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45 Healthy Holiday Appetizers

Look no further for healthy holiday appetizers that all your friends and family will love. They're even Santa-approved!

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Marinated Cheese

This special appetizer always makes it to our neighborhood parties and is the first to disappear at the buffet table. It's attractive, delicious—and easy! —Laurie Casper, Coraopolis, Pennsylvania
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Simple Salmon Dip

This is my go-to dip recipe for summer barbecues. The secret is the green chiles—they add just enough heat. —Susan Jordan, Denver, Colorado
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Festive Turkey Meatballs

Turkey gives a different twist to these slightly sweet and spicy meatballs. For the holidays, I serve them on a tray lined with parsley and garnished with red pepper or pimientos. —Audrey Thibodeau, Gilbert, Arizona
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Nutty Stuffed Mushrooms

Basil, Parmesan cheese and mushroom blend together well, while buttery pecans give these treats a surprising crunch. Our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren always ask for them! —Mildred Eldred, Union City, Michigan
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Oysters Rockefeller

My husband and I are oyster farmers, and this classic Oysters Rockefeller dish always delights our guests. It's deliciously simple! —Beth Walton, Eastham, Massachusetts
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Santa Deviled Eggs

I love creating special deviled eggs for parties. These little Santas are easier to make than they look, and everyone raves over them. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado
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Marinated Shrimp and Olives

This are my favorite party appetizers to serve guests. The flavors in this colorful dish blend beautifully, and the shrimp are tender and tasty.—Carol Gawronski, Lake Wales, Florida
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Pomegranate Pistachio Crostini

Pomegranate seeds intrigue me, so I sliced French bread, smeared it with cream cheese, and added seeds, pistachios and chocolate. —Elisabeth Larsen, Pleasant Grove, Utah
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Cranberry Cream Cheese Spread

This festive dip is a snap to make, taking only 10 minutes from start to finish. Thanks to its hint of sweetness, both kids and adults will gobble it up. —Frankie Robinson, Lockhart, Texas
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Festive Guacamole Appetizers

For ages, my brother’s family and I have gotten together on Christmas Eve, and we always eat Christmas snacks while we open our presents. This Tex-Mex spin on classic appetizer pizza is one we have again and again. —Laurie Pester, Colstrip, Montana
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Cucumber Party Sandwiches

This is one of my favorite appetizers. We have lots of pig roasts here in Kentucky, and these small sandwiches are perfect to serve while the pig is roasting. —Rebecca Rose, Mount Washington, Kentucky
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Caprese Salad Kabobs

Trade in the usual veggie party platter for these fun kabobs. I often make it for my family to snack on, and it’s a great recipe for the kids to help make. —Christine Mitchell, Glendora, California
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Marinated Olive & Cheese Ring

We love to make meals into celebrations, and antipasto always kicks off the party for Italian dinners. This one is almost too pretty to eat, especially when sprinkled with pimientos, fresh basil and parsley. —Patricia Harmon, Baden, Pennsylvania
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Zesty Marinated Shrimp

These easy shrimp look impressive on a buffet table and taste even better! The zesty sauce has a wonderful spicy citrus flavor. I especially like this recipe because I can prepare it ahead of time. —Mary Jane Guest, Alamosa, Colorado
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Garlic Garbanzo Bean Spread

My friends and family always ask me to make it. I guarantee you’ll be asked for the recipe. —Lisa Moore, North Syracuse, New York
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Cheese/Grape Appetizers

These small bites are well worth the time they take. Serve them as part of an antipasto platter or as a cheese course alongside your favorite wine. —Eleanor Grofvert, Kalamazoo, Michigan
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Mom's Vegetable Dip

This is one dip my mother brought along to potluck dinners and made when guests came over. Every time I make it I am reminded of her and her love of cooking. —Jill Olofson, Woodbury, Minnesota
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Salmon Mousse Canapes

It’s so easy to top crunchy cucumber slices with a smooth and creamy salmon filling. Guests rave about the fun presentation, contrasting textures and refreshing flavor. —Barb Templin, Norwood, Minnesota
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Brandy & Date Cheese Ball Pops

For a fun and different presentation for cheese balls, try my cheese pops. The brandy and dates add a sweetness, while the almonds and bacon add a complementary crunch.—Ginger Kohutek, Weslaco, Texas
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Gorgonzola Polenta Bites

I needed a brand-new appetizer for a big party. I covered polenta with Gorgonzola and a tangy sauce. That’s how you spread holiday cheer. —Margee Berry, White Salmon, Washington
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Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade

When entertaining, I often rely on my pepper tapenade recipe because these appetizers only take 15 minutes to whip up and pop in the fridge. Sometimes I swap out the almonds for walnuts or pecans. —Donna Magliaro, Denville, New Jersey
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Layered Shrimp Dip

People's eyes light up when I set this special snack on the table. Layered Shrimp Dip has a terrific combination of flavors and looks so pretty. Once folks start dipping, they can't seem to stop. —Sue Broyles, Cherokee, Texas
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Herb-Roasted Olives & Tomatoes

Eat these roasted veggies with a crunchy baguette or a couple of cheeses. You can also double, or triple, the amounts and have leftovers to toss with spaghetti the next day. —Anndrea Bailey, Huntington Beach, California
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Sweet Potato Pot Stickers

I added a Southern twist to pot stickers. The ginger-flavored sweet potatoes are a surprising filling, but are oh so savory and delicious. —Mary Marlowe Leverette, Columbia, South Carolina
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Mild Tomato Salsa

I got this salsa recipe from my sister, and my children and I have been making batches of it ever since. We pair pint jars with packages of tortilla chips for zesty, yet savory Christmas food gifts. When the kids give this tasty gift to the teachers, they can truthfully say they helped make it. —Pamela Lundstrum, Bird Island, Minnesota
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Baked Crab Dip

We enjoyed this exquisite crab dip at my grandson’s wedding reception. It looks fancy but is easy to make. You can even fill the bread bowl early in the day and chill it until serving. Just remove it from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. —Marie Shelley, Exeter, Missouri
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Roasted Grape Crostini

A trip to Spain introduced me to its culinary treasures, like Manchego cheese and sherry. This appetizer always impresses folks who’ve never tasted roasted grapes. They're amazing. —Janice Elder, Charlotte, North Carolina
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Shrimp Cakes with Spicy Aioli Sauce

I made these for our staff Christmas party last year; they were such a hit that I was flooded with requests for the recipe the next day. Throughout the year, whenever I needed favors done at school, people gladly helped as long as I promised to bring them shrimp cakes! This year’s Christmas party is coming up, and I’m already being asked if I am bringing the shrimp cakes—I guess I am! —Linda Zilar, Kennewick, Washington
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Sesame Chicken Bites

These bites have been a party favorite at our house for many years. You can make the sauce the night before to make day-of prep even easier. —Kathy Green, Layton, New Jersey
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Roasted Brussels Sprouts & 3-Cheese Crostini

Brussels sprouts for a snack? Oh, yes. Combine these roasted goodies with cheese for the ultimate toast topper. —Athena Russell, Greenville, South Carolina
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Artichoke Caprese Platter

I dressed up the classic Italian trio of mozzarella, tomatoes and basil with marinated artichokes. It looks so yummy on a pretty platter set out on a buffet. Using fresh mozzarella is the key to its great taste. —Margaret Wilson, San Bernardino, California
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Brussels Sprouts with Garlic & Goat Cheese

I wanted to up my veggie game, so I smothered Brussels sprouts with garlic and goat cheese. It’s really a side dish, but I love to eat it for lunch! —Brenda Williams, Santa Maria, California
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Parmesan Ranch Popcorn

Whether you need a quick gift idea or yummy munchies for movie night, we’ve got you covered with this cheesy twist on regular popped popcorn. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Layered Hummus Dip

My love for Greece inspired this fast, easy Mediterranean dip. It is fabulous for parties and a delicious way to include garden-fresh veggies on your menu. —Cheryl Snavely, Hagerstown, Maryland
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Chicken Crescent Wreath

Here’s an impressive-looking dish that’s a snap to prepare. Even when my cooking time is limited, I can still serve this delicious crescent wreath. The red pepper and green broccoli add a festive touch. —Marlene Denissen, St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin
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Spicy Shrimp Salsa

Radishes add a wonderful crunch to this colorful salsa that is also great over grilled fish. There’s just enough jalapeno to give flavor without much of the heat. —Mary Beth Relyea, Canastota, New York
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Dill Vegetable Dip

A friend gave me this zesty dip recipe many years ago, and now I serve it at our annual holiday open house. To make it mobile, spoon a serving of the dip in the bottom of a small cup, then garnish with fresh veggies. —Karen Gardiner, Eutaw, Alabama
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Caramel Apple and Brie Skewers

I'm a caterer, and this is one of my best-selling appetizers. The shortcut of using prepared caramel makes these little apple skewers a snap to assemble. —Camille Ellis, Tampa, Florida
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Cannellini Bean Hummus

My version of hummus features a delightful nuttiness from tahini, a peanut butter-like paste made from ground sesame seeds. The beans pack a lot of protein so it’s a healthy snack for kids. —Marina Castle Kelley, Canyon Country, California
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Cheesy Snack Mix

Our love for Mexican food inspired me to make party mix with taco seasoning. The flavor is so mild that it’s even kid friendly. —Elizabeth Wynne, Aztec, New Mexico
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Sesame Chicken Dip

I can’t tell you how many times I’m asked to bring this easy dip to holidays, birthday parties or girls’ weekend getaways. It’s fresh and light, and it has the Asian flavors that make it stand out. The rice crackers are a must! —Dawn Schutte, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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Christmas Cheese Balls

Christmas at our house just wouldn’t be complete without these rich cheese balls. Friends and family ask for them every year-and I can make three gifts from just one recipe. —Margie Cadwell, Eastman, Georgia
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Greek Deli Kabobs

For an easy Mediterranean-style appetizer, marinate broccoli and mozzarella, then skewer with sweet red peppers and salami. Everybody loves food on a stick! —Vikki Spengler, Ocala, Florida
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Cucumber-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

Besides being tasty, these little tomato poppers are extra awesome because you can make them ahead of time. At parties, I often triple the recipe because they disappear fast. —Christi Martin, Elko, Nevada
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Mediterranean Layered Dip

This quick and easy dip begins with purchased hummus. It's then flavored with the Mediterranean flavors of feta cheese, olives and lemon. —Patterson Watkins, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Christina Manian, RDN
Christina Manian is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist based out of Boulder, Colorado. Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, she has been involved with the nutrition departments of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston Medical Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Mass General Hospital. She completed her nutrition education at the Mayo Clinic with a focus on medical nutrition therapy and most recently practiced clinical nutrition at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. While her background has largely been in the clinical setting, Christina embraces and is shifting her focus towards wellness nutrition as the backbone to optimum health.
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