6 Nutritious Snacks to Nosh on This Holiday Season

Holiday parties and Christmas get-togethers are filled with great company, good cheer, and plenty of food. Unfortunately, most party fare isn’t diet friendly and can quickly cause you to pack on holiday pounds — but there’s no need to spend the holiday worrying about weight gain. Instead, prepare party snacks that are chock-full of nutritious and filling ingredients. Whether you’re looking for a dish to serve while your family opens presents or want a snack to take with you to your next party, these six recipes will help you spread healthy holiday cheer.

Source: iStock

1. Apricot Canapes

Eating Well’s Apricot Canapes are both sweet and savory and will prevent you from snacking on too many unhealthy dishes during the holiday season. Interestingly, a Demand Media article via SFGate writes that eating unhealthy, even for a short period of time, can have negative consequences, including poor brain function, weight gain, heartburn, poor sleep, and moodiness. The recipe yields 16 pieces; each has 64 calories, 4 grams of fat, 7 grams of carbohydrates, and 20 milligrams of sodium.

Ingredients:

  • 16 dried apricots
  • 8 teaspoons crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 ounces chopped shelled pistachios
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions: Top each apricots with ½ teaspoon cheese. Sprinkle with pistachios and drizzle with honey; sprinkle with pepper.

Source: iStock

2. Roasted Edamame

Canyon Ranch’s recipe via Health has the perfect balance of carbs, protein, and fiber, ensuring you have a healthy and filling snack to munch on during holiday parties. Web MD notes that one half-cup serving of edamame, which are boiled green soybeans, contains 9 grams of fiber, 11 grams of protein, and 10% of the recommended daily value for vitamin C and iron.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound frozen shelled edamame, thawed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1½ teaspoons olive oil
  • Cooking spray

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss edamame with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Roast on a lightly sprayed baking sheet for 50 to 60 minutes or until golden brown.

Source: iStock

3. Caesar Dip for Crudites

Looking for a way to eat fewer sweets and more vegetables during the holidays? Prepare Family Circle’s Caesar Dip, which pairs perfectly with crudites such as carrots, peppers, zucchini, radishes, string beans, broccoli, and cauliflower. The recipe yields 2½ cups, with each serving containing 34 calories, 3 grams of fat, 1 gram of carbs, and 157 milligrams of sodium.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound creamy cottage cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ teaspoons garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon liquid hot-pepper sauce
  • ½ teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 12 cups cut-up raw vegetables

Directions: Puree cottage cheese, Parmesan, lemon juice, Worcestershire, garlic salt, salt, black pepper, hot-pepper sauce, and anchovy paste in food processor, about 2 minutes. Gradually add oil and process 1 minute. Serve with raw vegetables.

Source: iStock

4. Spiced Nuts

Walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and almonds are all nutritious options to use in this Food Network dish; Livestrong explains that in addition to having a lovely nutty flavor, hazelnuts contain vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, and healthy fats. The recipe yields 16 servings, with each containing 224 calories, 20 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, and 147 milligrams of sodium.

Ingredients:

  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups unsalted mixed nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and almonds
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions: Heat the nuts in a dry skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to toast, about 4 minutes. Add the butter and cook, stirring, until the nuts begin to darken, about 1 minute. Add the spices, the sugar, 1 tablespoon water, and the salt and cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens and the nuts are glazed, about 5 minutes. Remove the nuts from the heat and transfer to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, separating them with a fork. Let the nuts stand until cooled and the sugar has hardened, about 10 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

Source: iStock

5. Date, Walnut, and Blue Cheese Ball

Party fare often includes cheese dishes that are loaded with fat and calories. Cooking Light offers a healthier alternative by using non-fat buttermilk, reduced-fat cream cheese, and healthy ingredients, such as dates and walnuts, to prepare this snack. The recipe yields 14 servings; each has 78 calories, 4.8 grams of fat, 5.3 grams of carbs, and 229 milligrams of sodium.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 tablespoon nonfat buttermilk
  • 5 ounces fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 3 ounces ⅓-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons minced pitted Medjool dates (2 to 3 dates)
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2½ tablespoons finely chopped walnuts, toasted

Directions: Place first four ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 2 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Add dates, shallots, lemon rind, salt, and pepper; beat at medium speed until well blended, scraping sides of bowl as necessary. Spoon cheese mixture onto a large sheet of plastic wrap.

Form into a ball, using a rubber spatula. Wrap cheese ball in plastic wrap; chill overnight. Combine parsley and walnuts in a shallow dish. Unwrap cheese ball; gently roll in nut mixture, coating well. Place on a serving plate. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Source: iStock

6. Sweet and Spicy Snack Mix

Shape gives snack mix a healthy makeover by using reduced-fat pretzels and a zero-calorie sweetener. The recipe yields 16 servings, and each contains 135 calories, 5 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, and 208 milligrams of sodium.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups crispy rice cereal squares
  • 2 cups toasted O-shaped cereal
  • 2 cups small reduced-fat pretzels
  • 1 cup oyster crackers
  • 1 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 egg white
  • ½ cup no-calorie sweetener, granulated
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon ground red pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine first 5 salty snack ingredients in a large bowl. Beat egg white until foamy; stir in sweetener, Worcestershire sauce, and red pepper. Pour over salty snack mixture, tossing to coat. Spray a 15-by-10-inch jellyroll pan with cooking spray; spread snack mix in a single layer in pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Cool.

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