Summer is an excellent time to gather with friends for parties and delicious food, so take advantage of National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables month and host a fruit-themed soiree!

Socializing is an essential part of staying active as you age, and eating a healthy diet complete with various fruits and vegetables is key to a long life. A fruit-themed party is a fun way to combine both activities! Here’s a guide to throwing a memorable event for your family, friends, and neighbors this summer.

Decorate with Bright Colors and Real Fruit

For a fruit-themed party, go bold! Incorporate as many colors as possible into the décor. Plates, napkins, and cups can all be different colors, while the tablecloths could be rainbow stripes or dots. Much of your décor can be real fruit, too. Oranges stacked in a clear bowl provide a pop of color, and an edible fruit wreath is a stunning centerpiece. Hollowed-out coconuts make excellent cups for drinks (use a straw). Empty pineapples can be flower vases for the day, and a watermelon bowl can hold your fruit salad.

Bonus: Ask everyone to attend wearing the color of their favorite fruit! Your guests will become part of the décor in their colorful outfits.

Play a Rainbow Fruit Game

Having activities at a party is always a good idea, and a fruit fiesta is no different! Because fruits are naturally colorful, take advantage of the rainbow idea and make a rainbow fruit game. The goal is to get guests thinking about which fruits fit into each color category (the easy part) and what health benefits those colored fruits provide (the more challenging part!).

If playing as a group on a large scale, start by making a rainbow out of colored paper or streamers on the wall. Set out white notecards with names of fruits and various vitamins, minerals, and health benefits. Then, ask guests to tape the cards onto their corresponding color! The goal is for the whole group to place all the cards successfully. If you’d rather let guests play individually with printed rainbow pages, print out a list of the fruits and health items and have guests write them in place.

Photo: Getty Images

Here are a few of the health benefits associated with each color to get started. If you want to provide some cleverly-placed hints for this game, put information cards about these benefits next to the food dishes. See who reads them while snacking!

  • Red: Folate, vitamin C, bacteria-fighting properties, antioxidants, lycopene
  • Orange: Vitamin C, fiber, vitamin A, improved eye health, healthy skin
  • Yellow: Vitamin K, bone strengthening, reduced inflammation, vitamin C, folate
  • Green: Liver detoxifying, vitamin C, fiber, vitamin E, eye and skin health
  • Blue: Antioxidants, lycopene, vitamin C, vitamin A, improved heart health
  • Purple: Antioxidants, potassium, calcium, magnesium, fight constipation

Try New Recipes

Fruit is often the star in desserts and sweet dishes. You can also add some excitement to the party by providing several savory options. For fancy finger food, try these prosciutto and ricotta melons. Even if guests have tried this idea with figs, the melon adds a unique twist. Instead of a traditional dip for your chips, make a fresh nectarine salsa that pairs these sweet fruits with onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and bell peppers. Your guests will be impressed with the extra depth of flavor from the fruit. For a fresh spin on the caprese salad, substitute watermelon for the tomato. The sweetness pairs well with extra balsamic drizzled on top. For a protein-packed offering, make a batch of this cherry mole (a rich, spicy, chocolately, savory sauce) and pair it with pork and buns or tortillas.

Curate a Sweet Playlist

Background music for any party is essential, but coordinating the playlist with the theme can be tricky. Choose songs that are mellow enough for guests to mingle and talk, but intersperse the tracks with as many fruit-related titles as possible! This list is an excellent place to start. It includes many classic tunes from decades past. You could even turn this into an activity and ask guests to guess the track title and artist!

Whether you’re celebrating the bold blueberry or the mild mango, a fruit-themed party is a fun way to feature nature’s candy.

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