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Appetizers Can Add Flavor Without Adding Calories
We love appetizers - those tasty bites that get a great meal going. At a restaurant, I can make an entire meal of appetizers. I have fond memories of dinner parties past where lavish appetizers were enjoyed. In the present, at home, or when a guest at a home dinner party, I seldom see them served. It's a shame, too - they are fun to serve and especially to eat, whether served at the table as the first course, or handed around with beverages before dinner.
Part of the reason is the trend to keep the calories low and to make the meal healthier. Perhaps we can change this and instead of thinking of the appetizer course as excess, think of it as another component of a healthy menu. Having a small appetizer or two takes the edge off hunger and can help you control your appetite when the meal is served, so think positively.
Some appetizer tips:
- If you serve a dip, rather than usimg sour cream, use fat free Greek style yogurt, which is thicker and creamier than regular yogurt.
- Be creative when you arrange your tray of raw vegetables. A few different selections could include seeded jalapeno peppers halved lengthwise, cherry tomatoes speared on a toothpick with a leaf of fresh basil, slices of fresh cucumber sprinkled with fresh dill, or mini kebabs of different colored bell pepper squares.
- Skip the crusts on dishes quiche and instead use a crustless recipe
- Avoid the crackers and find creative ways to provide crunch and a base for spreads. The small leaves from the heart of romaine lettuce work well, as do leaves of Belgian endive. Whole wheat pita or tortilla triangles are also a good alternative to crackers.
- Think about the nutritional aspect of the food. Healthy doesn't mean boring.
Until now, adding appetizers to your menu meant adding too many calories. It doesn't have to be so. We've selected some recipes, all submitted by Calorie Count members using the Recipe Analyzer. We hope you will try them soon.
- Mini Florentine Cups - dainty cups of thin sliced deli ham cradle a tasty spinach and cheese filling.
- Cucumber Dip - very low in calories - you'll never miss them in this creamy, dill flavored dip.
- Smoked Salmon and Caper Rolls - use low fat or fat free cream cheese to make these delicious little rolls even lower in calories and fat.