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Explore nutrition tips, kids’ meal plans, kids’ activities, recipes and more from pediatric nutritionist, Melissa Halas, MA, RDN, CDE.

Super Quick and Healthy Holiday Appetizers

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Super Quick and Healthy Holiday Appetizers

Try these healthy holiday appetizers that can be made in little time and are sure to please anyone who tries them!

The holiday festivities have begun! We are here to help you spend less time stressing about what to make for your family or small gathering, and more time enjoying healthy food and the company of your family and friends! Keep reading for tons of quick holiday appetizer ideas.

Herbed String Beans

Use several bags of prewashed string beans, microwave until tender in a bag or with silicone cover, then add herbs, salt, and pepper to taste. Arrange on a white dish for a festive looking plate. They’ll be packed with phytonutrients from the rich green color.

Red, White, and Green Caprese Salad

Use precut logs of fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and several sliced beefsteak tomatoes. Combine everything together in a bowl, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and add some freshly ground black pepper. Or, for an easy-to-grab twist to this appetizer, buy small mozzarella balls, cherry tomatoes, and small pieces of basil, and arrange onto large, plastic toothpicks. You can even make this easy homemade pesto with any leftover basil!

what can kids cook at certain agesQuick Holiday Arugula Salad

This dish can be whipped together in seconds, literally! Ready, set, go…Open a bag of prewashed arugula, sprinkle in some pre-shaved parmesan, squeeze in some fresh Meyer lemon juice, add a drizzle of olive oil, toss together, and voila! Add pomegranate seeds for an extra splash of holiday color. Kids can easily make this salad! See our Super Crew guide on cooking by age to get your kids more involved in the kitchen. Or set up a holiday activity station to keep them busy why you cook!

Seasoned Mushroom Sauté

Cremini mushrooms, also known as baby portabellas, don’t even have to be cut! To make this savory appetizer, simply clean your cremini’s and place them in a pan with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, soy sauce, and if so desired your favorite herbs. Then, sauté them up!

Roasted Rainbow Carrots

Have the kids scrub and peel the carrots. Show them how to use the vegetable peeler safely. While you are all cooking together play some holiday songs, that you can act out later in a family game of charades! Or buy prewashed tri-colored carrots, then roast them up with a little olive oil and a mix of other veggies for a nutrient-rich, Christmassy colored appetizer. For more rainbow carrot recipe inspiration, look on the back of the carrot bag.

Healthy Holiday Greek Yogurt Dip

This dip looks beautiful with prewashed crinkled carrots, red bell peppers, and any uncooked leftover green beans you didn’t use in the herbed string bean recipe, above.  To make this healthy dip, combine the following in a bowl:

  • 1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons sweetener of choice (try sugar, honey, maple syrup, or agave)
  • 2 teaspoons acid (such as lemon juice, white vinegar, or apple cider)
  • 1 teaspoon flavored mustard (spicy mustard Dijon or honey mustard)
  • 1 teaspoon combo of your favorite herbs and spices (we love smoked paprika, cumin, and chili-lime seasoning)

Not sure what to do with leftover dip? Whisk in some olive oil to make a fantastic dressing. Here are many more ways you can use any remaining plain Greek yogurt to reduce waste!

Mini-Chicken Burgers

For this family-pleasing appetizer, prepare mini-chicken burgers ahead of time using ground, lean, organic chicken breast. Chop up the seasoned mushroom mixture above and add it into patties. Use about 1 cup of mushroom mixture for each pound of meat. Make extra and freeze them with a small square of wax paper between each patty. Then place in a plastic bag, carefully squeezing out the air to prevent freezer burn. Get the full recipe in my new cookbook with over 100 tasty recipes!

Want to go meatless? Give these quinoa black bean burgers a try instead. You can freeze your patties for extended storage time. Then, when that holiday party comes up, thaw and cook up your pre-made patties, place a toothpick in the center of each burger, and arrange it on a platter with a variety of colorful veggies.

mom and daughter washing brussels sprouts for healthy holiday appetizer

Grilled Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts definitely have a bad rep, but give them another chance with this recipe, which will not leave you with the over-cooked, bitter Brussels of yesteryear! Simply cut your brussels sprouts in half and cook them up on a grill pan with a little vegetable oil. Once they’re fully cooked, top with cranberries and walnuts or your choice of nuts. Get the kids involved in washing them!

Mini Chicken Fajita Pizzas

To make these fun healthy holiday appetizers, start with two whole-grain or corn tortillas. Top with grilled chicken, light or low-fat cheese, your favorite Mexican spices, and a low sodium salsa. Add a dollop of non-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream for a taste elevation! Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted, then use a pizza cutter to slice up your mini fajita pizzas!

Holiday Potato Towers

Mashed potatoes are a classic holiday dish, but potatoes can be just as delicious (and even more healthy!) when made into these fun potato towers. Get the kids involved, too- they’ll love helping out with this one! Want a break from potatoes? Give polenta a try. Get the kids involved in making these tasty polenta bites, a Super Crew recipe nutrition recipe activity easy polenta chips with the Super Crew

Bowl of Clementine’s

Wintertime means it’s clementine season, and these little gems are absolutely bursting with flavor! Clementine’s are also a rich source of vitamin C, which is important for keeping your immune system strong! Toss some whole clementine’s into a bowl and set out on the table, or pre-peel some for even easier snacking.

Healthier Cheese Platter

whole grain crackers with different toppings for healthy holiday appetizers kids can make

Add some nutritious twists to your cheese platter by using whole-grain crackers and thinly sliced cheese. You can delegate your kids to cut up the cheese slices. Then, arrange on a platter with roasted glass jar peppers & olives for an antipasti mix!  Let the kids create their own healthy cracker appetizer -just set a limit to how many and when or if needed give some suggestions.

More Tasty Healthy Holiday Appetizer Ideas

Still looking for more tasty ideas try serving up:

Give the kids a few options to choose from and make these fun healthy holiday appetizers together.

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About the Author

Picture of Melissa Halas, MA, RD, CDE

Melissa Halas, MA, RD, CDE

Melissa is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with a master's in nutrition education. She is the founder of SuperKids Nutrition Inc. Read more about her Super Crew children’s books and her experience as a registered dietitian on the About Melissa and Shop page. Discover how nutrition can help you live your best health potential through her plant-based books and newsletter on Melissa’s Healthy Living.

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