10 Healthy Holiday Appetizers Guests Will Rave About

Updated: Dec. 12, 2018

Healthy appetizers can be hard to come by at holiday parties. Bring one of these holiday appetizers that are as delicious as they are good for you.

courtesy Christy Brissette MS RD 80twentynutrition.com

Warm Figs with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Glaze

Aren’t figs just gorgeous?! And when you dress them up with creamy goat cheese, a touch of extra sweetness from honey and a hint of tartness from balsamic vinegar, you have a winning appetizer. Try these warm figs with goat cheese and balsamic glaze for a nibble that satisfies! Not only do figs instantly elevate your appetizers to gourmet, they’re packed with nutrients. Figs are a good source of fiber, which can help you get to and keep a healthy body weight. Fiber is also needed for healthy digestion and to lower your risk of colorectal cancer. You’ll also get bone health benefits from this tasty fruit. One cup of dried figs provides 240 mg of calcium, almost as much as a cup of milk (about 300 mg).

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courtesy The Haas Avocado Board

Heart Healthy Vegan Avocado Ceviche

This zesty heart-healthy vegan avocado ceviche swaps out the raw fish for cauliflower for a fresh take on this classic appetizer. Raw fish can be a tricky one to serve at parties for food safety reasons, so this plant-based ceviche is a great option. Avocados are packed with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats—aka the “good fats”—and are a good source of fiber.

A pilot study at Loma Linda University found that adding half an avocado to the lunch of overweight participants led to a significant reduction in their desire to eat five hours after the meal—plus, it helped control their insulin response. These are promising findings that could lead to more research on avocados for weight loss and diabetes prevention and management. Here are 18 more vegan appetizers everyone will love.

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courtesy Christy Brissette MS RD 80twentynutrition.com

Butternut Squash Mini Pizzas

Butternut squash isn’t just for the classic soup. It’s fantastic as a no-fuss pizza crust! These butternut squash mini pizzas are super easy to make. They’re also Paleo, gluten-free, and loaded with nutrients. Butternut squash is an excellent source of beta carotene, with one cup delivering a day’s worth of this powerful antioxidant. Beta carotene can help support your immune system and keep skin and hair looking gorgeous. I love to load up my mini pizzas with vegetables, such as roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and green peppers. For sauce, I alternate between classic tomato sauce, pesto, and sundried tomato-infused olive oil.

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courtesy Jess DeGore RD LDN dietitianjess.com

Healthier Cheese Dip

Add this gem to your list of healthy appetizers that are guaranteed crowd pleasers. A healthier take on the traditional cheesy dips, this healthy cheese dip recipe from registered dietitian Jess DeGore lightens up the calories per bite by adding in beans and vegetables while trading out sour cream for fat-free Greek yogurt. The result: a dip that’s lightened up but still creamy and delicious. The white beans in this dip add more protein and fiber so it’s more filling. Beans are rich in resistant starch which promotes gut health and may help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Beans are also a good source of B vitamins which play a key role in metabolism by helping convert food into energy.

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courtesy The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

Bison Meatballs with Blueberry Sauce

Blueberries aren’t just for summer. Whether they’re fresh or frozen, these antioxidant powerhouses also add a pop of color and natural sweetness to your holiday dishes. Go beyond using blueberries in desserts by putting them in a savory appetizer like these bison meatballs with blueberry sauce. The bison gives you protein that tastes like beef but has a leaner nutritional profile that’s similar to turkey. Antioxidant-rich berries like blueberries have been shown to improve memory and the ability to learn. In addition, laboratory and animal studies suggest that eating berries has beneficial effects on brain cells, tamping down inflammation. The improvements in brain function may play a role in delaying age-related brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

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Honey-Drizzled Roasted Garlic Hummus

Hummus is one of the most popular party appetizers for a reason. The tahini (sesame seed paste) and heart-healthy olive oil with garlic give a rich taste and gorgeous texture to pureed chickpeas. This homemade honey-drizzled roasted garlic hummus from registered dietitian Jenna Braddock leaves store-bought hummus in the dust. With a delicious roasted garlic flavor and complementary hint of sweetness from raw honey, it feels fancy but is still a healthy choice. Hummus is full of fiber and protein with an added bonus: It encourages guests to eat their veggies! Chickpeas are an excellent source of manganese, a nutrient that is needed to regulate blood sugar levels and for healthy brain and nerve functioning. Here are 30 more healthy snacks adults don’t have to feel guilty about.

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courtesy Emily Kyle MS RDN Owner of Emily Kyle Nutrition

Lemon Chili Sweet Potato Toast Bites

The bright orange color, incredible flavor, and excellent nutritional profile make sweet potatoes a great food to include in your healthy eating plan. These lemon chili sweet potato toast bites from registered dietitian Emily Kyle are the perfect bite-sized appetizer to bring to your holiday party. Sweet potatoes are packed with fiber and beta carotene: One cup gives you half of the vitamin C you need in a day. Vitamin C not only strengthens your immune system, it also prevents free radical damage to help prevent chronic diseases and slow down the aging process. These tasty morsels are naturally gluten free and can be made vegan, so everyone at your party can enjoy them.

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courtesy Christy Brissette MS RD 80twentynutrition.com

Caesar Salad Skewers

Yes, you can have salad at a cocktail party or holiday mixer—just mix it up a bit and put your salad ingredients on a stick for easier nibbling. These Caesar salad skewers are completely customizable. Start with chunks of romaine lettuce, cucumber, and cherry tomatoes and serve with a side of Caesar salad dressing for dipping or drizzling. You can also add cubes of grilled chicken, mozzarella, or bocconcini cheese for super satisfying protein. Romaine lettuce doesn’t get as much attention as kale, but it still serves up plenty of nutrients. Two cups of romaine gives you your day’s worth of vitamin K for healthy bones and blood clotting. It also provides a third of your daily folate requirements, a B vitamin your body needs to make DNA and for healthy red blood cells. And that’s not all—folate may boost heart health and could help prevent depression. Here are 9 more ideas for putting yummy healthy foods on a skewer.

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courtesy Karman Meyer RDN LDN TheNutritionAdventure.com

Prosciutto-Wrapped Apple Bites

Only four ingredients are needed to make this elegant, yet simple, fruit-forward appetizer. Prosciutto-wrapped apple bites from registered dietitian Karman Meyer pair crisp, sweet apple with a thin slice of salty prosciutto, fresh arugula, and white cheddar. They’re colorful, light hors d’oeuvres guests will adore! Apples are a symbol of nutrition for good reason: They contain a type of fiber called pectin that acts as a prebiotic, fueling healthy bacteria in your gut for better digestion and overall health. An apple a day could also help you lose weight. The fiber and water content fills you up for fewer calories and could help you eat less of other foods. In one study, when volunteers ate apple slices before a meal, they consumed 200 calories less than people who didn’t eat the apples first.

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Natalia Mylova/Shutterstock

Healthier Spinach Dip with Greek Yogurt

Spinach dip is a party appetizer classic, but it’s typically loaded with saturated fat and heavy on calories. The traditional spinach dip recipe is made with sour cream and mayonnaise. Lighten things up with healthier spinach dip with Greek yogurt. It’s delicious with crudités, crackers, or served in a hearty whole-grain bread bowl. Greek yogurt is packed with protein and contains bone-building calcium. Yogurt is also rich in magnesium, a mineral that supports calcium absorption and regulates blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Plus, yogurt contains good bacteria that support your digestive health. All great reasons to dip… and dip again! Next, don’t miss these 21 other Christmas appetizers that everyone will love.

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