It might seem counterintuitive to suggest adding more food to your table, but offering guests appetizers can satiate hunger early and reduce the desire to overeat at dinner. Appetizers are also a great way to sneak in something a little healthier, according to this tip from the ECU College of Nursing.
Here are some smart ideas for keeping appetizers healthy:
- Plates of raw vegetables – Celery, carrots and broccoli are go-tos for crudité platters. We love them, but you might find them boring. Think about offering unexpected vegetables like asparagus, radishes, green beans and snow peas.
- Bean-based or non-dairy dips – Instead of ranch or sour cream-based dips, consider offering hummus or white bean dip. These alternatives have less saturated fat, but more fiber and hunger-reducing protein. Another easy idea that’s low in calories, but big on taste is Wasabi pea dip. Consider adding ginger.
- Fruit (fresh or dried) – If you’re buying dried fruit, make sure it says “No Sugar Added.”
- Whole, unsalted nuts –Nuts like almonds and walnuts are a great source of the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats or “good fats”, as well as vitamin E. Omega-3s can lower bad LDL cholesterol levels and are good for joints and the brain.
- Fatty, dairy-based dips like ranch or French onion.
- Cheese - We all love cheese, but it beats out red meat for the number one source of saturated fat in our diets. For a calorie-dense meal like Thanksgiving, leave the cheese in the fridge.
- Crackers and chips – These are loaded with carbs and sodium, and many crackers can be full of hidden refined sugars.