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Best Healthy Appetizers for a Party


By +Carolyn Richardson on Aug 17, 2013 10:00 AM in Healthy Eating

As we round out the last few weeks of summer, we can all probably say that we’ve seen more pizza, chips, and cake than we bargained for in the past few months. After all that “heavy” food, you may be inspired to prepare foods that are a little lighter and more tasty than the usual for your get together. Here we give you some tips on how to devise a fun appetizer menu that’s both flavorful and filling.

Filling Fiber and Healthy Fats

Fiber slows down digestion and helps you feel fuller longer. Fat also helps sustain your fullness, thereby keeping your hunger at bay. Appetizers are meant to “hold you over” until meal time, where protein may be part of the main dish, so a focus on fiber and healthy fats should be a priority. Go-to healthy fats for appetizers include: 

  • Low-fat mozzarella Sticks - slice them into small pieces and roll to make small mozzarella balls.
  • Low-Fat feta cheese - Cubed is best for display, but crumbled works too in a fruit salad.
  • Avocado - As guacamole or even in slivers, baked avocado fries anyone?
  • Walnuts, almonds, or cashews - Love gingered almonds for a grab-and-go snack.

High-Water Foods

In order to get the most out of healthy fats and fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber, you need to stay hydrated. Fruits and vegetables are made up of about 80 to 95% water, and thus offer fluids to aid digestion. Opt for foods high in water content in appetizers to keep the fiber and fat moving along. Some examples are:

  • Cucumbers
  • Strawberries
    Apples
  • Watermelon
  • Pears
  • Cantaloupe

Protein

Wings, meatballs, and sliders are some of the appetizers we’re used to seeing on a platter, but it’s time to turn the page and get some leaner options. Dairy is a good source of protein and fat, so cheese is also a staple we’re used to. Going for lean meats with low to no saturated fat is the way to get the most bang for your protein-buck. The best protein-rich foods for appetizers include:

  • Tuna (in water)
  • Turkey breast
  • Beans
  • Eggs
  • Soybeans 

Filling Healthy Finger Foods

Not-So-Deviled Guacamole Eggs

With the amalgam of mayonnaise and high sodium mustard, 2 deviled egg halves clock in at 145 calories. Switch to hard-boiled eggs, with yolks removed, and a tablespoon or so of guacamole and voilà, you’ve added healthy fat. Not to mention, you can enjoy two halves for under 50 calories.  

Watermelon-Feta-Basil Kabobs

I’m a sucker for a cheese tray, but kabobs are more fun. Add cubes of watermelon to cubes of feta and you’ve got a sweet and savory appetizer that’s just as summery as your get-together. Add grape tomatoes, cucumber, or olives to the mix if you’d like.

Cucumber Cheese Bites

Crunchy is an appetizer staple, but there’s no need for crackers with this recipe. If you’re done with dairy, use veggie cream cheese or hummus in this recipe. Add julienned carrots, sprigs of mint, or even smoked salmon for a colorful twist.

Mango Chicken Bites

You don’t need all the ingredients in this intense mashup of shredded chicken, nuts, and mango, but the combination of lean protein, sweet fruit, and hearty nuts wrapped in Endive leaves is a great template for a tasty and filling appetizer.

Your thoughts…

Link, share, or offer the best ingredient swaps to your favorite healthy appetizers.




Comments


Thanks for the great ideas! The kids are going to love the watermelon kabobs at out labor day gathering!



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