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Healthy Holiday Party Recipes

As the holiday season approaches, many of us are left with little things on our minds besides shopping, planning and preparing for all the celebrations and gatherings to come. As we get together with friends and family over tons of great food, it can be hard to stick to any healthy diet plan. While a once-a-year indulgence certainly won’t hurt you, most of these celebrations and parties can last almost all winter long. Instead of depriving yourself or feeling guilty for overdoing it, make these healthier versions of tasty appetizers such as hearty broccoli soup and crispy vegetable chips. Eating healthy can still be delicious and fit perfectly into this exciting and joyous time of year.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

A typical serving of spinach and artichoke dip contains up to 1,100 calories and 100 grams of fat, which is almost a day’s worth of calories! Substitute high-fat cheese for fat-free Greek yogurt to keep the creamy texture while slashing more than half the calories and artery-clogging saturated fat.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6-ounce container nonfat Greek yogurt (such as Fage or Chobani)
1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella, shredded

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350 F.

2. Mix ingredients; spoon into 9-inch quiche dish or pie plate.

3. Bake 20 minutes or until heated through.

*Serve this dip with the roasted vegetable chips or whole-wheat pita chips

Serves: 8 (1/4 cup)

Nutritional Content per Serving: 126 calories, 8 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 10 g protein, 6g fat, 03 g sat fat, 264 mg sodium

Roasted Vegetable “Chips”

Potato chips are a popular salty snack and a classic favorite of many, but a typical serving of potato chips runs around 250 calories, 20 grams of fat and only 1 gram of dietary fiber. This dish combines the benefits of high-fiber vegetables while satisfying a salty, crispy craving at the same time. For only 40 calories, 0.5 grams of fat and more than 2 grams of waist-slimming fiber, you can still enjoy a salty and tasty snack without excess calories. Serve this dish in bowls during a family get together or party to give your guests a guilt-free, tasty snack to enjoy with their pre-dinner drinks.

Ingredients:

Cooking spray
2 medium zucchini, sliced crosswise into 1/8-inch thick slices
2 medium yellow summer squash, sliced crosswise in 1/8-inch thick slices
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally into 1/8-inch thick slices
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon oregano, or to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 200 F. Coat 2 large baking sheets with cooking spray.

2. Place zucchini and squash in a single layer on one baking sheet.

3. Place carrots on other sheet in a single layer.

4. Coat vegetables with cooking spray and season tops of vegetables with salt and oregano.

5. Roast for 1 hour, then rotate trays. Roast until vegetables are crisp and dry, about 30 to 60 minutes more.

Cook’s Note: Use a mandolin to evenly slice vegetables if you have one.

Serves: 6

Nutrition Content per Serving: 40 calories, 8.4 g carbohydrate, 2.8 g fiber, 2 g protein, 0.5 g total fat, 0.1 g saturated fat, 425 mg sodium

Spanakopita Frittata “Bites”

These frittata bites are loaded with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and taste great, too! Using only the white of each egg saves you more than 200 mg of cholesterol and 5 grams of fat per egg. Instead of using full-fat cheese, opt for low-fat varieties. Not only will this save you hundreds of calories, but this will certainly decrease your risks for heart disease.

Ingredients:

12 eggs
1/2 Vidalia onion
1 (10-ounce) package of frozen spinach
4 ounces low-fat feta cheese, crumbled
Nonstick cooking spray
Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. While pan is heating, separate the eggs. Discard 6 of the yolks and set aside the other 6 yolks.

3. Place the whites into a bowl and beat with a fork until foamy. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Gently fold the 6 egg yolks into the egg whites.

5. Add onion to the skillet and saute until translucent, approximately 3 minutes.

6. Add spinach and cook until spinach is wilted.

7. Coat a mini muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Add a spoonful of vegetable mixture to each cup, and then pour egg mixture over the vegetables. Top each with a few crumbles of feta cheese

8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the frittata bites have risen and are golden brown.

Serves: 24 mini frittata bites

Nutrition Content per Serving: 52 calories, 1 g carbohydrate, .5 g fiber, 4.6 g protein, 3 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 141 mg sodium

Sweet and Spicy Almonds

Almonds are a great on-the-go snack that contains tons of healthy fats and a good amount of fiber and protein. Now you can enjoy them with a kick of metabolism-boosting spice and a satisfying sweet taste all at once! Nuts have also been linked to decreased abdominal fat storage.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups unblanched almonds
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon olive oil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Spread almonds on a rimmed baking sheet; toast until just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, combine sugar, salt, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.

4. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook honey and water with olive oil, stirring until combined, about 1 minute.

5. Add almonds to the honey mixture; toss to thoroughly coat each almond.

6. Transfer nuts to the sugar mixture; toss to coat almonds thoroughly. Cool in a single layer.

Serves: 12

Nutrition Content per Serving: 195 calories, 11 g carbohydrate, 3.5 g fiber, 6 g protein, 15 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 291 mg sodium

Tuna Tartar Wrapped in Cucumber

I am always recommending this dish to clients, family and friends because it’s high in protein, low in calories and big on flavor. Great for dinner parties and special occasions, as most people find it’s the perfect finger-food appetizer when tightly wrapped with sliced cucumber. While dining out, tuna tartar is usually one of the lowest-calorie appetizers.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sriracha (Asian chili sauce)
8 ounces fresh, sushi-grade tuna, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 avocado, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch dice
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh chives, plus 1-inch pieces for garnish
2 seedless cucumbers, peeled

Directions:

1. Using a knife or a mandolin, slice the cucumbers lengthwise as thinly as possible.

2. Mix mayonnaise, soy sauce and sriracha together in a small bowl.

3. Add tuna, avocado and chives, and gently combine with a fork.

4. Spoon 1 tablespoon tuna tartar on the end of the cucumber slice. Roll up and place a toothpick through the middle to secure the filling. Garnish with chives and serve.

Serves: 12

Nutrition Content per Serving: 56 calories, 2.5 g carbohydrate, 1.25 g fiber, 5 g protein, 3 g total fat, .43 g saturated fat, 47 mg sodium

Mini Soup Shooters Three Ways

The base of the soup is the same for all three; you can choose to do broccoli, mushroom or carrot – or all three. To make them perfect for a cocktail party I serve them in shot glasses or a small rocks glass.

Soup provides a warm, hearty taste on a cold winter day, but most versions can be more than 400 calories and 20 grams of artery-clogging saturated fat. Make it fat free by substituting the cream for chicken stock and nonfat Greek yogurt and you’ll also shave off up to 200 calories! You’ll have a hunger-satisfying, body-warming appetizer that is packed with fiber and antioxidant-filled broccoli, mushrooms and carrots.

Broccoli Soup Shooters

Ingredients:

1/2 clove garlic, minced

1/2 small onion, chopped

1 head of broccoli, chopped into small spears

2 cups fat-free chicken stock

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 1/2 tbsp nonfat plain Greek yogurt (Fage, Chobani or Oikios)

Cooking spray

Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. In a large pot, heat cooking spray and add minced garlic and onion. Saute for five minutes or until the onion is soft (but not brown).

2. Add the broccoli and saute for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and turn up heat, bringing it to a boil.

3. Boil soup for 20 minutes or until broccoli is tender. Pour soup into a blender and puree until smooth.

4. Pour the soup back into the pot and add extra water if mixture is too thick. Next add the Parmesan cheese and stir until completely mixed through. Stir in yogurt and ladle 1/4 cup of soup in a shot glass or rocks glass. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves: 12 (1/4 cup)

Nutrition Content per Serving: 31 calories, 4 g carbohydrate, 1.3 g fiber, 3 g protein, 1 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 205 mg sodium

Mushroom Soup Shooters

Ingredients:

1/2 clove garlic, minced

1/2 small onion, chopped

2 large containers of button mushrooms (or any other variety mushroom),quartered

2 cups fat-free chicken stock

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 1/2 tablespoon nonfat plain Greek yogurt (Fage, Chobani or Oikios)

Cooking spray

Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. In a large pot, heat cooking spray and add minced garlic and onion. Sauté for five minutes or until the onion is soft (but not brown).

2. Add the mushrooms and saut3 for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and turn up heat, bringing it to a boil.

3. Boil soup for 20 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Pour soup into a blender and puree until smooth.

4. Pour the soup back into the pot and add extra water if the mixture is too thick. Next add the Parmesan cheese and stir until completely mixed through. Stir in yogurt and ladle 1/4 cup of soup in a shot glass or rocks glass. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves: 12 (1/4 cup)

Nutrition Content per Serving: 20 calories, 1.5 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 2 g protein, 0.6 g total fat, 0.3 g saturated fat, 205 mg sodium

Carrot Soup Shooters

Ingredients: 1/2 clove garlic, minced

1/2 small onion, chopped

4 large carrots, peeled and cut into medium-size pieces

2 cups fat-free chicken stock
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 1/2 tablespoon nonfat plain Greek yogurt (Fage, Chobani or Oikios)

Cooking spray

Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. In a large pot, heat cooking spray and add minced garlic and onion. Saute for five minutes or until the onion is soft (but not brown).

2. Add the carrots and saute for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and turn up heat, bringing it to the boil.

3. Boil soup for 20 minutes or until carrots are teer. Pour soup into a blender and puree until smooth.

4. Pour the soup back into the pot and add extra water if mixture is too thick. Next add the Parmesan cheese and stir until completely mixed through. Stir in yogurt and ladle 1/4 cup of soup in a shot glass or rocks glass. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves: 12 (1/4 cup)

Nutrition Content per Serving:24 calories, 3 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 1.5 g protein, 1 g total fat, 0.4 g saturated fat, 204 mg sodium

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