I belong to a book club which meets monthly. All of us are asked to bring an appetizer or dessert to share each month. It seems that every lady in the group is on some kind of diet at each meeting. Aside from cut-up fruit, which I am tired of bringing, I am running out of ideas for dishes. Can you suggest some ideas for low-fat, low-sugar, low-salt, low-carb dishes to share?
No, I can’t.
Actually, no, I won’t is a better reply.
What kind of help am I, anyway?
Alright, I’ll suggest a few things, but only a few, and here’s why:
Someone at this club is always going to be on a specialty diet, you’ve made this clear. If you were accommodating a life-threatening allergy, or attempting to make sure a friend who never has any choices at these sorts of events has an option, that would be one thing.
Chasing the particular dietary needs of a group of regular dieters at a monthly event is another.
You can’t really win at this game, you know? Your best choice is really to:
- Make something you like, and won’t mind bringing home.
- Only make enough so that if it is barely touched, your fridge isn’t overwhelmed.
- Enjoy eating what you made.
- Talk about the book and don’t worry about your dish.
It’s a book club, not a nutrition club. Make healthy food that looks yummy to you when you want to do so; make ooey-gooey, delicious desserts that look tasty to you when you want to do that.
Off the top of my head, creating lettuce cups—sautéed veggies and/or lean meats with an asian-style sauce (soy, fish sauce, plum sauce, teriyaki, or even something bottled and sold at the store) placed inside crispy lettuce—could be a winner. Crunchy and lean, I imagine many people would consider those a treat, no matter their diet; that said, watch the sauces for sugar and salt content, and adjust accordingly.
I featured one of our favorite ultra-healthy recipes, Moroccan Harira Red Lentil Soup, as a recommendation for a book club on my very first website post. This isn’t as portable, but would be knock-out for you the month in which you are the hostess. I loved serving it for my book club, and it was always well-received.
There are many cookbooks and websites out there which focus on any one of the categories you mention (low-fat, low-sugar, low-salt, low-carb dishes.) There are even some which focus on all of those categories, at once—anyone who has gone on a modern cleanse has probably spent thirty days eating within all these restrictions, along with no-meat, no-dairy, no-gluten, no-alcohol, etc.
To that end, I’d love to encourage you to enter my current giveaway—one lucky winner will receive a mystery cookbook, hand-selected by me. Several of the titles I have available to send focus on very specialized diets, and include recipes that would certainly be appropriate for your health-conscious book club. Enter the giveaway here:
Learning new recipes, particularly ones which stretch your typical ingredient list or cooking techniques, is always a win. I would encourage you to take some time at your local bookstore and the internet to peruse some resources if you truly want to try lots of new and interesting recipes for your book club, but only if this is something fun for you, not in order to appease the tastes of others.
Good luck finding some fun new dishes to share. May your recipes be as juicy as the novels you are reading!