Party Food Ideas | Buffet On a Budget


Whether you are having some guests over to celebrate the coming New Year or you are just having a simple family party, you can prepare a healthy buffet that won't break your budget. How?

Depending on how many people you're having together, you can serve two or three platters garnished with mini appetizers. If plated nicely, your guests won't notice that you're not really spending that much. 

Garnish the serving plates with ruffled greens like a bed of lettuce or thin slices of cucumber and citrus fruit. Guests don't usually eat the garnishes and cost a lot less than the food. But garnishes take up space on the plate and make the food look attractive.

Prepare a platter with your choice of ham or turkey. Both items are likely on sale during the holidays. Carve into slivers rather than hearty slices. Pile them high on the serving platter. Prepare a few sauces such as honey mustard, herb dressing made with non-fat yogurt, and chipotle low-fat mayonnaise. 

Then, cut assorted bread into small sandwich size. It's better to use dinner rolls rather than sandwich size rolls. Cut a baguette of French bread into half-inch slices. Put some cocktail rye bread too on the platter. 


The other side of the ham or turkey platter will be an arrangement of thin slices of tomatoes and cucumber, shredded lettuce, sweet peppers, and red onions. Your guests can use the slices of bread to make mini sandwiches or the lettuce to make a wrap. 


Other Mini-Appetizer or Finger Food Suggestions

  • Salmon flavored cream cheese on cucumber slices topped with a sprig of dill. 
  • Mini burritos. Stuff the smallest size flour tortillas with your favorite burrito mixture, then cut in half.

  • Cherry tomatoes stuffed with cottage cheese, basil, and Parmesan cheese.
  • Layer cheese and salsa between two flour tortillas. Briefly heat in the oven until the cheese melts. Cut in wedges. 
  • Chicken wings served with dipping sauces such as honey mustard, teriyaki, or spicy BBQ. 



  • Deviled eggs in a variety of flavors. Try the Classic deviled eggs by mixing mayonnaise and mustard with the egg yolk. Mix the egg yolk with sour cream, caviar, and a spritz of lemon juice. Another option is to mix mayonnaise, bacon bits, and finely chopped tomatoes. 
  • Chili in scoop-shaped corn chips, topped with grated cheese. 
  • Choose to prepare Salad to go or a platter of salad.

For Salad to go, prepare in a small, clear, plastic 4-ounce cup this salad made of tiny grape tomatoes, shredded carrots, diced cucumber, baby lettuces with a dab of raspberry dressing on top.

For a lavish display of veggies, cut up some carrots, celery, cucumbers, cauliflower, and broccoli. Brighten up the color with orange, yellow, and red, mini sweet peppers, radishes, cherry tomatoes, and thinly sliced baby beets. Preparing a non-fat yogurt dip would be great. If you're making a few dips, it helps to label them for the diet conscious. 


To complete the buffet table, prepare a platter with fresh fruit cut into bite-sized pieces. This is a healthier choice than a dessert tray. It will help your guests who want to lose weight as a New Year's resolution.

I hope these ideas could help you prepare for your family's Media Noche. Have a healthy year ahead. 

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