Workplace chatting and having an office potluck

Office potluck meals can bring fun into the workday! With some planning, they can be delicious and healthy at the same time.

Here are suggestions to have a good meal while still watching your waist line:

  1. Pick your theme- have a signup sheet that lists foods you want people to bring. Here’s an example of a Mexican Fiesta signup sheet:
Item Name Item Name
Shredded Chicken Baked Tortilla Chips
Hamburger Vegetable Tray
6” corn tortillas Fruit Tray
Shredded lettuce Guacamole
Shredded Red Cabbage Low Fat Sour Cream
Diced tomatoes Salsa
Sauteed Peppers Bite Size Brownies
Sauteed Onions Unsweet Tea
2% Shredded Cheese Bottled Water

Notice there are more slots for vegetables and fruits than desserts?  A list with food suggestions can guide the meal to have more healthy selections.

  1. Have those who do not like meal prepping pitch in money to help offset the costs of plates and napkins or of the more expensive items on your signup sheet like your main protein.
  2. Designate one person to purchase and cook lean meat. For example, 90 percent lean/10 percent fat (or even a higher percent lean) ground beef for taco mixture. Soy products that crumble like ground beef are available for your office mate who is vegetarian or limiting animal fats.
  3. Suggest whole grain when listing starches, such as whole wheat pasta, whole grain rolls or brown rice.
  4. Provide recipes for lower fat, lower sugar desserts. Many times the sugar in recipes can be decreased by 1/3 to ½ and will have the same texture and quality. Unsweetened applesauce, plain yogurt and mashed bananas can be used in place of some of the fat in baked products to lower calories.
  5. Have the office purchase 9” divided plates and the servings spoons to control portion sizes.
  6. Choose different themes! Themes such as Broth Based Soups, Mediterranean, Healthy Salads, Vegetarian, Baked Potato Bar, Appetizers and Meatless Mondays to name a few!
  7. Get creative with fruits and vegetables. Top the potato with salsa and stir fried vegetables instead of butter and sour cream.
  8. Have a “Guess What Is Different” pot luck. People cook a favorite dish and change a couple ingredients to lower calories. Have the office guess what changes were made.

And here is a recipe for a salsa that will fit right in with your Mexican Fiesta Healthier Potluck.

Uncle Tommy’s Salsa

  • 1 (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 fresh tomatoes
  • ½ of a red onion
  •  1 whole bundle of cilantro (washed with lower stems discarded)
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 (7 oz) can  Chipotle Peppers in Adoba sauce
    • use 2 chipotle peppers and 1 ½ teaspoon Adoba sauce (from the can)

Mix all ingredients in a food processor. Serve immediately or let it set overnight in the refrigerator.

Serving Size: 2 Tablespoons

Count as a free food.

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Article by: Beth A. Ackerman, R.D.

Beth Ackerman, R.D., is a registered dietitian and a certified diabetes educator with the UofL Physicians – Diabetes and Obesity Center. Beth is on the team of educators of the ADA-approved diabetes education team at UofL Physicians. She has counseled people with diabetes for more than 25 years. Ackerman serves as the Diabetes Prevention Program Workgroup co-chair for the Kentucky Diabetes Network and volunteers at Camp Hendon, a diabetes camp for children.

All posts by Beth A. Ackerman, R.D.
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