News and views on the latest health issues



Healthier Bonfire Night party grub!

Tags: Diet

Healthier bonfire night - main

Bangers and butter-filled jacket potatoes may be traditional Bonfire Night party fare, but they’re high in unhealthy saturated fat and loaded with calories. So what can you feed your guests that’s tasty, nutritious and won’t cost a fortune? Dietitian Azmina Govindji has some tips.

November 5 is nigh – time to wrap up warm and head off with family and friends to the local firework display. If it’s your turn to host the Bonfire Night party this year, you may be tempted to fall back on the usual bangers and burgers in the belief that it’s what your guests will be expecting. But maybe it’s time for a rethink…

As we’ve become better informed and more discerning about what we eat, foods high in animal fats are strictly off the menu for some health-conscious diners – as well as anyone watching their weight, of course. Even guests who are not averse to the occasional hot dog will appreciate being offered a selection of appetising but healthier alternatives that allows them to limit the amount of salt, fat and calories they consume during the evening.

Remember, remember...healthy food can be fun and fast!

If you’d like to offer your guests healthier food but are concerned about preparation time or cost, relax; with some savvy shopping and a bit of forward planning, keeping the flavour and fun factor up and the cost and calories down is a lot easier than you think. Dietitian Azmina Govindji offers some pointers:

  • Bought party foods can be expensive and tend to have high amounts of fat, sugar or salt. You can make your own much more cheaply. Try making your own hummus by whizzing up a can of chick peas, lemon juice and herbs up in a blender – it’ll cost you a fraction of the shop price and you’ll know exactly what’s in it!
  • If you’re having a dinner party, plan ahead so you can freeze party goodies like big pots of chilli and rice. If you’re expecting large numbers, beans can make meat dishes stretch further. Keep guests’ hunger pangs at bay while you’re getting the food ready by putting out bowls of olives – they have less than 5 calories each.
  • Steaming hot, home-made soup will be a winner with guests who’ve been standing around in the cold night air watching fireworks. You can make as much as you need in advance and reheat it quickly when you’re ready. Go for hearty varieties like lentil and vegetable or spicy parsnip served in bowls or mugs with thick slices of wholemeal bread or rolls.
  • If you’re buying party foods, seek out own brands instead of well-known ones – they’re usually cheaper. Supermarkets are very clever at placing more expensive brands at eye level so you’re tempted to buy them, but have a scan at the top and bottom shelves, because that's where you'll find a bargain.
  • If you’re serving a buffet, small bites like pickled onions, gherkins and cherry tomatoes on cocktail sticks are healthier than sausage rolls or fried snacks like samosas and spring rolls. Plus, they don’t need to be heated up, which means less time in the kitchen and more time to join in the fun for you!

back to top

Sign up to our monthly Better Health newsletter to receive updates on our latest health and wellbeing updates.

Sign up to newsletter

Ask the expert

Got a question about health or wellbeing?
Our team of medical experts are ready to help.