The Best and Worst of Holiday Appetizers


November marks the beginning of the holiday parties and the opportunities to eat food are endless.  During such a social time with friends and family, it’s important to allow for some flexibility in enjoying foods that you love.

In order to maintain your weight instead of gain weight, we recommend following the “80/20 Rule”. This means that 80% of the time you follow a clean eating meal plan, and 20% of the time you indulge in small, enjoyable treats.

While enjoying extra food and drink this time of year, we’ll help you navigate some of the best AND the worst foods you’ll find on the holiday buffet table.


The Good.  Plain, raw nuts are nutritious and provide healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals that are good for your heart

The Bad. Nuts contain a high percentage of fat. At holiday parties, you might even find sugar-coated nuts, which can be even higher in calories. It’s hard to stop at eating only an ounce and portion control is key to enjoying this appetizer.

2.Bacon-Wrapped Figs. 

The Good. Oh, my. Just the mention of these sweet and salty delectable bites are enough to get anyone’s mouth watering.  Dried figs, while higher in sugar content than fresh figs, are still rich in fiber and important minerals that can help lower your blood pressure.

The Bad. The bacon, of course, which can add a lot of calories and cholesterol if you eat too many of these bad boys.

3.Spinach Dip.

The Good. The spinach, which is a great source of calcium, antioxidants and minerals.

The Bad. Except when you load it up with rich mayo and cheese, which adds a ton of saturated fat and calories your waistline and heart doesn’t need.

4.Shrimp Cocktail.

The Good. Shrimp in itself is a great source of protein and Omega-3s.

The Bad. Loading it up with high-fructose syrup cocktail sauce pretty much negates any health benefits it can have.

5.Frozen Appetizers.

The Good. Who doesn’t love their share of pizza rolls, egg rolls, and other puff pastry-filled goodies?

The Bad. These processed foods are often overloaded with sodium, sugar, fat and cholesterol.

Of course, even knowing the nutritional value of your favorite party foods still doesn’t mean that they’re not hard to resist.  The best thing to do is remember not to go to a party feeling hungry.  Enjoy a small handful of almonds, a healthy protein shake, or 2 tbsp of hummus and veggies prior to going to dinner.  When you do arrive, have a game plan when you do walk up to a holiday buffet.  Limit your alcohol intake to just a few ounces so that you won’t be tempted to overindulge on snacks.  And then only indulge in a few appetizers on your plate, instead of going back for seconds or thirds.  Following these helpful tips will help you enjoy the party, yet also help keep overeating and that bloated feeling you get afterwards to a minimum.