies.

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