Take Back Your Appetizers

There is just something about appetizers.  Often saved for special occasions or more decadent meals, appetizers are often overlooked in the day-to-day rush of meals.  We think it’s time for that to change.  Not only can they be a smart way to keep extreme hunger (and overeating) at bay, but appetizers can also be a delicious way to add more nutrition to your diet when enjoyed in moderation. 

Take back appetizers with these tips for ordering crowd-pleasing choices at restaurants:

  • Fruits and Veggies First – Appetizers that focus on fruits and veggies (paired with lean protein and whole grains) are often higher in nutrition and lower in calories.  Opt for choices that are fresh, grilled or steamed, NOT fried.  Many restaurants are now incorporating seasonal produce into the appetizer menu to serve up even more flavor.
  • Herbs and Spices for Flavor – Whether it’s a fresh leaf of basil, a sprinkle of paprika or a chili sauce drizzle, herbs and spices can elevate the flavor of an appetizer without adding too many extra calories.  Opt for choices that use fresh herbs or spices and request sauces on the side to add as needed.
  • Embrace the unexpected – Venture into foodie territory by ordering appetizers that marry flavors and textures in the most unexpected ways.  Creamy and crunchy, fruity and spicy, savory and sweet, you name it, and restaurants are creating it. 

Appetizers shouldn’t just be saved for restaurants.  Make every day a little more special, delicious and nutritious with simple appetizers at home.  Fruits and Veggies More Matters blogger Janet Skibicki recently rounded up some tempting and healthy appetizer recipes that make the most of fresh produce.  Who wouldn’t want more veggies in his or her diet with appetizers like these?

Sweet Potato Avocado Bites – 100 percent vegan with spices like cumin, smoked paprika and fresh lime juice for smoky sweet flavor, fiber and healthy fats.

Tomato Mozzarella Salad with Balsamic Reduction – This recipe is a top pick for using summer produce at the height of its flavor combining juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella and the tang of sweet balsamic vinegar.

Cucumber Avocado Rolls – Cucumbers are a cool and low-calorie choice, abundant during the warmer months; pair deliciously with the creamy guacamole-like spread. 

Find these and more veggie-rich healthy appetizer recipes on Fruits and Veggies More Matters.

Next time you eat out, enjoy a dietitian-recommended Healthy Dining appetizer like these at your favorite local restaurant: