Healthy Baby Shower Food Recipes
Wondering what to serve at the baby shower that is delicious yet healthful? The key is to focus your menu on fresh, colorful ingredients used in simple, flavorful recipes. Then present the food with attention to eye appeal.
Start by asking the mother-to-be about any food preferences or needs. Keep in mind food safety, check your budget and plan your menu. Often, baby showers feature a mix of simple snacks, sandwiches or salads, and a sweet such as cake along with drinks. Your menu can be as simple as three or four items plus a sweet and drinks.
Remember to select recipes featuring multicolored, preferably organic or locally grown, fruits and vegetables as well as low salt, low fat and low sugar ingredients. This will ensure the food both tasty and healthy. To ease your way, below is a sample menu using favorite family party recipes followed by the recipes themselves.
Sample Healthy Foods Menu
Organic vegetables with dressing for dipping
Cucumber finger sandwiches cut into heart shapes
Chicken salad with low salt, low fat whole grain crackers
Fresh seasonal fruit salad
Punch and iced tea
Healthy Baby Shower Food Recipes
Clean well, and where needed peel and slice, a variety of vegetables such as carrots, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, celery, cauliflower and broccoli. Serve with Annie’s Naturals Goddess or Cowgirl Ranch Dressing (http://www.anniesnaturals.com/) or other dressing of choice for dipping.
Make eye appealing tea or finger sandwiches with two slices of whole grain bread, pasteurized butter, mayonnaise or pasteurized cream cheese, plus thinly sliced cucumber. Spread the butter, mayonnaise or cream cheese on both slices of bread. Arrange the cucumber on one slice. Press the other slice on top. Then, use cookie cutters to cut out finger sandwiches.
In the place of cucumber, and with special care, you could use thinly slice deli meat. Please note, however, that deli meats, whether purchased at the deli counter or packaged, must be heated to steaming hot before eating. You can use a microwave, oven or grill to heat the meat. To then use on sandwiches, cool the meat completely.
This process of super-heating then cooling protects the mother-to-be and her child from Listeria, a bacterium which causes Listeriosis. Though relatively rare, pregnant women are 20 times more likely than other healthy adults to get the infection. Consequences of Listeriosis may include premature labor, premature birth, and miscarriage. The infant may suffer severe illness or even death.
The use of pasteurized milk products is also important as Listeria and other food born organisms can be present in soft cheeses and dairy products. Additional information on Listeria and other food safety tips during pregnancy can be found at these sites: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancycomplications/listeria.htmlor http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09372.html.
In the place of deli meat, you could make a chicken salad filling (see chicken salad recipe below) or use tofu, ham or tuna salad. If you do elect to use deli meats, some healthier choices include lower salt meats plus those without artificial ingredients or preservatives such as those made by Applegate Farms and Wellshire Farms. In addition to its low salt meats, Boar’s Head also makes a line of all natural deli meats. See the following sites for more information www.applegatefarms.com, http://www.wellshirefarms.com/about.html, and http://www.boarshead.com/digicatessen.php?categoryID=3 .
Chicken salad makes a tasty sandwich filling or stand alone dish with whole grain, low salt, low fat crackers on the side. If you prepare the chicken for sandwiches, mix together until well blended between 1 ½ and 1 ¾ cups of finely chopped well cooked and chilled chicken, 1/3 cup mayonnaise, Vegenaise® or Miracle Whip and tarragon crushed and added to taste.
To turn the above chicken salad sandwich filling into a main dish, add up to ½ cup of additional chopped chicken, as well as ½ cup total of any of the following: washed, sliced grapes, washed, diced celery, drained, rinsed and chopped water chestnuts, or washed, shredded carrots.
For either chicken recipe, the healthier choice is to use chicken white meat such as chicken breast. Too, opting for organic, free range chicken which has been raised without the use of antibiotics or added hormones is best.
Fruits in season are excellent as finger food or in a fruit salad. For either, wash well and slice a colorful variety such as strawberries, kiwi fruit, watermelon, honeydew, peaches, plums, apples, grapes and bananas. For finger food, dip sliced apples in ¾ cup water mixed with juice from 1 lemon to prevent browning. Serve strawberries whole and clip grapes into smaller bunches. Arrange fruit on a tray with toothpicks and pasteurized low fat yogurt in the center for dipping (strawberry or raspberry-girl, blueberry-boy).
Alternatively, to create a salad, cut the washed and, if needed peeled, fruit into bite size pieces. Then gently toss with honey and lemon juice. Start with two tablespoons honey mixed with 2 teaspoons lemon juice for 6 cups of fruit. Adjust to taste.
If serving a healthful sweet is desirable, try this decorated sorbet cake. Purchase 4 pints or 2 quarts of sorbet in one or more flavors. Thaw sorbet at room temperature until you can easily spoon the sorbet into a 9” x 11” sheet cake pan. To create layers alternate flavors. Use a spatula to smooth between layers and on top. Place in the freezer for 3 hours or overnight. Day of the party, decorate the top with pink or blue fruits. Then, let thaw slightly, slice and serve! Quantities mentioned serve 12.
Though drinks can be as simple as hot or iced tea, often punch is welcome. Make a simple yet tasty punch by mixing 2 liters of clear lemon-lime soda or other clear soda such as ginger ale with 2 cups unsweetened, pasteurized fruit juice such as R.W. Knudsen’s Organic Just Cranberry™ or Organic Just Pomegranate™ for a girl, or Organic Just Concord Grape™ or Just Blueberry™ for a boy (http://www.knudsenjuices.com/). Add ice and serve in a punch bowl or pitcher.
If sugar is a concern for mother-to-be or guests, you could opt for sugar-free soda. However, keep in mind that the sugar-free choices do have artificial sweeteners.
If you use wholesome, fresh ingredients in a variety of colors, then serve with imagination, the baby shower food will be delicious and eye appealing. Additional healthy cooking recipes can be found by browsing the cookbooks at your local library under call number 641.563.