Healthy and Unhealthy Appetizers for the Holidays or any Occassion

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 8th Sep 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Recipes>Snacks

We our now in September and the holiday season is fast approaching. In this article I will present some healthy and not so healthy appetizers.

Unhealthy appetizers

Onion rings and fried mozzerella sticks

Yes they taste good and you eat them during the year but you don’t need to overdo your arsenal of fatty foods just before the holidays. The keyword here for these little temptations is fried. Fried is a no no. If you snack out on these finger foods constantly cut them out before you go for your big holiday feasts especially if you don’t want to skimp on the Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanuka, or New Years celebrations.

The American version of our fried onions called the onion blossom has , 552 calories, 83 g of fat, and 5,508 mg of sodium - more than double the daily recommended allotment. Just because it has a fancy name doesn’t preclude that they are loaded with calories. Thinking of traveling during the holidays, beware of the culinary temptations.

If you absolutely must have your onions rings, then try McCain frozen Sauteed Onion Strips. They have 65 calories per serving, no sodium, 3 percent fat and 8 per cent carbohydrates.

How about avoiding the extra fat oven bake these little goodies. Plan them wisely with the rest of your meal and don’t pig out!

Spinach, artichoke, French onion dips

There are plenty of goodies at your favorite restaurant during the holidays or on the daily menu just about anytime. Dips are very popular. You go to your local Mexican Restaurant such as Three Amigos and the dips, especially the guacamole, are all there.

These dips may sound nutritional especially when you hear spinach, artichoke, guacamole and so on. But be careful. Any dip rich in a cream base sauce is lethal to your arteries. Avoid these dips at all cost.

If you are planing to serve a nice spinach artichoke dip for your special holiday meals then change the sauce to a nice Greek yogurt nonfat base. You will be surprised how delicious these dips can be.

If you know you are going to be eating up a storm during the holidays, please cut down on your everyday favorite appetizers when you are eating out or ordering pre-holiday season.

Chances are you are still going to take the kids out to MacDonalds, Burger King, and Wendy’s during the holiday season. But remember to cut down on the grease and fat. Go for the salads and wraps, and stay away from the poutine. Americans have a version called cheese fries, but our poutine is even more lethal with french fries, melted cheese, and loads of sauce. Although tempting and delicious a poutine can have even more calories than the main meal.

The average poutine is over 2,000 calories alone. That calorie count is just for the standard poutine, if you are going to a restaurant that serves extra ingredients like bacon, chicken, Italian sauce, wine sauce and more, it can get pretty unhealthy.

If you know the holiday meals are coming up and you are not going to skimp on all the trimmings do you really need to do overdo it before hand with the fries, the sauce, and the melted cheese?

Cheese burger sliders

Just because there are mini burgers found in many restaurants don’t be fooled into thinking that they are less fattening. Cheese burger sliders as Americans call them are smaller in diameter but they usually have three hamburger patties in them.

Three of these little babies contains over 2,270 mgs of sodium, 81 grams of fat and 1, 270 calories! Then there are those will order the fries.

Another holiday favorite is the loaded potato skins

Potato skins

Again the cheese, the sour cream and the loaded fat is the killer. Topping potatoes with sour cream and bacon and all the fixings is a heart attack waiting to happen. Don’t be fooled into thinking that potatoes skins are baked and therefore healthier because they are not fried.

If you can have just one then you are okay, but if you are like most people and will want to eat an entire plate. This means you are getting over 1,500 calories just for your appetizer. You will also be consuming 1,900 mgs of sodium and 1,00 grams of fat.

If you know the holiday meals are coming up and you are not going to skimp on all the trimmings do you really need to do overdo it before hand with the fries, the sauce, and the melted cheese?

Fried calamari

Many of us love Greek food and we love the Greek restaurants all over the city. But remember that even though seafood is good for you fried squid is not. Breading and frying the calamari (squid) is the culprit. The delightful appetizers are roughly 900 calories per serving, but have a 2, 300 grams of fat and 54 mgs of sodium.

New England Clam Chowder

Again although New England Clam Chowder sounds nutritious with all the seafood in it,it is the creme base that will do you in. There are 450 calories in a serving but a whopping 1,900 mgs of sodium and 34 grams of fat.

Chicken wings

We all the love the fried chicken wings but to we really need them? A serving of the chicken wings alone has 700 calories, and 40 grams of fat. Now when you add the different sauces such as ranch sauce, it then becomes 900 calories and over 2,000 mgs of sodium and you haven’t even touched your main meal yet.

Chilli cheese natchos

We all love them but we don’t need them. This appetizer is the least healthy of all. A single serving will add 1,680 calories, 108 g of fat, and 4,280 mg of sodium to your meal. it has – almost twice the recommended daily limit for sodium.

Healthy apetizers

There is so many people who are obese and are diabetic that the holiday season is really a tempting but dangerous time to overdo it.

If you are the hostess of a big holiday meal and you are at lost for good appetizers which are healthy and festive at the same time. Why not try vegetable kabobs.

These vegetable kabobs are colorful and festive for the occasion. They can be made with several vegetables including green, red bell, or yellow peppers. You can use onions and tomatoes as well. Be creative use zucchini, mushrooms, broccoli and other vegetable favorites. Vegetable kabobs are so easy to make. You can skewer the kabobs or broil them in the oven. Just choose a low fat garlic or balsamic marinade. Two very large kabobs will only contain 80 calories. You cannot get better than that for a heart-healthy delicious appetizer.

Spinach salad

If you are the hostess of a big holiday meal and you are at lost for good appetizers which are healthy and festive at the same time why not have a nice spinach salad with a little vinaigrette dressing. Avoid the creamy dressing unless you go for the low fat Greek yogurt dressing for a spanakopita effect. Salads drenched in a cream base sauce is fattening. Furthermore you have the desserts and all the extras, you really don’t need to drench your salads with loaded fat and calories.

A good thing about a spinach salad with vinaigrette is that studies have shown that vinegar helps lower blood sugar levels so important for diabetics. Other studies have shown that eating a healthy salad before your meal reduces your hunger by 10 percent.

crab cakes

Crab cakes are delicious nutritious and not often on the everyday menu. By making it an appetizer during the holidays you are getting it into the diet of your family or guests who never eat them. It is sure to be a healthy satisfying surprise. Since it is an appetizer if some members of your family or guests do not want crab cakes for various reasons they simply do not have to eat them as they will not be deprived of their normal holiday fare.

A crab cake served with chill sauce has about 300 calories, 800 mgs of sodium and 16 grams of fat.

Beef skewers or beef kabobs

Many diet conscientious hosts are now serving vegetable kabobs which are wonderful especially if there are vegans on the guest list. But why not save a few to make with beef? This way you have something for everyone on your list. These beef kabobs are great with onions and other vegetables, grilled with BBG sauce, a bit of soy sauce and garlic.

A quarter pound of these lean beef skewers will be about 130 calories, 803 mgs of sodium and about 5 grams of fat.

Stuffed mushroom appetizers

Are you looking for a holiday appetizer that will replace the ever so fattening stuffed baked potato or stuffed potato skins? Why not try stuffed mushrooms. They are nutritious and filling. A mushroom skin filled with mushroom and low fat cheese and bread crumbs has less than 50 calories each. You can eat as many a six and still have kept your intake down to about 300 calories.

Shrimp cocktail

What is a holiday appetizer without wonderful shrimp cocktail? Shrimp cocktail contains omega 3 fatty acids which promotes a healthy heart. Make sure your sauce is a tomato based sauce to keep the calorie count down. A serving of shrimp cocktail is about 120 calories, 670 mgs of sodium and only 1 gram of fat.

Good old fashion vegetable soup

We all know that soup will curb the appetite allowing you to eat less during a meal. This vegetable soup is low on calories and helps keep the pounds off. However, not all soups are non-fattening. You have to stay away from soups that have a creamy base. Therefore, go with a hearty vegetable soup with a tomato base. A serving of 12 ounces of vegetable soup will only add 150 calories to your meal and help you to eat less of the main course. Who could ask for anything more?

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Instead of the fried chicken wings keep the calories down by enjoying a spicy chicken wrap. You can even make them at home. Make sure you bake the spicy chicken and skin it before adding it to your wrap with lettuce and vegetables. In fact skip the bread and have the lettuce leaf as your wrap. The wrap is delicious and is only 160 calories.


This is an Asian delight. They look like peas in a pod. And they are delicious. The pods contain soybeans. There is 122 calories per serving.

Sliced assortment of peppers with salsa sauce

If you want to stay away from the fattening chips and salsa you can still get your salsa craving addressed by slicing up an assortment of peppers and dipping them into the salsa. It is delicious and healthy for you as well. This little delight is under 50 calories.

Foods that remove stress

How do foods relieve stress?

Certain foods will decrease the levels of adrenaline and cortisone which are stress hormones found in the body. Certain foods can increase serotonin levels and produce a calming effect. Stress busting foods can reduce high blood pressure and build up your immune system.

Here are some foods known to relieve stress that can be eaten anytime of the year; not just during the holiday.

Omega 3 fatty foods continued

Pistachio nuts are a great source of omega 3. other nuts such as walnuts, and almonds are a great source of these acids. They make great party appetizers for the holiday season. Not only do these nuts reduce stress, reduce inflammation of the arteries to the heart, they protect you from the risk of diabetes, and help lower your cholesterol levels.


Avocados also reduce your blood pressure. A half of avocado contains more potassium than a medium sized banana. Guacamole can also be a great alternative for fattening appetizers and reduce your cravings for sweets especially during the holiday season.

All photos taken from the public domain

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Avocados, Cheeseburger Sliders, Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Chicken Wings, Crab Cakes, Edamame, Fried Calamari, Fried Mozzerella Sticks, Healthy Appetizers, New England Clam Chowder, Onion Rings, Potato Skins, Shrimp Cocktails, Spinach Salad, Stress Busters, Stuffed Mushrooms, Unhealthy Appetizers, Vegetable Dips, Vegetable Soup

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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author avatar Kingwell
8th Sep 2015 (#)

Thanks for some great tips. Blessings.

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author avatar snerfu
9th Sep 2015 (#)

Nice reading about all those lovely food makes me hungry. Nice article, got to watch out for the salt.

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author avatar Helen Thomas
9th Sep 2015 (#)

~ Carol .
Thanks for sharing these really great tips ~ Carol.

Richest blessings.

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author avatar peachpurple
9th Sep 2015 (#)

These are the foods rhat i used to love but i don't eat much now due to my gallbladder

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
9th Sep 2015 (#)

Carol, excellent article! Thank you for sharing it. I love the holidays and you picked a good time to write this article. I'm amazed at the work you must have done to write this article. I was not familiar with the word poutine. Thank you for teaching me something new. I've never been one for sauces or dips but I do love greek yogurt. Last night for a side dish I made broccoli, carrots and cauliflower. It was really good. My favorite vegetables are mixed vegetables and my favorite plain vegetable is zucchini. I could eat it everyday for ever. Thanks for sharing the calorie count of the food items you list.

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author avatar Carol Roach
9th Sep 2015 (#)

yes poutine originated here in Quebec, but many states in the us now have it too.

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
9th Sep 2015 (#)

I don't go out to restaurants much and I'm wondering if poutine is on the menu.

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