Hosting a bridal, baby or graduation party? Clever food shortcuts big on taste, low on stress

(BPT) - It’s that time of year - bridal showers, baby showers and graduation parties are likely dotting your calendar. If you’re the lucky host of one of these milestone events, you might feel excitement paired with a bit of trepidation as you start the party-planning process. The good news is, there are some simple ways to be the “hostess with the mostest” and limit stress at the same time.

1. Make a plan
Sit down and brainstorm your ideas. Record them on paper or electronically. Once you have a list of themes, decor, food and activities, you can start narrowing your options down to what really aligns with the guest of honor’s tastes and preferences. Remember, you want the party to reflect you since you’re the host, but make sure it speaks to the person whom the party is being hosted for.

2. Accept help
Planning a party can be time-consuming and costly. If the mother of the bride or best friend of the mother-to-be offers to help, don’t turn her away. The best way to ensure you get the help you need and no one oversteps boundaries is to assign specific tasks. For example, assign someone to make a dessert, plan an activity or stop at the store to pick up colored napkins and cutlery.

3. Determine a menu
The warmer months beg for fresh party fare, so be sure to highlight healthy foods and everyday favorites in your menu. Salads, fresh veggies and fruit are light and versatile. Furthermore, you can highlight the best of your region’s seasonal produce by visiting your local co-op or farmers market to select items that were locally grown and made.

4. Think dips
With your menu focused on lighter, fresh fare, you need to add extras to complement those items, and nothing works better than a classic variety of dips. Luckily, you don’t have to rely on fatty sour cream-based dips anymore. Consider serving Simply Organic Greek Yogurt Dip Mixes, which are easy to make and taste great. Plus, by replacing sour cream with Greek yogurt there’s zero fat and more protein, meaning guests will feel healthful and satisfied. Other popular dip options include fruit dip and guacamole. Visit for more ideas.

5. Decide on drinks
Make sure you provide a variety of drink options for guests, especially if you’re hosting your event outdoors. Always stock water, but be sure to add other beverages to your menu also. For example, lemonade and sweet tea is perfect for afternoon parties. A popular trend is to select a specialized drink to serve – for example, you might serve pink rose tea for the gal expecting a baby girl or create a tropical concoction for your friend who will be honeymooning in Hawaii. For recent graduates, you can’t go wrong with fruit punch in the school’s color.

No matter the type of party you are hosting, a few trendy touches and cleaver food shortcuts will wow guests and keep them raving long after it has ended. Above all else, have fun and enjoy these special moments with loved ones because the memories will last a lifetime.