5 Healthy Snacks for the Holidays

The holidays can be a scary, downright stressful time for people who are watching their weight, but a few sneaky and satisfying healthy snacks can keep you from the cookies, chips and fatty dips.  Some will even earn you some nutritional points by providing a healthy dose of fiber, protein, antioxidants or vitamins and minerals.  Replace the old stand-bys and no one will feel like they’ve been jipped.

1. Spinach Artichoke dip

Spinach artichoke often includes a bunch of mayonnaise, cream cheese, and parmesan.  Grab your favorite recipe, and reduce the mayonnaise in half, and trade that half for fat-free cream cheese.  Add reduced fat cream cheese for the regular, but use the same amount of parmesan…it’s big flavor, so you need it!  Start the dip with two strips of bacon.  Sounds crazy, right?  Chop ’em up and sizzle them in the pan first to add a whole lot of extra flavor.  Now double the amount of spinach, and you are packing in a serious dose of iron and calcium.  Serve it up with some toasted slices of whole wheat baguette and some endive leaves, and you’ve got a much healthier snack.

2. Greek Favorites

What party doesn’t have a veggie tray?  Try serving yours with a side of hummus and tzatziki.  There are many lower fat versions of hummus at your local store.  Offer a tasty and colorful variety like roasted red pepper flavored hummus, and add some protein to your healthy base of veggies.  Make your own tzatziki with low-fat or light plain yogurt, but straining out the liquid through a cheese cloth for about 30 minutes.  Add the juice of half a lemon, a minced clove of garlic, parsley and 1 and 1/2 cups of finely chopped cucumber, and a little salt to the yogurt.  Serve up the dips with veggies and some whole wheat pita triangles, and load up your appetizer plate with this heavy duty serving of vitamins, protein and antioxidants Delicious!

3. Shrimp cocktail

Minimal prep with elegant style…what could be better? Grab a bottle of cocktail sauce, and boil the (peeled, deveined) shrimp for about 3 minutes. 6 of these little swimmers will only cost you about 130 calories and 1.5 grams of fat, but earns you about 16 grams of protein to keep you satisfied.

4. Cheese

Yes, cheese!  Most cheeses are high fat, but a cheese board is a staple to most parties!  Banish that dilemma with this quick and easy appetizer.  Slice goat cheese in 1/2 inch slices in the bottom of a few oven-safe ramekins, top it with marinara sauce to cover, and bake until the cheese melts a bit and rhe sauce begins to bubble. Top with a little fresh basil for a festive look!  Serve with toasted slices of whole wheat baguette, and satisfy your cheese craving while gaining a healthy dose of lycopene and protein!

Put the goat cheese next to a few low fat cheeses on a board, and you’ll be more likely to reach for the more flavorful goat cheese appetizer!

5. Dessert Table

What holiday spread would be complete without sweets?  Make cookies and boxes of chocolate illegal in your house for the holiday season.  That means: throw away any cookies or treats that loved ones bring as gifts. That’s right! Wait until they leave and toss it! For dessert, try serving up a fruit tart made with low fat pudding as the custard, dark-chocolate covered strawberries for an antioxidant blast, or mini chocolate cakes made in small muffin tins with the oils replaced with applesauce.  =

These 5 satisfying treats will get you through that multiple hour gorge fest that happens at holiday parties…even before you eat dinner!  Not hosting?  Offer to bring one of the above snacks, and you’ll have at least one healthy option!


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