Determining how much food you need for your event, such as a dance studio, martial arts or other event doesn’t need to be stressful. Smaller events don’t necessarily warrant a catering service. In fact, most owners prefer to provide the food for cost considerations. This is easy to do once you decide on your menu.

Experts give advice on how to calculate the amount of food you need by determining how much of each item is needed for each person. You can then multiple this by the number of RSVPs you’ve received for your event. Knowing how many will be attending your event is an absolute necessity for planning food amounts needed.

How Much Food Amounts for Self-Catering Events

My Wedding Reception Ideas advises to overestimate on the amount of food. It’s always better to have more than you need than to end up with not enough food. This advice should guide you to go with the higher number of food amounts when calculating how much you’ll need to feed your attendees.

Suggestions of food amounts per adult guest, using the larger amount usually recommended:

  • 8 pcs veggies with dip
  • Cheese: 4-5 oz
  • Salads: 8 oz
  • Fruit: 8 oz
  • Main entrée: 8 oz
  • Sides: 6 oz for each side
  • Rolls: 2
  • Desserts: 1 slice cake, 2-3 for smaller desserts
  • Drinks: 8 oz per guest per hour (consider types of food serve and adjust).

Other Tips for Self-Catering

  • Appetizers: Small-sized appetizers are consumed in higher numbers than larger ones.
  • Servings: Allow half the amount of adult sized servings for children.
  • Dips and sauces: 1 pint per 10 guests.
  • Crackers: 24 oz per 20 guests.
  • Appetizers: Allow 6-8 per guest per hour.

Portion Control Ideas

Event Pro Training offers several ideas that can help you with portion control while allow enough food amounts for guests. These suggestions are practical and also have a psychological effect. For example, the website suggests using smaller dessert plates for serving finger foods. This small plate limits the amount of food attendees can pile on. Even if they go for seconds, the portion size will be limited.

The same psychology is applied to drinking cups. The size recommended are only 8 oz cups. This reduces the amount guests will initially consume. It’s also suggested to allow 3-4 cups per guest since they often discard or misplace cups and retrieve a new one.

Tips about Preparing Foods

Getting your food ready before your event is always a time-saver and reduces the stress of self-catering. Some dishes can be prepared weeks in advance, while others may require cooking the day of the event. Choose your foods wisely.

The key to a successful self-catering event is planning and organization. If you do these two things first, the rest will fall into place.

  • Roasts and other meats: Remember that food items such as a roast and other meats are always best served freshly baked. Most caterers recommend cooking these foods on the day of your event, since these foods tend to dry out when attempting to reheat.
  • Cold dishes: Always a crowd-pleaser and easy to prepare and serve, cold dishes win hands down for self-catering events. Some of these include, green leafy salads, potato salad, deviled eggs, cold pasta salads, fruits, berries and raw veggies platters. Serve one main hot dish, such as a meat or poultry and serve cold dishes for the sides.
  • Finger foods: Goes without saying that finger foods are an ideal choice for proportion sizes as well as ease of preparation. Determining the amounts needed can varying depending on attendees’ ages and preferences.

Distributing Leftovers

There are many ways you can distribute leftovers. You want to arrange for this prior to your event. Some churches have a food program like a soup kitchen for homeless or they may know of needy families who would love to have your leftovers. You can also provide doggie bags for attendees or volunteers who helped with your event. You can also freeze many foods and simply put in your home freezer.

Having Enough Food

If you follow these guidelines, you should have enough food for your event. Always have a few extras for foods you know will be more popular. Most of all, make sure the food you offer is quality and tastes good.