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My favorite part of the holidays is all of the get togethers with family and friends. Of course, these social gatherings always revolve around food so maybe what I really like about the holidays is the eating! Whenever we have guests over, I have a tendency to over do it when it comes to food...there are always tons of snacks and appetizers to nibble on and I usually have enough food left over to feed a small army! I try hard to offer healthy snacks to my guests along side one or two decadent appetizers. I hate to blow my diet completely in one night! It is also important to have a few allergen friendly snacks available in case any of your guests have food allergies. Here are a few healthy snacks you can include in your holiday get together that will ensure you can fit into your pants again come January!
Healthy Snacks for Holiday Entertaining
1. Choose your dips wisely: Instead of calorie and fat heavy dips that are made with cheese and mayonnaise make healthier choices like hummus, guacamole, and salsa. If you have a recipe that uses mayonnaise try substituting part of it with yogurt. For uncooked dips you can often substitute up to have of the mayo with greek yogurt. The resulting taste will be a little less creamy and a tad tangy but I have had good luck with this!
2. Offer a rainbow of colors: Healthy snacks come in many colors! Offering vegetable platters and fruit trays are a great way to brighten up your buffet and add in a big boost of nutrition! It is also incredibly easy to make up a platter ahead of time so there is less rush when guests are arriving. Trying making a fruit dip or offering chocolate or caramel sauces to dip some strawberries and apples in. Low fat ranch dressing is always a hit with vegetables but I admit I prefer blue cheese!
3. Jazz up some popcorn: Popcorn is one of the most popular healthy snacks, especially with kids! Instead of buying a bag of cheddar or caramel popcorn try making your own healthier version. Using a hot air popcorn popper, pop your corn. Spray it with a touch of cooking spray or olive oil that you have put into a misting bottle. Then, sprinkle on your flavors. Try curry powder and salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese, or even cinnamon and sugar.
4. Don't forget the nuts: While it is true that nuts can be fairly high in fat, they contain mostly the 'heart healthy' fats rather than the trans fats everyone is so worried about. According to the Huffington Post, the "healthiest" nuts are almonds (23 nuts; 6 grams protein, 14 grams fat); cashews (16 to 18 nuts; 5 grams protein, 13 grams fat); and pistachios (49 nuts; 6 grams protein, 13 grams fat). You should avoid nuts packaged or roasted in oil and instead choose raw or dry roasted.
5. Choose your chips wisely: Chips are probably the worst diet nightmare at a party for me. There is no way that I can reach into a bag and pull out ONE potato chip! I usually grab several and then use them as vehicles to move large amounts of dip to my mouth! Instead of potato chips and sour cream based dips offer alternative types of chips to your guests served with one of the dips mentioned above. Good alternatives to potato chips are popped chips, pretzels or Blue Diamond Nut Thins.
Healthy Snacks: Blue Diamond Nut Thins
Blue Diamond Nut Thins are a light and crispy cracker made with rice flour and nuts. They are wheat- and gluten-free which makes it a great snack alternative for people with food allergies. They are even processed in a facility that is certified by the “Gluten Free Certification Organization”. These crackers are fairly low in calories as well...one serving (about 16 crackers) has about 130 calories. Nut Thins come in 8 different flavors; almond, hazelnut, pecan, cheddar cheese, smokehouse, hint of salt, pepper jack cheese, and country ranch.
My Opinion: For my review I was sent several boxes of Blue Diamond Nut Thins to try out. These crackers do not have a traditional 'cracker' texture but are slightly lighter and crispier. I thought the texture was very enjoyable as did my kids (who are not always open minded when it comes to replacing their favorite potato chips with healthy snacks!) My favorite flavor was definitely the Cheddar Cheese, probably because I like everything I eat to have cheese on it! The flavor was not overpowering and I could still taste the nuttiness of the cracker underneath. The Almond chip was lightly salty and without any added flavor you could really taste the almonds themselves. I was surprised at the difference in the Pecan chip...you would think that all nuts would give a similar flavor to the chip but this one really did taste a lot like a roasted pecan! I must admit, the smokehouse flavor wasn't one of my favorites but I am not a fan of anything smoked that wasn't cooked on a grill so that is just a personal preference.
If you are trying to come up with healthy snacks to serve your guests this holiday season, I think you should check out Blue Diamond Nut Thins. Serve them with some hummus or salsa for some guilt free snacking!
What are some of your own favorite healthy snacks?
Disclaimer: In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials.”: I received product samples in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation. All opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone. Some of the links in this post may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.