Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer and an excellent reason to throw a party. This is a time to show your patriotism, pay respect to the brave men and women who died while serving in the military, and enjoy quality time with family and friends. However, it’s also often an occasion filled with unhealthy foods and lots of landfill waste.
To help you celebrate Memorial Day in the best way possible, here are some tips for hosting a healthy and eco-friendly Memorial Day party this year.
Plan Some Active Backyard Games
One of the best things about Memorial Day parties is that they are excellent excuses to get outside and be active. There’s no reason to sit around all afternoon when the weather is nice and there are fun games to play. Whether you’re hosting a barbecue in your backyard or heading to the local park to celebrate, it’s easy to plan games of cornhole, horseshoes, or capture the flag. Cool off with a water balloon fight, arrange a scavenger hunt if you’re feeling creative, or simply throw around a baseball or football to get your guests up and out of their chairs.
Focus the Menu on Healthy Foods
Memorial Day parties often revolve around backyard cookouts, but you don’t have to ruin your diet with greasy burgers and questionable-meat hot dogs. There are lot of healthy swaps that you can make for a Memorial Day party while embracing your love of grilling out.
Instead of standard beef burgers, swap those out with black bean burgers, Portobello mushroom burgers, or fish for a healthy twist. Vegetable skewers are perfect on the grill when they include onions, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, and squash. Grilled corn salads and hummus dips with raw veggies are also great ways to boost the nutrient content of your Memorial Day meal. Instead of heavy cakes and pies that weigh you down, opt for fresh fruit for your dessert options. Fruit and yogurt parfaits take on a patriotic look with blueberries, strawberries, plain nonfat yogurt, and a few cubes of angel food cake. Also, no Memorial Day party would be complete without some fresh watermelon on the table.
Minimize Single-Use Decorations
Although cheap flags, confetti, balloons, and centerpieces may look festive, these items often end up in the trash (and ultimately the landfills) after your party is over. Invest in a few higher-quality patriotic decorations that you can use year after year, thereby reducing your waste and eliminating last-minute shopping trips. To create a festive mood without a bunch of paper and plastic, you can also encourage your guests to simply wear red, white, and blue clothing, or you can hang decorative lights that can be stored away after the party.
Rethink Your Table Settings
Another way to make your Memorial Day party eco-friendlier is to do away with disposable and non-recyclable dishes, napkins, and utensils. If your party is small, you may be able to just use your normal table settings and wash them as usual. For large parties, encourage guests to bring their own table settings from home. Washable napkins and biodegradable dishes can also help you produce less trash from your patriotic party. Meanwhile, composting your leftover food scraps can be beneficial for the environment and your garden.
How will you celebrate Memorial Day this year? Share your party plans with us in the comment section below!