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What are Some Healthy Party Food Ideas?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated Feb 25, 2024
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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.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGEEK, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

By anon121879 — On Oct 25, 2010

good for you for encouraging us to offer up healthy fair! Plain yogurt is also a great substitute for sour cream in recipes. It is healthy and great for digestion, as well!

By anon121637 — On Oct 25, 2010

The article is a reminder to party goers, where anybody thinking about mindful eating and the party makers can use healthy food ingredients now available from the market, such as gluten free, sodium free/less,

lactose free, caffeine free, Sulphate free,No MSG, Omega-3, sugar free, rBST free, carb free, antioxidants -- the list is long, food products. This will help all kinds of sick people to attend and enjoy their food with real peace of mind and body. --Unichrish

By anon121554 — On Oct 25, 2010

Nix the low fat stuff! Low fat equals high carb! Not healthy!

By abiane — On Sep 24, 2010

This article is right on when it talks about using spices. Spices are a great way to create easy party food recipes in no time. Super bowl food can get a little pricey and cliche, but you can spice that up, too.

By baileybear — On Sep 24, 2010

@WalrusTusk - That is so funny! I used to be one of "those" kids. Birthday party food is so easy. For kids, dips are very enticing, but you should make them with reduced fat sour cream and stuff like that. You can also invest in the more expensive baked chips. Baking is a great way to reduce the saturated fat on things like french fries and such. Just really be aware of what you're picking out when you're shopping for the party.

By WalrusTusk — On Sep 24, 2010

@baileybear - Do you know any easy kids recipes for birthdays and such? I have always wanted to have healthy party food for my kids, but they never seem to want to eat it. I have an "analyzer," you know the type of kid that says, "What's in this? What's that? What does it take like" and then smells and licks it before eating it...?

By baileybear — On Sep 24, 2010

@anon62368 - I think variety is the spice of life so this article is definitely helpful. I like to try my hand at healthy kids party food - it really surprises the parents that their child will eat everything, but refuse to eat healthy at home. I think it just has to deal with the environment.

By anon62368 — On Jan 26, 2010

i think you have a wide selection of foods so i'm going to say brilliant.

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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