From The Super Bowl to Family Get-Togethers to the Oscars – Healthier Appetizers and Finger Foods For Your Next Party
By Sara Lucero, Healthy Dining
With so many reasons to get friends together over the next few weeks, from the Super Bowl to the Oscars, it’s a great time to start thinking up fun and easy party food ideas that won’t leave you or guests guilty over broken resolutions. Whether you want to start fresh with all the healthiest offerings or just incorporate a few healthier twists, now is the time to make a change. Here are some tips to get started:
- Strategic placement – Want to offer healthier fare as an addition to the traditional not-so-healthy foods some of your guests expect? It’s all about placement. Display smaller amounts of the traditional items, camouflage them behind healthier foods or even set them on a separate table a little out of the way. That deep dish pepperoni pizza puddled with grease may not stand out so much behind the vibrant colors of fruits and vegetables placed front and center. The chips and cheese may not get quite so much attention if they’re in the corner of the buffet and not on the coffee table.
- Revamp old favorites – If you and your guests love the old favorites but are continuing to opt for healthier choices in 2011, make a few ingredient swaps to up the nutrition and cut the fat, calories or sodium. Use low or non-fat versions of ingredients such as cheese and sour cream or use less of these ingredients. Use baked versions of things like chips, fries and chicken. Try the “whole” or whole grain version of such ingredients as whole pinto beans instead of refried, brown rice instead of white and whole wheat instead of white pizza dough. Increase vegetables, herbs and spices to amp up the flavor.
- Try something new – Branch out and embrace some new favorites! With all the creative options out there, you are sure to find something that you and your guests will enjoy, from grilled and delicious shish kebobs to whole grain crackers topped with roasted vegetables. Visit recipe sites and blogs for suggestions or embrace your inner chef and start creating something new in your own kitchen.
- Save time by using restaurants – Restaurants offer plenty of healthier appetizers and finger foods. Call ahead, pick up and serve to your friends and family. It’s up to you if you take the credit for cooking or rave about the restaurant.
Looking for ideas for your next get together? These restaurants are featured on HealthyDiningFinder.com and offer some of the following Healthy Dining-approved choices:
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Located Nationwide
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail. Chilled jumbo shrimp served with horseradish sauce and lemon wedges. Calories 220; Fat 3.5 grams (not including cocktail sauce)
Blimpie, Located Nationwide
Club Sub on Whole Wheat. Slow-cured ham, oven-roasted turkey, Swiss, with tomatoes, lettuce, onion, vinegar, oil and oregano on wheat bread. Calories 140; Fat 5 grams (for 1/3 of 6” sub)
El Torito, Located Nationwide
Chicken Tamale. Calories: 150; Fat 6 grams (for ½ tamale)
Taco John’s, Located Nationwide
Softshell Taco with Chicken. A soft flour tortilla filled with our all white meat grilled chicken, lettuce, cheese and mild taco sauce. Calories 190; Fat 6 grams
Elephant Bar, Located Nationwide
Salmon Roll, Without Tempura
Seared salmon with avocado, carrots, tofu, cucumbers and sushi rice, wrapped in seaweed and sliced. Finished with soy glaze, sesame seeds and served with wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce for dipping. Calories 510; Fat 12 grams