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11 Healthy Party Appetizers

Ditch the Fat, Not the Fun!
  -- By Stepfanie Romine, Staff Writer
Did you know that overindulging on the weekends can lead to a weight gain of nine pounds a year? To stay on track and still have fun with friends and family, serve some of these healthier party foods. (Click on each appetizer for a wide selection of healthy recipe options.)

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Bruschetta (45 calories; 2 g fat per piece): Traditionally, this starter is made with thin slices of toasted bread rubbed with garlic and topped with tomato and basil. Get whole wheat or multigrain baguettes from the bakery. Have them slice the bread for you—they'll be thinner and more uniform.

Smoked salmon mousse (75 calories; 3 g fat per serving): In a food processor, mix 6 ounces smoked salmon with light cream cheese, some dill, lemon zest and juice, and a handful of capers. Mix until creamy, then spread on sliced baguettes and top with a thin slice of English cucumber.

Salsa (50-75 calories a cup): Jarred or homemade, spicy or mild, this is a no-fail appetizer. Serve it with baked or whole-grain chips, vegetables or pita chips.

Guacamole (75-80 calories;, 7 g fat per 1/4 cup serving): These dips are full of filling and heart-healthy fats! Increase your vegetable intake by adding extra chopped tomato, onion and bell pepper, plus cucumber.

Shrimp cocktail (10 calories; 0 g fat per shrimp with a tsp of cocktail sauce): Shrimp is lean, and each one has 1 gram of filling protein. Protein takes longer to digest and keeps you fuller, longer. <pagebreak>

Hummus (50 calories; 3 g fat per 2 tablespoons): Chickpeas are filling, thanks to the protein and fiber in them. Make a simple dip at home with a couple of cans of drained and rinsed chickpeas. Add juice from a lemon, a couple of roasted red peppers and a clove of garlic. Mix in a food processor until creamy.

Baba Ghanoush (70 calories; 2 g fat per serving): Halve an eggplant and spritz with olive oil, then roast at 425 degrees until the flesh is charred and tender, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool, then scrape flesh into a bowl, mix with lemon juice and a couple of cloves of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil.

Chicken kabobs (30 calories; 0 g fat; 6.5 g protein per ounce of chicken): This is a great alternative to meatballs! Toss chicken chunks in a light marinade, then broil until crispy and cooked through. Serve on toothpicks. Thread 1 ounce strips of chicken onto skewers cut in half. Serve with peanut sauce, low-sodium teriyaki or even light ranch dressing. <pagebreak>

Air-popped Popcorn (just 30 calories per serving): Popcorn is a whole grain, and 1 cup of is low in calories for such a large volume of food. Spritz with nonstick spray, then sprinkle on oregano, black pepper and parmesan cheese.

Fruit and cheese (115 calories; 7 g fat in one ounce of cheddar cheese): Skip the crackers and serve cheese with fruit instead. Cheese is full of calcium and protein, and the fruit helps bring out its flavor. Swap low-fat for full-fat cheese and remember that one serving of cheese is about as big as a pair of dice.

Deviled eggs (65 calories; 3 g fat per half-egg serving): Halve the mayo in the recipe to save calories and fat. These are another filling, healthy treat. Instead of your typical filling, try hummus, salsa, or even that smoked salmon mousse. It sounds strange, but it will look gourmet!