As more people become conscious of the need to improve their general state of health, the idea of healthy party food has gained more attention. Traditionally, party foods are simple foods loaded with fat, cholesterol and carbohydrates. For people who are using diet to control diabetes, lower cholesterol levels, or prevent clogging the arteries, the buffet table at a party can be a dangerous place. Healthy party food can include nuts and seeds, hummus and bread, fruits and vegetables, and even sandwiches made with healthy ingredients.
Not all party food has to be fried or loaded with saturated fats. In fact, one healthy party food does not have to be cooked at all and contains only unsaturated fat. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts are excellent options for the healthy buffet table. They provide a fair amount of nutrients, are less likely to raise bad cholesterol levels and will digest with ease. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are also great options. Go for the unsalted versions for an even healthier approach.
Many dips common to parties contain a lot of fat and carbohydrates, making them off limits to people who are mindful of specific health issues. Instead of bean dip, make a batch of hummus instead. The basic recipe calls for chick peas and a splash of lemon juice. If an oil is preferred instead of the lemon juice, go for a relatively heart healthy option such as olive oil or peanut oil. Add spices such as garlic powder, salt, and a little pepper and blend all the ingredients in a food processor. Instead of corn or tortilla chips, serve the hummus with toasted triangles of whole grain bread and celery sticks. Garnish the presentation with some black olives and the hummus will be very appealing.
Cut fruits and vegetables also serve as healthy finger foods. Create a platter composed of red and green grapes, slices of oranges, apple slices dipped in lemon juice and fresh slices of kiwi. Compliment the fruit platter with a companion vegetable platter loaded with carrot sticks, sections of celery, broccoli florets, cherry tomatoes and cauliflower sections. If you feel you must include a dip of some kind with the platters, opt for a low fat sour cream base and use a packet of onion soup mix to create an onion dip that is lower in fat and carbs than most commercial brands.
There is no need to leave healthy appetizers like finger sandwiches off your list of healthy party food ideas. To give them a health food feel, use whole grain bread or a darker bread such as pumpernickel. The carbohydrates are less likely to cause blood sugar spikes and will also be much tastier than bleached breads. For the fillers, make your own pimento cheese spread by grating low fat sharp cheese and mixing it with an olive oil based mayonnaise and chopped pimento. Cucumber sandwiches are another option, with the filler being nothing more than chopped cucumber mixed with a little low fat mayonnaise.
Healthy foods do not have to be boring or less satisfying than standard party food fare. While different, going with healthy snacks is an opportunity to introduce new tastes and combinations to people, making it possible for them to still enjoy the party and the food without suspending their healthy diet for the evening. With a little imagination, many of the finger foods served at parties can be transformed into healthy party food by simply using low fat and low carbohydrate alternative ingredients. While this may mean some experimentation ahead of time, the end results may prove to be even more pleasing than the traditional recipes.