Cooking is part of the fun when you are planning a party but some people get into a panic, worrying that they have under- or overestimated the amount of food required, whether the food they are making will be enjoyed by everyone or whether their party food recipes will turn out right.
How Much Food for a Party?
Forget about using a scientific formula to find out how much food for a party because there is not one. The more parties you cater for, the better you can judge the right food amounts. Here are some tips, which will allow you to better estimate the right food quantities for your party without becoming stressed!
Have you only invited adults to the party or is there a need for some child-friendly recipes as well? How long will your party last for and at what time of day is it going to be? You would need a lot more food for an afternoon barbecue than for an after dinner cocktail party, for example.
Make more of the potentially popular dishes. Almost everyone loves boneless chicken recipes, so make a lot of those because there will be other dishes, such as international recipes or seafood recipes, which will not appeal to everyone.
If you offer a lot of different dishes, each guest will have less of each one. If you have twenty dishes, your guests will probably take a spoonful of each one they like the look of. If you only have five dishes, they will eat a lot more of each.
You can guess how much food for a party by multiplying the number of expected guests by the amount they will probably eat. Always round your estimates up rather than down because it is better to have some food left over after the party than run out of it before everyone has finished eating!
Make sure you have some bulk food items too, such as bread if you are having a sit-down dinner or nuts and olives for a cocktail party. People will nibble on these foods before starting on the main dishes or if they are still hungry between courses.
Party Food Portion Sizes
With appetizers, you should allow six bites per person. With the main meal, you should allow about six to eight ounces of meat or fish, an ounce and a half of grains, five ounces of potatoes, four ounces of vegetables and an ounce of undressed salad per person. For dessert, you should allow one slice of cake, four ounces of creamy dessert or five ounces of ice cream per guest. These measures are approximate because different people have different appetites of course.
Good to Know Party Food Tips
* Do not repeat the main ingredient at a dinner party. For example, do not serve a pork appetizer followed by a pork main dish.
* If you are having buffet food, offer a choice of both warm and cold foods.
* Mix different textures, such as soft vegetable purees and crispy fresh bread.
* Make sure you have a good variety of colors, so the food on your buffet table or dining table looks attractive.