Your ravenous teenagers will be thinking about food long before the last strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” play at their commencement programs. Prepare for the hungry stampede with some practical but healthy high school graduation dinner ideas. Let your graduate choose the foods to be served at his party but keep the soiree simple. Basic standbys such as pizza and tacos can fill up a crowd while offering nutritious choices.
Pizza symbolizes youth because this doughy meal ranks as one of the most popular foods among teenagers. Stock up on whole-wheat pizza dough from your grocery store. Bake each shell for about three minutes until the dough is toasted and ready for toppings. Choose low-fat mozzarella cheese and low-sodium tomato sauces. Chop a wide variety of vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, onions, and green and red bell peppers. Diced fruits such as apples, pears and pineapples also make tasty toppers. Black beans are another instant hit with teenagers.
Establish a taco bar so each teen can choose his own ingredients. Brown and season some lean ground beef or turkey in a skillet before your party. Transfer your meat fillings into a crock pot that will keep everything hot during the party. Set out dishes of chopped lettuce, diced onions and tomatoes, olives and salsa. Offer grated low-fat cheeses and sour cream. Serve both soft tortillas and hard shells. Sidestep shells altogether and serve tortilla chips that can be scattered across a plate of taco toppings.
Build deli submarines in advance by purchasing French breads and assorted lunch meats. Plan on 10 sandwich servings for every one-pound loaf of French bread. Slice each loaf in half lengthwise and layer with lean smoked turkey, roast beef and ham. Choose some cheese slices along with lettuce to place inside your sandwich loaves. Offer condiments such as light ranch dressing and mayonnaise separately so your guests can season according to their personal tastes. Chill your hoagie by setting the entire sandwich inside a wallpaper hanging trough placed on ice.
Turn an ice cream bar into the grand finale of your high school graduation party. Assemble some mason jars prior to the event. On the eve before the dinner, place individual scoops of assorted ice cream into plastic containers that can be frozen overnight. The next day, drop an ice cream ball into each jar and distribute one jar to each guest. Set out bowls of crumbled granola and cherries along with chocolate sauce and whipped cream so each youngster can design his sundae.