Make a Big Splash: Festive Tips and Tasty Nom Noms for Pool Parties and Beach Outings

Get your summer party started with these pool-friendly tips:

  • Skip the classic buffet table so guests won’t congregate in one area and instead set up a few mini serving spots around the pool. It’s a good way to encourage mingling.
  • Place candles or outdoor lamps around the entire outdoor area. Clusters of light cast a more flattering glow. Word of warning—don’t put citronella candles near the food, it can mess with the flavors.
  • For thirsty swimmers, fill an inflatable boat or raft with ice, beer, soda and bottled water and let it drift in the pool.
  • Go green and amp up your style at the same time. Pass on the paper plates and serve your snacks on melamine pieces. It adds a splash of color to the party, and holds up well to wet hands.

No beach or pool party is complete without some delicious food to nosh on. Whether you’re swimming, sunning, surfing or a little of all three, you’re likely to work up an appetite. Here are some healthy options that are quick and easy to prepare.

Zesty Bean Dip and Chips: Combine ¼ C. fat-free refried beans with 1 T. salsa and 1 ½ tsp. chopped fresh cilantro. Pair it with baked tortilla chips or pita chips for a protein-packed snack.

Spiced Munchies: In a jelly roll pan, toss 1 can (15-ounce) of chickpeas (rinsed and drained) with 2 T. vegetable oil, 1 tsp. ground coriander, ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper and ¼ tsp. salt, then with 1T. flour to coat. Roast for 27 minutes or until golden and crisp, stirring once. Cool on paper towels.

Hummus and Veggies: Try a variety of flavored hummus with cut up veggies like carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes and peppers. Unlike mayo and sour cream-based dips, hummus will manage the heat well.

Sliders: If you’re going to fire up the grill, try grilling smaller burgers, or sliders, and serving them on mini buns. This makes them more of a snack than a heavy meal and cuts your food cost, plus they’re easier to eat while lounging poolside than a big quarter pounder.

We want to know—what are your must-have pool or beach snacks?

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