When putting a catering menu together for a big event, you may only consider how tasty, rather than how healthy, the food items are. Of course you want your guests to enjoy their food, but you don't have to sacrifice taste when choosing healthier options. Choosing more natural, waist-friendly treats is especially important if you're catering to a health conscious crowd.

There are several ways you can ensure your catering menu is as healthy as it is delicious:

1. Include Vegetarian Options

Whether your guests are vegetarian for health or ethical reasons, it's important to provide a few non-meat options as well. Make sure that the event-goers have some filling vegetarian dishes, such as tofu stir-fry or eggplant Parmesan, to choose from so they're not limited to just sides or appetizers. 

You may also consider using meat alternatives in the dishes, such as soy grounds instead of hamburger in taco filling, to cut back on fat and cholesterol. Other plant-based options include protein-packed tempeh and seitan, which is wheat gluten often used to make meatballs, roasts and other items.

2. Serve Dressings on the Side

Serving fresh vegetable salads at the event is a healthy idea, but heavy, dairy-based dressings can weigh them down. Rather than pre-mix the salads, allow guests to add as little or as much dressing to their salads as they'd like.

Also, be sure to provide several healthier, low-calorie dressing options, such as olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice.

3. Healthy Snacks

If you're planning a long event and want to provide sustenance between meals, pick protein- and fiber-rich treats that will keep your guests feeling fuller longer. Forget the potato chips and cookies, which are empty calories, and go for fresh food instead.

Fresh, sliced apples, orange wedges, low-fat cheese and crackers, as well as bowls of roasted peanuts and almonds make tasty and healthy snacks.

4. Smart Desserts

Once you've planned a healthy snack and meal menu, don't waste your efforts by serving traditional, sugary desserts such as cake or brownies. There are many ways that you can end your meal with a sweet touch that doesn't include processed sugar.

As one idea, serve a colorful salad filled with seasonal fruits; produce at the peak of ripeness will be the sweetest. As a warm-weather alternative to ice cream, serve refreshing granitas made with fresh blueberries or strawberries and ice. Garnish with mint leaves for color. 

For more information, talk to caterers like Riptide Marine Pub Grill & Catering restaurant in your area for some ideas about keeping your event healthy.