Source: Image: Thinkstock
Whether you’re celebrating the start of 17 days of fabulous sports by throwing an opening ceremonies party, inviting everyone over to watch a Team Canada hockey game or just getting together to cheer with a few friends, the Olympics are a great opportunity to host a party.
While you don’t have to be as strict as an Olympian, you can certainly use our world-class athletes as inspiration. Geneve McNally, Principal Planner at DreamGroup Productions in Vancouver, shares her top tips for throwing a healthy Olympics party.
Food and drinks
Reinvent how you display and showcase healthy food items, says McNally. Instead of plain old veggies and dip or a fruit tray, get creative! Spend some extra time carving shapes out of vegetables or arranging them in a particular pattern (the Canadian flag is pretty easy to replicate with grape tomatoes and cauliflower!)
Get your guests involved in their food by setting up a smoothie bar or fresh fruit juice bar. ‘Whether you choose to include bottles of chilled vodka and rum so guests can give their drinks a little ‘punch’ is up to each individual,’ says McNally, who has had great success with make-your-own drink stations.
Your food is one of the easiest ways to convey your theme, too. Think ‘around the world’ for opening or closing ceremonies and choose healthy options from a variety of countries or focus on Canadian favourites if you’re focusing on our home team. You can even salute the host country with a few healthy Russian dishes. Another simple theme is the Olympic rings and colours.
If you’re opting to use a caterer for your Olympics party, McNally suggests hiring someone who uses fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get what you want.
Décor and favours
Healthy living doesn’t stop when the party does ‘ send your guests home with a simple healthy favour like a personalized bottle of water. Pick up water in recycled plastic bottles and switch out the labels with your own cheers for Canada, fun facts or encouraging statements to get your guests moving long after they leave.
Slightly less healthy, but just as fun: dark chocolate medallions turned into ‘medals’ you can hang around your guests’ necks as they arrive (we would suggest this just for the kids, but everyone will want one, we know!)
In terms of decorations, you don’t have to go overboard. Most of us had decorated elementary school classrooms during the Olympics with rings and maple leafs cut out of construction paper ‘ but your adult décor need not be so juvenile. McNally recommends using floor-length linens in Olympic colours, cocktail napkins in complementary colours and skipping the balloons. ‘Think playful and fun, not childlike.’ If that’s not ‘big’ enough for your taste, ‘visit your local movie prop house and rent some Olympic-inspired or athlete-inspired props,’ says McNally. Similarly, arrange food dishes on sports equipment you already have around the house (think: your snowboard as a tray).
How interactive your party is will really depend on your guests, but the more you can get people moving, the better ‘ sitting is the new smoking, after all.
Between live events (or if you have multiple televisions) invite your friends to try their luck at the same Olympic sports they’re watching. Nintendo makes Olympic-themed video games for every Olympics (this year: Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games). People will have to hop, squat, duck and dodge their way through slaloms, ski jumps, speed skating races and more. Way better than sitting!
If you have a frozen rink or pond nearby, invite guests to bring their skates and sticks along with them. When the excitement lulls or there’s a break in your main viewing event, head outside to get your heart rates up and have a little fun. Rather stay inside? Hire a fitness specialist to come in and lead guests through a variety of yoga poses or stretches. Or make up your own moves by breaking out a classic game like Twister!
If you’re aiming for a slightly more relaxing event, McNally suggests ‘healthy action stations.’ Set up a massage chair or bring in a masseuse or reflexologist to give treatments throughout the evening.
Most importantly, bust out your best cheering voice and have fun!
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