… because what is life without good food?

40 Healthier Holiday Appetizers

… and why they’re good for you!

40 Healthier Holiday Appetizers (and why they're better for you)

It’s almost Christmas and everywhere I look lately, there is sugar! It’s taken over the Internet, my workplace, my kitchen, my gifts (yes, I confess, I’m giving away lots of sugar this year). For a while I fell victim to the sugar-devil, reveling in baking and melting chocolate, sharing loads of sugary recipes and still I have more sugar-laden posts to share with you (sorry!)

Yes, I partake in my fair share of sugar and indulgence every holiday season, but I find it leaves me drained and tired. After so much sugar, my body feels empty, weak, lifeless, fatigued. I hate that feeling! I want to feel strong, healthy, ALIVE! Exercise helps, but exercise alone isn’t enough to cancel out the empty calories from all those holiday goodies.

So, to balance out all the sugar and un-healthy rich foods we will be eating this holiday season, I asked my foodie friends to send over some healthier appetizer options, and they came to the rescue. I hope you will find some munchies that you like in this collection, something to turn to at those holiday gatherings that will revive you after the sugar craze and help keep you (and your family and friends) healthy, strong and energetic throughout the holidays.

Click the recipe title or the image to see the recipe.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Red Pear and Gorgonzola from Inspired Edibles

Naturally gluten free, these little bites are a tasty, colorful way to eat your veggies! Brussels sprouts also have high levels of phytonutrients called glucosinolate that help protect against cancer.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Red Pear & Gorgonzola

Pink Peppercorn Montrachet from ChinDeep

Goat cheese offers calcium and protein, honey adds natural, healthier sweetness, and the pink peppercorns are a perfect bite to balance out the creamy cheese. And it’s gluten free if you serve it with GF crackers!

Pink Peppercorn Montrachet

Hot & Cheesy Seafood Spinach Dip (from yours truly)

This decadent tasting dip is surprisingly healthy … It tastes rich and cheesy, but spinach, onion, celery, Greek yogurt, and white beans, along with the protein-rich seafood make this a health-packed dip for the holidays. Use gluten free crackers for the crumb topping if you want it gluten free.

Hot & Cheesy Seafood Spinach Dip

Sundried Tomato Dip from Life Currents

This scrumptious gluten free dip features low fat cream cheese along with sundried tomatoes and healthy spices. You can sub Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream to further lower the fat content and add healthy protein and probiotics.

Sundried Tomato Dip from Life Currents

Scallop Ceviche from Food Done Light

Packed with protein from the scallops plus lots of vitamin C from the citrus juices and potassium from the banana chips, this delightful gluten free appetizer can help keep you healthy through the holiday season.

Scallop Ceviche with Baked Plantain Chips

Gluten Free Quinoa Spinach Balls from Lauren Kelly, Nutritionist

Quinoa is rich in protein and fiber and has a pleasing nutty taste. Paired with cheese and spinach, it makes for a quite healthy ball of deliciousness.

Gluten Free Spinach Quinoa Balls Recipe

Basil Goat Cheese Stuffed Sweet Mini Peppers

Peppers are packed with phytochemicals and antioxidants. These colorful mini peppers are stuffed with protein and calcium- rich goat cheese, healthy herbs & garlic (a powerful antibiotic), and baked with a tomato sauce which adds lutein.

Basil Goat Cheese Stuffed Sweet Peppers ~ from Sumptuous Spoonfuls #stuffed #peppers #recipe

Skewered Fired-Up Grilled Shrimp from The Fountain Avenue Kitchen

Spicy to help clear your sinuses and shrimp to provide protein, vitamin D and zinc, this appetizer helps fend off colds and may actually help you lose weight. And bonus! it’s gluten free.

Skewered Fired Up Grilled Shrimp Recipe

Beef Wellington Spanakopita Bites from Food Done Light

Both beef and spinach are rich in iron. Protein from the beef and vitamins from the spinach can help keep you healthy, happy and feeling good this holiday season. And did you know spinach is also good for digestion?

Beef Wellington Spanakopita Bites Recipe

Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings” with Blue Cheese Yogurt Dip

These “wings” substitute healthy low-cal cauliflower for the fatty chicken wings and spice it up with buffalo sauce. Buffalo sauce is high in capsaicin, which is chock full of healthy antioxidants, but also contains endorphins, those hormones that make you happy. The blue cheese yogurt dip moderates the heat and the probiotics in the yogurt aid in digestion.

Buffalo Cauliflower "Wings" with Blue Cheese Yogurt Dip ~ Sumptuous Spoonfuls #buffalo #cauliflower #recipe

Three Layer Hummus from The Clever Carrot

Hummus is not only a delicious dip, it’s rich in fiber, protein, vitamins & minerals such as folic acid, calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium. The chickpeas help lower cholesterol and fight cancer. This triple layered version is not just pretty: peppers and cilantro step in to contribute further the health benefits. Oh, and did I mention it’s gluten free?

Three Layer Hummus

Veggie Blossoms from Tastes of Lizzy T

These pretty blossoms feature broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. Both broccoli and cauliflower contain glucosinolates, which helps fight cancer, plus they are rich in vitamins K and C. Carrots contribute beta carotene which fights aging, cancer, heart disease and helps your vision.

Veggie Blossoms Recipe

Broccoli Cheese Potato Skins with Avocado Cream from Erica’s Recipes

We have already discussed the goodness of broccoli, but potatoes are good too! Potatoes are full of antioxidants and they help fight both cancer and diabetes, plus they strengthen your bones. Avocados are good for your heart and your skin, plus they can help you lose weight and they fight diabetes and arthritis too. All this yumminess is naturally gluten free.

Broccoli Cheese Potato Skins with Avocado Cream

Warm & Zesty Quinoa Bean Dip from Citronlimette

Quinoa is a high quality protein that is rich in fiber and riboflavin and it’s gluten free! The beans in this zesty dip are not only hearty and delicious, they are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. It’s a yummy dip you can feel good about eating!

Baked Quinoa & Bean Dip Recipe

Smoked Salmon & Cucumber Canapes from Meal Planning Maven

These pretty canapes feature salmon which is high in omega-3 fatty acids for heart, skin and eye health. It also keeps your mind sharp, and boosts vitamin D and selenium levels.

Smoked Salmon & Cucumber Canapes Recipe

Baked Brie Bites from Real Food Real Deals

Did you know brie contains vitamin B-12, folate, niacin, zinc and riboflavin, plus  calcium, magnesium and phosphorus? So brie is good for you, but it’s also high in calories, so these pretty brie bites help with portion control by using just a small amount of brie on each appetizer.

Baked Brie Bites

Caprese Skewers with a Twist from Recipe Rebound

Tomatoes are a superfood that contain alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene in addition to vitamins A & C and potassium. These lovely gluten free caprese skewers also include cheese (for calcium & protein) and basil, which helps fight bacteria, viruses and chronic disease.

Caprese Skewers with a Twist Recipe

Blue Cheese & Yogurt Cucumber Bites from Full Belly Sisters

The cucumbers in these festive bites help keep you hydrated, fight heartburn, flushes out toxins and provides vitamins A, B & C. Cucumbers are also great for diabetics because they help the body produce insulin. Topped with protein and calcium rich cheese & yogurt and healthy tart sweet cranberries, these little bites make a fantastic snack or appetizer and they are gluten free.

Blue Cheese & Yogurt Cucumber Bites with Cranberries from Full Belly Sisters

But wait, there’s more!

Gluten-free deliciousness:

Gluten free & vegetarian:

And more healthy deliciousness for those of us who can have gluten:

This collection was shared at Sweet & Savory Sunday, Mix it Up Monday, Inspiration MondayTuesday’s Table, Foodie Friends FridaySuperbowl Linky and Create Link Inspire.

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10 Responses

  1. Ann

    Such a delicious assortment of recipes, Ann! Thank you for including the shrimp. That is an old favorite for sure around here!

    December 22, 2013 at 3:25 pm

  2. Ann…I am just in awe of this recipe collection! So healthy, colorful, fun and perfect for holiday entertaining!

    Thank you soooo much for all your hard work as well as sharing each of our recipes. You’re absolutely the BEST!

    Have a wonderful holiday season!


    December 22, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    • Ann

      Thank you Linda! You too! 🙂

      December 23, 2013 at 6:52 pm

  3. Hi Ann! Sorry it took me so long to write, but you know how the holiday season has a tendency to sneak up and bite you! haha! Anyway, I wanted to thank you for featuring my Sun Dried Tomato Dip in your lovely holiday round up. I can’t wait to go through each one and take a good look. I’ve stumbled and pinned your post. Happy New Year to you and yours!

    December 27, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    • Ann

      Thanks Debi!

      December 29, 2013 at 11:52 am

  4. Thanks so much for these delightful healthy appetizers. They are not just good for the holidays, they can be served year round. I am excited to have found Sumptuous Spoonfuls as well as all the other great blogs you mention.

    Look forward to trying many of these beginning with the Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings” with Blue Cheese Yogurt Dip!


    Rosana Santos Calambichis, CEO

    December 27, 2013 at 5:27 pm

  5. thank you for sharing Ann!

    December 29, 2013 at 12:46 pm

  6. This is just what I needed. I have done more than my share of overeating in the last month. Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday!

    December 29, 2013 at 2:29 pm

  7. G’day! great Round up, mouth watering photos!
    Thanks for sharing at the Foodie Friends Friday Best of 2013 Party!
    Cheers! Joanne

    January 3, 2014 at 12:25 am

  8. Pingback: Inspiration Monday Link Party #26 plus Healty Recipe features | scatteredthoughtsofacraftymom.com