Healthy, affordable reception is still possible


Photo Illustration: David Derong/Iowa State Daily

Fruit and vegetable arrangements are a quick and inexpensive staple for any reception. Photo Illustration: David Derong/Iowa State Daily

Sarah Gonzalez

Healthy food is a hot topic for Americans, and it is constantly in today’s media. Calorie counting, weight watching and fad dieting are practically becoming All-American hobbies. A couple’s wedding day appears to be no exception.

According to The Knot, a wedding planning website and blog, one of the top 10 trends for weddings is to serve healthy dishes at the reception. Although many people associate healthier with pricier, a few tips from wedding caterers can help keep the people happy, the price reasonable and the arteries from clogging.

Emily Gross, co-owner of Taste! To Go Catering and Events of Des Moines, wants neither great taste nor reasonable price to be sacrificed for healthy wedding food. She said one of her biggest requests is for healthy reception dishes. The best way to answer those requests, she said, is to buy locally grown meat and produce. Using produce from farmer’s markets and choosing locally grown meat and grass-fed beef are ways Gross maintains a healthy menu. This is made easy with the Buy Fresh, Buy Local program.

“Before the program, we would have to run around to different farms, which made it more expensive,” she said. “The Buy Fresh, Buy Local program allows us to build some great relationships with farmers and keep the prices economical.” 

Buy Fresh, Buy Local is a marketing program with a goal to stimulate Iowa’s economy by strengthening independent farmers and businesses. The program’s campaign encourages Iowans to buy locally grown products from farmers selling directly to consumers, restaurants and other businesses. The program is organized by Practical Farmers of Iowa, which works to raise awareness about positive agricultural practices and Iowa’s local resources. Buy Fresh, Buy Local is a positive way to make a wedding reception meal tasty, nutritious and economically healthy, Gross said.

Using in-season produce makes wedding food healthy, according to the Taste! To Go Catering and Events owners. In fact, basic fresh produce can be served in a variety of ways to keep the meals interesting and satisfying.

“The possibilities are endless,” she said. “Even in the winter, it’s amazing how late you can still get fresh produce.”

Once the healthy dishes are prepared, the serving style during a wedding reception can maintain a healthy party. Taste! To Go’s most requested serving style during this year’s holiday season is family style. Instead of walking around a buffet or being served each course separately, family style encourages conversation by requiring dishes to be passed around the table. According to The Knot, this style takes the stuffiness out of a sit-down dinner and sets the stage for “an unforgettable night.”

Multiple wedding resources claim that sticking with the trends and cutting fatty foods does not equal minimizing taste or breaking the bank. A healthy meal and vibrant party can define the wedding reception by using the freshest produce and a laid-back serving style.