Healthy entertaining tip # 1. Find a local expert to speak about healthy eating.
It couldn't be easier to locate a registered dietitian in your area. Just go to eatright.org and type in your zip code to see a list of options. Prices will vary by speaker, so get in touch with a few to discuss going rates for preparing an informal talk on a nutrition topic, creating a theme-based menu, as well as providing recipes and handouts.
Healthy entertaining tip # 2. Get a headcount.
Find out who will attend and decide how to split costs for ingredients and speaker fees. Dividing the total expenses among your group can reduce the bottom line and get all of your guests invested-literally-in making the event a success. Be sure to ask what vegetarian or allergy requirements your friends have.
Healthy entertaining tip # 3. Pick a hot-button topic.
Have a brainstorming session with the expert to i.d. a compelling, buzzed-about healthy eating topic that will pique your crowd's curiosity. Skip the PowerPoint to avoid a snoozefest. Do ask the speaker to prepare recipe packets and take-home handouts chock-full of refresher tidbits and tips.
Healthy entertaining tip # 4. Build a menu.
Ask the speaker to suggest recipes based on the chosen theme and work together to design a menu. For an "Eat for Energy"-themed affair, try this simple powerfoods menu with these healthy Shape.com recipes:
Healthy entertaining tip # 5. Dole out recipes and shopping lists.
Go potluck so each woman receives a shopping list and recipe to prepare in advance of the party. This way, guests not only get to taste but also shop for and cook new foods.
Healthy entertaining tip # 6. Have a cooking demonstration.
If there's room, cook a dish together as one of the night's activities.
Healthy entertaining tip # 7. Talk chow.
After everyone sits with their stacked plates, have the expert explain why she chose each food and how it relates to the night's nutrition theme – and healthy eating, overall. Open the floor to feedback on tastes and textures. Ask what it was like finding and preparing unknown ingredients. Are there tips for where to buy health food locally on the cheap?