Guest Post: How to Go Green for Your Next Dinner Party

This post was written by Tiffany Washko, the author of the well-known blog naturemoms.com.

Gas and food prices are at a high right now and that might mean that the entertainment budget is taking a hit. The good news is though that you can entertain at home for less money and make it a planet friendly affair to. As more and more people strive to go green in their own homes and within their live, why not include entertainment? For your next dinner party, try to go just a wee bit greener. It is entirely possible that some of your friends might be afraid you will make them eat tofu and cardboard or play Scrabble by the light of a dim solar lamp but this can actually be a great opportunity to show them how fun and easy it is to go green. Here are some ideas for keeping it fun and planet friendly.

* Invitations – These days everyone has an online presence and/or a smart phone. That reality makes it easier to send invitations to your guests electronically. You can send an email invitation, a mobile invitation from your phone, or even a Facebook group invite. You save resources when you don’t have to send paper and you can even kick it up a notch by hiring a designer to make an amazing online invitation graphic.

* Green the Menu– Choose local, seasonal, organic food wherever you can. If meat is on the menu, choose organic, grass-fed beef and free range, organic poultry and ham. If you can find locally-raised meat, that is also a good choice. For vegetarian menus emphasize raw foods, bean dips, and fresh fruits and veggies.

* Drink Up! – Serve organic, fair-trade wines, teas and coffee in re-usable cups and mugs. Avoid soft drinks, water or juice in plastic bottles or cans. Instead, serve home-made punch in glasses or re-usable stainless steel cups. For soda lovers you may want to consider a Soda Stream with glass carafes for making your own healthy sodas and sparkling juices. Instead of pre-mixed drinks in plastic bottles or margaritas in plastic tubs buy glass bottles that can be recycled and channel your inner bartender. Having a stainless steel martini shaker and a high powered blender like the Vita-Mix make it quite easy. Another option is to ditch the alcohol altogether and make sparkling fruit smoothies instead. Yum!

* Green the Decor – Get creative with your decorations! Look to the outdoors for inspiration, and cut greens if it’s winter, fall foliage if it’s autumn, and flowers for a spring or summer party. Your local farmer’s market will have seasonal fruits and veggies that can make attractive centerpieces and decorations, such as colorful squash, cranberries, apples, pears, peaches, etc. Just be sure you use the decorative foods and don’t throw them away – in fact, your guests could take some of them home as favors. You can even use live plants as decorations. I LOVE the look of wheat grass growing on kitchen counter tops and dining room tables.

* Lighting – Light your home and table with eco-friendly candles and LED lights. They spice up the atmosphere and they save energy. You can also buy beeswax candles or soy candles and pair them with thrift store jars in various sizes. You can even decoupage the jars with left over holiday tissue paper first if you want colored lighting. This trick is great for all sorts of events from baby showers to weddings.

* Compost That! – Don’t toss the leftovers! If your menu is vegetarian, leftovers can be composted. Ask your guests to put their veggie and fruit scraps into a designated bin. When it is sufficiently composted you have organic compost to help your garden grow.

Can you have fun and still be green? I say yes, how about you?

Always striving for health, happiness, adventure, creativity, beauty and intention. Tiffany Washko blogs at naturemoms.com and loves all things green.
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