During the holidays, you won’t hear me say you shouldn’t take a bite of that luscious dip loaded with tender crab, or those creamy cheesecake bites calling your name. Your friends and family made those scrumptious dishes for the people they love, and were meant for us to enjoy! That being said, we can certainly add a few light and healthy alternatives to the appetizer table, can’t we? Not only will we please our dieting and vegetarian friends, but the truth is that most of us will be looking for those healthy alternatives, too.
So how can you lighten up your appetizer table without sacrificing flavor and your reputation as a top-notch hostess? I suggest you give these tips a try:
- Replace the crackers you usually serve with your signature artichoke dip with lettuce cups. Endive, radicchio and butter lettuce all make terrific alternatives to crackers. Large mushrooms can make nice vessels too!
- If you’re serving crackers or chips, choose 100% whole grain crackers and seek out the baked varieties. They have an abundance of flavor, and are typically lower in fat. Make sure you take a look at the nutrition labels; you want to avoid added sodium and sugar, and the fewer the ingredients on the label, the better.
- Shake up the vegetable platter with crunchy jicama, radishes, and colorful peppers. People love variety! Don’t we see the same old vegetable platter sitting untouched in favor of almost anything else on the table? Give people something new to try, and don’t forget to add a trio of low calorie dips to choose from.
- Choose bean-based dips for your chips and veggies. Hummus and white bean dips with fruity olive oils, fresh herbs, and spicy garlic are both flavorful and an excellent source of fiber and complex carbohydrates. This makes them very satisfying.
- Serve fruit platters with a dip of Greek yogurt, honey and a dash of fresh lemon. Your guests will welcome an alternative to the piles of cookies and candies they’ve been eating during the holiday season.
- Be sure to serve up a little protein. Skewers of chicken and zucchini chunks, or lean beef and cherry tomatoes with a savory sauce on the side will disappear from the table in no time.
- Don’t forget to make a fun punch with low-sodium seltzer water spiked with 100% fruit juice. Add a variety of herbal teas, and a really great decaf Christmas coffee, fresh ground from your local coffee shop. Non-drinkers and your designated drivers will appreciate your effort to please them.
If you give these tips a try, your friends won’t be able to stop raving about your holiday party (probably because they stepped on the scale afterward and hadn’t gained a pound!)
It’s important to me that people have the ability to make good food choices, so Mother Rimmy’s Cooking Light Done Right provides nutrition information and Weight Watchers points for every recipes. I hope you’ll take the time to see what I’m cooking now. -Kristi Rimkus