With so many events filling up the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet can seem nearly impossible. From office parties to holiday get-togethers there are plenty of opportunities to indulge, and some of the hardest foods to resist are those holiday d'oeuvres. Whether they're on a buffet table or conveniently passed on trays, appetizers are intended to be incredibly enticing. The good news, however, is that there are some fantastic hors d'oeuvres that are flavorful and satisfying, and good for you, too! Whether you're hosting a party or bringing an appetizer to share, these favorites will help you go from one holiday gathering to the next while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Rich, creamy and satisfying, hummus is a healthy dip that is great served with crackers, pita chips or freshly cut veggies. Hummus is made with mashed or pureed chickpeas and other ingredients such as garlic, heart-healthy olive oil, and lemon juice. Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) have a mild, slightly nutty flavor, and are packed with nutritional benefits. The fiber found in chickpeas can help lower cholesterol and aid with digestion, and chickpeas are also a fantastic source of healthy protein.
When guests are mingling, it's nice to have some simple munchies on hand. Setting out dishes of mixed nuts around the room will ensure that everyone can conveniently snack away, and help minimize a build-up at the buffet! Pretty bowls filled with healthy nuts like almonds, walnuts, or cashews are perfect for party time. Almonds are a tasty source of manganese, walnuts offer beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, and cashews are a source of magnesium, which contributes to bone health.
A satisfying combination of flavors and textures that won't weigh you down, this classic appetizer is a great addition to any holiday spread. A source of vitamin B12 and vitamin D, shrimp is a low-calorie protein that provides omega-3 fats (believed to help improve memory) and other beneficial vitamins and nutrients. If you love shrimp dunked in cocktail sauce, try making your own homemade cocktail sauce—it gives you more control over the condiment's nutritional value. Otherwise, just add a little lemon to your shrimp! A squirt of lemon juice offers some refreshing, mouth-puckering zing to a succulent, cold and crisp shrimp—without adding a significant amount of calories.