Stressless Entertaining
April 27th, 2011

Quick and easy dishes include fresh ingredients for a healthy meal

entertaining1Tailgating parties, potluck dinners and barbecues can fill up entertaining calendars more quickly than ice melts on a hot day. Often the pains of entertaining, even for a simple get-together, can make hosts sweat the details.

Entertaining expert Cathy Riva, founder of Manhattan-based Riva Events, highlights recipes that provide wholesome nutritional content and are easy to make, such as using fruits and vegetables with a twist, as an easy way to make your recipes seasonal and fun.

Riva also stresses that hosts should consider the dietary needs of their guests, such as food allergies, diabetes or diet plans.

“One easy way to make sure all your guests can enjoy beverages and foods with reduced sugar is to substitute Splenda no calorie sweetener for sugar,” says Riva. “There is no need to stress over elaborate dishes. Instead, keep the food light and fun. Don’t be afraid to ask guests to bring a small dish. Potluck-type parties are always a hit, allowing everyone the opportunity to try new things.”

Another party tip is to invite a variety of friends to your soirée.

“No need to worry if your guests haven’t met previously,” says Riva. “A party a is great way to get to know new people and make new connections. And you never know who will hit it off.”

Tanya Zuckerbrot, a registered dietitian and creator of The F-Factor Diet, provides unique tips on keeping your party healthy and your guests hydrated:

Make healthy eating fun and easy by having seasonal fruits washed, cut and on hand for a healthy party snack.

entertaining2Keep your guests hydrated by setting out pitchers/thermal jugs with lemonade and water. If you tire of the taste of plain water, try a sugar substitute for a simple way to add taste without the added sugar.

Encourage your guests to be physically active by playing music for dancing, starting a game of tag or organizing a party-wide hide-and-seek competition. Offer lively party games such as ping-pong, bean bag toss, basketball or badminton.

For more information and recipes visit

Citrus Salsa


  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 2 large oranges, peeled and diced
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 packets (1 gram) Splenda
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Bring small saucepan of water to a boil. Blanch tomatoes for 30 seconds, then rinse with cold water. Peel and chop tomatoes.
  • Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until mixed thoroughly. Allow to stand at room temperature for one hour. Mix and serve. Refrigerate any unused salsa.
  • Serve Citrus Salsa with baked tortilla chips or on top of grilled chicken or fish.
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes

Nutrition info per serving: calories 70, calories from fat 0, fat 0g (sat 0g), cholesterol 0mg, sodium 470mg, carbohydrate 16g, fiber 3g, sugar 12g, protein 2g

Watermelon Raspberry Popsicles


  • 2 cups watermelon, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1/3 cup Splenda
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup


  • Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Pour ingredients out of blender. Strain through a sieve into a small bowl, pressing firmly to extract as much of the liquid as possible. Discard pulp.
  • Pour extracted juice into popsicle molds and freeze at least six hours or overnight.
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes

Serves 8

Nutrition info per serving: calories 25, calories from fat 0, fat 0g (sat 0g), cholesterol 0mg, sodium 0mg, carbohydrate 7g, fiber 1g, sugar 5g, protein 0g

Raw Broccoli Salad


  • 4 cups broccoli florets or broccolini
  • ¼ cup red onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Splenda
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, roasted and salted
  • 3 tablespoons seedless raisins


  • Discard broccoli stems and finely chop florets or broccolini. Set aside.
  • Place remaining ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Mix well. Add broccoli florets or broccolini. Toss until coated. Chill until ready to serve.
  • Preparation time: 10 minutes

Serves 6

Nutrition info per serving: calories 60, calories from fat 15, fat 2g (sat 0g), cholesterol 0mg, sodium 85mg, carbohydrate 10g, fiber 2g, sugar 6g, protein 3g

Mango Yogurt Smoothie


  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1 large ripe mango, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup Splenda
  • 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mango nectar or orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • Pinch of salt


  • Combine all ingredients in a blender in the order listed; process mixture until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides.
  • Preparation time: 5 minutes
  • Serves 3

Nutrition info per serving: calories 110, calories from fat 0, fat 0g (sat 0g), cholesterol 0mg, sodium 180mg, carbohydrate 26g, fiber 2g, sugar 22g, protein 4g