Need to bring a plate? Here’s 10 dietitian-approved dishes everyone will love!

$1,467. That's the amount the average Kiwi adult is expected to spend this festive season, covering food, travel, presents and entertaining. So it's no wonder bring-a-plate parties are trending in a bid to help ease the financial burden of Christmas day hosting.

While the cost of living crisis won't stop for the festive season, there's plenty of ways that you can maintain traditions and celebrate with loved ones, all while helping to lighten the load for the host.  

If you've been asked to bring a plate, there are a few key things to keep in mind when deciding what to bring, like whether the dish is:   

  • Easy to make
  • Portable
  • Nutritious 
  • A guaranteed crowd pleaser
  • Affordable – especially if you have multiple parties to attend

To help you bring the perfect party plate, our dietitians have you covered with 10 dishes for all types of occasions – whether you need simple nibbles or more substantial BBQ offerings. And best yet, they tick all the boxes for being easy, delicious and cheap and will guarantee there's something healthy on offer.   

Easy nibble recipes 


Cashew cheese board

This cashew ‘cheese' will have the plant-based foodies and regular cheese eaters reaching for more. Cashews are blended with almond milk, lemon juice and seasonings to achieve a delicious cheese-like dip that can be topped with fresh herbs and served with crunchy dipping veggies or toasted flatbread. It's a great way to make sure you're not only getting in your daily veggie intake but also your recommended handful of nuts, all while socialising.

Beetroot hummus

This vibrant purple dip is a showstopper, guaranteed to have guests devouring every last bite. Beyond adding a vibrant colour boost, the beetroot brings extra sweetness, offering a refreshing twist on a conventional hummus. The blend of chickpeas and tahini provides a source of protein and fibre that will help fill your plate and help fill you up with goodness and keep you away from less nourishing options on offer.  

Peanut butter fruit and veg platter

A delicious, no fuss grazing platter that can be prepared in little to no time. The good fats from the peanuts help your body absorb fat soluble vitamins, like the vitamin A in the carrots served on the side. This will be a popular platter for all ages. For more grazing platter ideas, check out the collection here.


Mini cottage rolls

A great plant-based twist on a classic party pleaser. These tasty morsels are lower in saturated fat and salt, plus higher in fibre than traditional sausage rolls. They do however come with a word of warning; be careful when passing these around, as you may be swarmed! 

Fresh rice paper rolls

Sometimes party season can get all too much and we crave something light and fresh. If you find yourself in this situation, then these rice paper rolls will be just what you're looking for. They are packed with vegetables and aromatic herbs, are low in fat and can be dipped in a super tasty sauce. 

Tasty BBQ sides and salads  


Moroccan couscous cakes

Spice up the BBQ and bring some veggie power with these irresistible Moroccan couscous patties. Packed with the lively combination of lemon, mint, nuts and dried fruit, they are fresh and zesty, provide a good source of protein and fibre and are super easy to make. You won't be leaving the party without being asked for the recipe.

Roast pumpkin and macadamia salad

A great tip for BBQ focused parties is to fill half of your plate first with salad and veggies before adding in your carbs and protein. The pumpkin in this salad provides a long list of nutrients that is likely to have fewer calories than other options and will help fill you up. With a salad this tasty you'll be filling your whole plate.

Grilled peach salad with goat's cheese

This salad of grilled peaches, radicchio and goat's cheese is the perfect dish to help celebrate summer and gorgeous seasonal produce. It is topped with walnuts, which contains far more omega-3 fats than any other nuts and are shown to help reduce blood cholesterol.


Summer nicoise salad

Vibrant summer greens and a light lemon vinegar dressing – this seasonal salad is so simple to make, but looks like you've spent hours in the kitchen. It'll be a hit with guests as it's not just delicious but filling too, with protein from the eggs and carbohydrates from the potatoes. Enjoying spuds in this way (cooked and cooled) lowers the glycemic index of the potato, which increases resistant starch. Resistant starch helps maintain good gut health and acts as a prebiotic. So, this salad is gut-friendly too!

Black bean, orange, coriander and mint salad

We love a citrus salad in summer! It makes the salad so bright and refreshing too, perfect if you've got a party on a hot summer's day. This dish is easy to make, full of fibre and flavour and can be enjoyed as a side or a main due to the addition of filling and antioxidant-rich legumes.  

Fattoush salad with toasted bread and sumac

This salad helps debunk the notion that ‘you don't win friends with salad'. Guests will want to know what brings the earthy, citrus note to the dish (answer - sumac) giving you an easy conversation starter. We're sure they'll also be thanking you for filling them with 8 different veggies and herbs! 

For more ideas and inspiration of what to take to your next occasion check out our easy entertaining recipe collection.

Do you have a diet question? Or have you seen a nutrition study and wondered about what it means? We’d love to hear from you.

Contact our team of expert dietitians by using the free Ask a Dietitian service - online form here, or you can email or call on 0800 673 392.