Whether you’re looking to cater healthy food, or work with someone’s dietary restrictions, there’s a lot of catering options available. Maureen Woodman from Woodman’s of Essex discusses some healthy catering ideas. Listen or read more to find out about a variety of catering options for your next event.

John Maher: Hi. I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Maureen Woodman from Woodman’s of Essex, a restaurant and catering company in Essex, Massachusetts. Today we are talking about healthy catering ideas. Welcome, Maureen.

Maureen Woodman: Hi, John. Thanks for having me.

John: Sure. Maureen, do you get a lot of people asking for healthy options for their catered event?

Maureen: Yes, I think so. There is definitely a trend right now that’s been going on for a while with sustainable food and foods that are locally sourced. People automatically think if it’s local then it’s healthy. At the same time, know when you’re at a catered event, it’s like the holiday. Where people have a tendency to eat a little bit more than they normally would if they were watching everything. If you are hosting a party, it’s nice to offer food for both people and respect if there’s any kind of food allergy or dietary restriction or somebody is just on a diet.

Healthy Food is Trendy

John: Right. Are people generally looking to offer one or two healthy options or to make their entire menu healthy?

Maureen: Most people are looking to have something there. We do see a trend with a lot of young company’s corporate parties, where that might be the way the whole company is going. A lot of companies are trying to have their employees stay fit right now because it probably helps with their health insurance. I don’t know. Sometimes you might see someone designing a menu that’s gluten-free or completely vegetarian.

One thing about the clambake menu that’s nice, a lot of the food is already steamed or boiled so it’s not cooked with butter or any kind of oil. There’s always a lot of salads, corn on the cob, garden salads, coleslaw. Those are all veggie-driven items that come with the clambake. A lot of people love to have a fruit option as well. I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t like watermelon or a nice fruit salad in the summer.

How to Choose a Healthy Catering Menu

John: What are some healthy catering ideas or tips that people can use when they are designing their catering menu?

Maureen: The first thing they want to do is look at what month it is and see what produce is around that month. In the shellfish business, they always say months with “R” the shellfish is better. You could do the same thing when you are trying to design your menu. Maybe you just have some nice shrimp cocktail and you don’t have much cheese and crackers. You try to keep everything healthy.

A lot of people are doing a lot of veggies on sticks. Kind of going back to kebabs and antipasto sticks and things that have a lot of tomatoes or bruschettas or food that’s more vegetable-oriented with a lot of fresh ingredients.

Including Guests in Menu Planning

John: All right. Is there any final tips for people who want to design a healthy menu for their catering party?

Maureen: It’d be nice when you are inviting a lot of people to your party and you put out your invitation, you ask them, “Hey. Is anybody need any dietary restrictions or if there’s something that could help me before I write the menu. Just let me know when you RSVP to the party.” Most people want to have a successful party so they are really out to please all their guests.

John: All right. That’s really great information, Maureen. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Maureen: Thank you, John.

John: For more information about Woodman’s catering services visit the Woodman’s website at Woodmans.com or call 978-768-2559.

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