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What to Bring to a Potluck

woman holds a plate of fruit and salad at a buffet table

Holiday time is often is often peppered with parties and festivities including potlucks, where you are expected to come bearing a homemade dish to share. This year, consider bringing something that tastes good, and is good for you, too.

Making healthier food choices can help you reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.

Colleen Doyle, MS, RD, American Cancer Society managing director of nutrition and physical activity, recommends making something you like to eat that’s healthy, so you’ll know there will be a healthy option for you at the party. In general, she advises preparing dishes that include lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and/or lean protein. Vegetarian options also make good choices.

Here are just a few ideas to get you started:


  • Hummus and pita bread
  • Roasted red peppers on thinly sliced Italian bread
  • Spinach dip made with low-fat mayonnaise or low-fat sour cream in a bread bowl

Salads and side dishes

  • Spinach salad with mandarin oranges and toasted almonds
  • Tomato salad with artichoke hearts, onions, black olives, mint, and oregano
  • Corn salad with red and green peppers
  • Rice or couscous with dried fruit and/or vegetables
  • Bell peppers stuffed with Spanish rice or corkscrew pasta

Main dishes

  • Chili and soup
  • Chicken salad made with low-fat mayonnaise and chopped apples or grapes
  • Taco salad made with chicken
  • Vegetable stuffed pita sandwiches with low-fat dressing
  • Vegetarian lasagna made with reduced-fat cheese


  • Fresh fruit salad
  • Fresh fruit with chocolate and/or caramel dipping sauce
  • Oatmeal raisin cookies
  • Carrot cake made with applesauce instead of oil, and added pineapple

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as editors and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.