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Overhead shot of potluck spread out on table with people around it

Dietitians Dish: Healthy Potluck Tips

It’s summer! Time for block parties, family reunions and backyard barbecues. And plenty of potlucks. It’s easy to get sucked into the ooey-gooey goodness of homemade mac ’n’ cheese or the sticky, sweet and savory glaze of barbecue chicken. But when deciding what you’ll bring, do you choose the popular favorites or a healthier option? We asked OhioHealth dietitians for their go-to potluck dishes, and for advice on making healthier choices at your next potluck.

Plate full of salad, fruits and vegetables

“Depending on what mood I’m in, I either like to make a big salad or a unique dessert. I like to bring salads because then I know there will at least be one vegetable option. I also like to experiment with different ingredients like dates or chia seeds, just to introduce people to new ideas.” — Susannah Schneider, RD

Display of a variety of sliced fruit

“I bring a veggie tray or mixed fruit, just to be sure there’s something healthy to munch on. Focus on fruits, vegetables, protein and one or two small portions of starchy foods.” — Patina Warinner, RD

Variety of cut vegetables surrounding a bowl of dip

“Bring a healthy dish. Vegetables are usually pretty skimpy at potlucks, so I bring a veggie platter with homemade Greek yogurt dip or a bean salad. Take inventory of what is there, choose mostly healthy options and opt for one to two small portions of the more indulgent options.” — Jenalee Richner, RD, LD

Bowl of hummus with spoon in it

“Bring something that you know you can or want to eat. Potlucks generally have plenty of sweets. You will be surprised how many people eat the healthier dishes as well. I usually bring something that is easy to pull together or a new recipe that I have wanted to try. Typically, it’s some type of dip or hummus.” — Emily Monfiletto, RD

Variety of sliced tomatoes with seasoning on top

“I bring fruit trays or a dish with vegetables because you rarely see them. I like to get people to try healthier options that they would not normally eat. Search for the colorful foods, and if it’s your experience that there aren’t any, bring something to change the dynamics.” — Ashya Walden, RD, LD

Plate piled with pieces of chocolate brownies

“I usually bring my healthy brownies. They’re made with applesauce instead of oil, and I add a couple tablespoons of ground flax to increase the fiber. Another go-to is my skinny deviled eggs, which are made mostly with plain, nonfat Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise. I do leave just a couple tablespoons of mayonnaise in there for flavor.” — Brittany Smith, RD

Caprese skewers on plate

“Scope the options first and pick mostly healthy options and one fun choice. I like to bring Caprese skewers made with mozzarella, basil and tomato with a balsamic drizzle.” — OhioHealth dietitian

Good advice, right? Want to talk nutrition with one of our dietitians? Give the McConnell Heart Health Center a call!


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