Ways to Prepare Cholesterol-Friendly Appetizers

Elena Elisseeva, istockphoto

When you’re planning for a party, appetizers are usually a hit. Not only are many of them easy to prepare, appetizers can always fit in to any party theme – whether you are attending a small gathering or a larger affair. Although appetizers are small and may look innocent enough, they can add up – heaping calories on top of what you’ve already eaten during the day. Additionally, some of these appetizers can also contain hidden fat and sugar, which could affect your lipid levels.

This article will show you the ins and outs of preparing healthy appetizers if you are trying to watch your cholesterol levels.

You Can Never Go Wrong with Veggies

Vegetables fit into any healthy diet – and there are ways to convert plain veggies into a tasty appetizer that everyone will rave about. Vegetables can be served by themselves or paired with other ingredients. If you decide to serve your vegetables with other foods, you should make sure that they are paired with other cholesterol-friendly ingredients – such as nuts, whole grains, or legumes. Some ingredients - such as creams, bacon, and cheeses - can add extra fat to your diet, so they should be limited. You can also use a low-fat variation of these products, which can be found in your grocery store.

Healthy Appetizers with Lean Meats

Finger foods made up of meat are also commonly served appetizers. If you decide to serve appetizers like this, you should make sure that you use lean meats – such as poultry or fish – instead of meats high in saturated fat, which would include red meat and ham.

Additionally, use of processed meats, including hot dogs, bologna, and salami should also be minimized – if not avoided – due to their high fat content in comparison to other meats. Alternatively, you could also use soy products, such as tofu, to add some protein to your dish – without the added fat.

When preparing your meaty appetizers, you should make sure that you do not deep-fry them, as this could introduce saturated and trans fats to the food. Instead, try grilling, broiling, roasting or baking your meat to avoid adding extra fat. Experimenting with spices is also a great way to enhance the taste of meat without adding extra calories. The following recipes are good examples of heart-healthy appetizers consisting of primarily meat:

  • Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Roll-Ups

Filling Mini-Wraps and Finger Sandwiches

Bite-sized sandwiches, tarts, and wraps are also a crowd pleaser. Not only are they filling, you can switch these up to include a variety of healthy ingredients that everyone will enjoy. Despite how easy it is to make these sandwich-like delights – it is also easy to accidently add high-fat ingredients to them. You can reduce the fat and cholesterol in these appetizers with the following healthy tips:

  • Use whole grain or whole wheat flat breads for your wraps, tarts, or sandwiches, instead of using white breads which may contain refined sugars. In some cases, you can use a lean meat or lettuce instead of the bread – especially if you are preparing wraps.
  • Leafy greens are a low-fat way to create bulk to your wraps and sandwiches, without adding excess calories. Greens such as arugula, romaine lettuce, kale, and spinach can be paired with practically any food.
  • Watch your condiments. Some condiments, such as mayonnaise and dressing, are high in fat and should be used sparingly on these foods. You can use low-fat forms of these condiments, or you can substitute them with a condiment that is not high in saturated fat and sugar, such as Mustard, Tabasco sauce, and horseradish.

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