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Now that Thanksgiving season is winding down, in many people's eyes, it's officially Christmastime! While we've still got a good few weeks to go before the holiday hits, a lot of Christmas gatherings take place before groups of coworkers or friends begin to head off to their respective homes for the holidays, so it's probably not too early to start adjusting your weight-loss game-plan to accommodate the changing season.

Unfortunately, Christmas food can be can be high in calorieshigh-calorie food, especially when it comes to your typical appetizers. If you don't snack wisely, you could easily take in a few hundred calories before you've even made it to your main course!

You may have to contend with bacon-wrapped poppers, refined-sugar sliders, and overly cheesy crackers all before you've even finished cocktail hour. Plus, just because there are some veggies in spinach dip doesn't mean it's a smart choice: almost 90 percent of the calories in a typical version come from fat!

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Yet there is a smarter way to do starters. The three recipes below bear enough resemblance to your party foods that no one will suspect they're really "diet" food. After all, who doesn't like meatballs, quiche, or chicken fingers?

Meanwhile, chicken, eggs, and beef all can give you a powerful protein punch that might actually hold you over until dinner time, as opposed to an addictive MSG-draped chip that might leave you glued to the snack table.

Instead of using sugar or fat to create a mediocre flavor, our appetizers are packed with metabolism-boosting ingredients like hot sauce, lemon juice, and some of the best spices around!

We've also swapped unwieldy and oily breading for our trusty Melba toast, and given veggies their due by incorporating tomatoes and onions into our quiche.

Other fun and crowd-friendly healthy options are our healthy tzatiki, our shrimp cocktail, or our crab cakes. Plus, you can never go wrong with a good old veggie tray!

Buffalo Style Chicken Fingers

buffalo chicken fingers

This red-hot recipe is ready to roll! Estimated nutritional value of 152 calories, 3.3 g fat, 64 mg cholesterol, 5.7 g carbohydrates, .7 g fiber, 22.5 protein, and 1.7 g sugar

Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook time
20 minutes
Yield
Makes 1 serving (1 protein, 1 Melba toast)

Ingredients

  • 100 grams of chicken cut into long thin strips
  • Melba toast crushed (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce (Franks red hot sauce works the best for this recipe)
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions
Marinate chicken strips in lemon juice and salt. Coat chicken strips with Melba crumbs. Fry in frying pan until lightly browned and cooked thoroughly. Toss with hot sauce and black pepper to taste. Serve as finger food or as an entrée, perhaps with raw celery sticks or desired vegetable. Garnish with parsley.

Recipe provided by



123Diet Meatballs

meatballs

Looking for an appetizer idea? Meet these meatballs! Estimated nutritional value (per meatball) of 100 calories, 2.9 g fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 7.1 g carbohydrates, .7 g fiber, 10.9 protein, and .2 g sugar.

Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook time
30 minutes
Yield
Makes about 3 medium meatballs

Ingredients

  • 100 grams lean ground beef
  • 1 serving Melba toast crumbs
  • Dash of onion powder
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon minced onion
  • 1 clove garlic crushed and minced
  • Pinch of cumin
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Make meatballs by mixing ground beef, Melba crumbs, finely diced onion, garlic, powdered spices and chopped cilantro. Cook for at least 30 minutes. If desired, serve with our marinara sauce.

Recipe provided by

123Diet Quiche

123Diet Quiche

Estimated nutritional value of 73 calories, .4 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 6.5 g carbohydrates, 1.9 g fiber, 11 g protein, and 4.2 g sugar.

Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook time
15 minutes
Yield
Makes 3 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 egg whites beaten
  • 3 chopped tomatoes
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • Seasoning of your choice

Directions
Beat all ingredients together, pop in a muffin tray, and bake at 180 for 15 minutes.

Recipe provided by

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