On a sweltering summer day a hot grilled burger can make you uncomfortable, but chilled cocktail shrimp can be a viable party snack option. The shrimp are high in protein, and definitely low in fat and calories, making them a well-balanced festive food. They also contain zinc, which promotes a strong immune system. A few shrimp won’t hurt.
Summer barbeques are nothing without juicy grilled chicken thighs and drumsticks. Although dark meat gets a bad rep for being fatty, it’s still a great source of protein. Dark meat contains myoglobin, a compound with iron found in muscle cells, while white meat has none. It also has more zinc and B vitamins. Still not convinced? Stick to skinless opportunities and options less drenched in sauce or breading. No need to skip those delicious kebabs or wings.
The avocado dip is a summer shindig staple. Even though guacamole is paired with crispy chips, this party snack is actually a healthy option. Guacamole is filled with good fats and beta-sitosterol, which can help decrease levels of bad cholesterol. Be sure to limit your chip-munching and guac is an excellent dip choice.
Dips can fill you with fear because many are creamy and dairy-based, making them certified calorie traps. Salsa, a popular party dip, is quite the opposite. Not only is the spicy dip low in calories, it is replete with fiber and vitamins A and B. Let salsa bring heat to the summer event.
Our parents always told us to eat our veggies, but staring down at that platter of raw carrots, broccoli and celery is a little intimidating because there are bowls of thick dips, too. We know the veggies are good for us, because they are filled with carotenoids, vitamin A, and other nutrients. But what about that dip? Studies show that adding some fat to veggies helps the body soak up the vegetables’ nutrients. Dip away!
Sure, a sushi date is incomplete without edamame, but now the steamed soybeans are often found at parties, too. The green pods offer many pluses like protein, a ton of fiber, and vitamins A and C, but they’re also a substantial source of iron. Just make sure that your host doesn’t over-salt the edamame and you are in for a perfect celebration snack.
When popcorn is spotted at a party, thoughts of movie theater popcorn drenched in fake butter and inordinate amounts of salt immediately come to mind. Good thing that cinema treat is not the only kind of popcorn around — the airy snack can actually be good for you. Air-popped popcorn is light on calories and a blank canvas for a variety of flavors (not just butter-flavored grease). The crunchy delight is high in fiber and antioxidants. Popcorn doesn’t just have to be devoured in the dark of the movies.
We hear about nuts being high in fat, but these party munchies are actually rich in monounsaturated fat, making them a heart-healthy choice. Magnesium and vitamin E are hiding in almonds. Though raw, unsalted, or even lightly salted varieties are best, festive roasted nuts with seasonings are a healthy flavorful superfood, suitable for any bash.
Hot summer days absolutely require refreshing fruit salads. Although fruits have sugar, they also pack a ton of advantages ranging from vitamins to hydration. Different kinds of fruits offer different benefits, from the antioxidants in blueberries to vitamin C in oranges, strawberries can even make you happy. Fruit salads can even appease those cravings for something sweet at the next warm weather celebration.
We all eye that cheese plate decorated with crunchy grapes or crisp apples, but dread the calories. Cheese and fruit bring calcium along with a dose of vitamin C for an immunity boost from the fruit. A few chunks of Cheddar cheese have about 120mg of calcium, but add up in fat and calories. Note that hard cheeses have more calcium and calories than soft varieties. So don’t shy away from that cheese plate at the next gathering.
It’s true, deviled eggs don’t have the best reputation, but somehow they are still party fixtures. Despite what you have heard about deviled eggs being high in fat and cholesterol, they do have nutritional benefits. You are ingesting B vitamins, vitamin A and vitamin K, and about six grams of protein when chowing down on that deviled egg. Each deviled egg has just a little bit of mayo, but a high percentage of recommended cholesterol, so remember, everything in moderation.
Potato salad is definitely a summer thing. Because of the heavy dressings, we try to avoid the popular party snack, but potatoes do in fact pack a nutritional punch. A medium potato only has 165 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein. Not only that, potatoes contain 10 percent of your daily serving of iron and a whopping 70 percent of your daily vitamin C needs! Maybe next year your host can lighten up on the mayo.
Italian restaurants use bruschetta as an amuse-bouche, but party hosts use it as a crowd pleaser. Though the bread is not nutritious, the tomatoes and olive oil help with disease prevention. Not only do the tomatoes contain antioxidants that ward off cancer and heart disease, the healthy fats in the olive oil help your body absorb the nutrients in the tomatoes. At first glance bruschetta might seem like a risky choice, but the benefits outweigh the bad.
Melty cheese always raises a red flag, but who can really resist a black bean quesadilla at that summer get-together? Forgoing the extra sour cream and opting for salsa makes this protein-filled appetizer less unhealthy than you think. Beans are rich in fiber and protein, helping you to stay full longer and maybe even skip that extra party snack.
Whoever said that all sweet things are bad for you was terribly mistaken, because this summer favorite has some admirable qualities making it a dessert that is actually good for you. Maybe rich ice cream at the end of the barbeque is not the right party choice, but protein-packed frozen yogurt has a similar effect with more nutritional value and less fat and calories. We all scream for froyo…? Maybe we should!