Healthy Holidays Hors d’oeuvres

This is a great starter for the holiday meal.

Sometimes I arrive for the holiday dinner and end up filling up on appetizers before the dinner. Not necessarily a bad thing if I skip dinner, but then the family seems to notice if you don’t have a plate full of all the trimmings. Besides, who wants to skip the turkey, two types of potatoes, and, the best part, my mother-in-law’s homemade rolls with real butter melting in them?  

So, I have learned to pick the appetizers that are “healthier.” Skipping the appetizers is an idea, but let’s be real about this. Are you really going to resist them? I think not.

FAVORITES = lower calories, so you can get your fill and it won’t equal the entire dinner before dinner

  • Shrimp cocktail. Boiled shrimp with some cocktail sauce = yum. 25 calories in 4 large shrimp.
  • Crudités. The French version of an appetizer with celery, carrots, bell pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, and asparagus. Go ahead and add your favorites: grape/cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, snap peas, and zucchini spears. Very, very few calories until you add the dip…
  • Deviled eggs. Don’t go overboard, and these are just the “right” amount of healthy fat and protein – choose 2-3 halves.
  • Fruit. Strawberries, pineapple, grapes and what ever else you like. Fantastic for you and gives a sweet touch to balance the savory.
  • Olives and pickles. It isn’t much of an appetizer, but they always somehow appear. Not so bad really, just high in sodium if you have too many.  

Now the following choices: I love ‘em, but I try to IGNORE THEM before the big meal. In addition to calories, they are often high in sodium, which may cause us to retain fluid. If you choose these, fill up with water too. You will need it.

  • Mixed nuts. These “good-for-you” snacks, often found on the table to distract us until dinner, are really easy to overeat, especially if you are busy talking and forget how much you have eating.
  • Sausage – summer or winter. I love this stuff! But, I try not to have it before dinner and save room for the turkey.
  • Cheese and crackers – crackers and cheese. A mix of carbs and protein, and better if the crackers are whole grain. In my world cheese is its own food group and I can easily eat too much. I would like some pie after dinner, so I try to avoid this one too.

By choosing the fruits, veggies and even the shrimp I feel that I am able to enjoy my holiday meal even more by knowing I chose healthier options for the “pre-game” activities.

So what appetizers do you usually have at your holiday meal?

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