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Guilt-free Holiday Appetizers

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Looking for ways to get through that holiday party without consuming 2,000 calories? Read on for strategies you can feel good about and healthy appetizer ideas you can enjoy guilt-free!
#1 DIPS:
Start the party off with dips that have been slimmed down. There are so many ways to lower the calories in dips. You can substitute the low fat versions of sour cream or cream cheese to cut the calories in half or you can use plain yogurt (regular or Greek) to not only cut the calories, but also add valuable nutrition–protein, calcium, vitamin D to name a few. Here’s a great Greek Yogurt Dip, courtesy of Food Network Kitchen:

In addition to the creamy dips, fresh salsas and bean purées can put even the cheesiest spinach-and-artichoke dip to shame and are much healthier. There are so many great fresh salsas to buy and easy recipes on the internet for bean dips or just purchase your favorite hummus. All of these dips go well with vegetables, fresh pita triangles or baked pita chips. If you’re inspired to make your own, here’s a simple hummus recipe to get you started:

Lemon Parsley Hummus

2 (15 oz.) cans no-salt-added chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Place beans and garlic in a food processor; pulse 5 times or until chopped. Add remaining ingredients; pulse until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.

To accommodate your vegetarian guests, some great options include
Tomato caprese skewers: Thread grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil onto skewers. Sprinkle each skewer with sea salt and black pepper; drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.
Tofu vegetable skewers: Thread baked Teriyaki tofu squares, red peppers and cucumbers onto skewers.
Tomato Bruschetta: Here’s a recipe, courtesy of Food Network & Robert Irvine:

I’m always so happy when there are healthy protein options at a holiday party because they fill me up without breaking the calorie bank. Some of my favorites that I bring to holiday parties are:
Steamed or Grilled Shrimp with cocktail sauce
Chicken skewers
Crockpot Turkey Meatballs

Well, those liquid calories can add up fast, so this is a place to be careful. It’s fine to indulge in a cocktail or glass of wine, but alcoholic beverages add up calorically-speaking without filling you up. And most people tend to slip off their healthy eating plan faster. Try drinking a glass of water or tea in between alcoholic beverages to decrease consumption and stay hydrated. For the fewest calories per drink, choose light beer or wine. A typical beer or glass of wine generally has 100 to 150 calories. Of course, that’s assuming the size of the glass is not excessive. Most mixed drinks are 250 to 350 calories.

These healthy appetizer ideas are the perfect way to enjoy a holiday party and will be sure-fire crowd-pleasers. Wishing you Happy, Healthy Holidays!


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