5 Vegetable Based Appetizers to Kick off Memorial Day

Load Up on These Guiltless Appetizers

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It's a holiday weekend, which means you probably have some barbecues and parties lined up. If you have diabetes, pre diabetes or are just trying to watch your weight, its a good idea to have a game plan for the weekend. The good news is that if you are hosting, you have more control over what is being served and will be less tempted to deviate from your plan. But, if you are not hosting, you can always bring something that you know will be good for you to eat.

And here's an additional helpful tip - avoid overeating on appetizers before the meal even begins. 

Appetizers, or finger foods, are the types of foods that can pack on the calories, fat and carbohydrates quickly without even realizing it. A great way to keep calories and carbohydrates at bay is to make the base of your appetizer (the main ingredient) a non-starchy vegetable. Non-starchy vegetables add volume, vitamins, minerals and fiber to meals without excess calories, fat, sugar and carbohydrates. They are the one food you can really fill up on without impacting your blood sugars. 

Check out these 5 simple vegetable based recipes that are colorful, nutritious, delicious, and low in carbohydrate:

Roasted Eggplant Salad: Appetizers don't have to be just chips and dip. Starting your meal with a salad can help you to eat less at your main meal. This recipe uses walnuts, a nut rich in omega-3 fatty acids (heart-healthy fat).

 Research has shown that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and may benefit those with Type 2 diabetes, especially those with elevated triglycerides. This recipe is simple and delicious. If you don't like feta cheese, substitute for goat cheese or Parmesan.

Guacamole Tomatoes: The main ingredient in guacamole is avocado, which contains monounsaturated fat. Studies have shown that diets rich in monounsaturated fat can have favorable effects on cholesterol. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene which may increase HDL (healthy cholesterol) and reduceLDL (bad cholesterol). Not only is this recipe healthy, it's delicious and low in carbohydrates.

Kale Chips: A guilt free substitution to potato or tortilla chips, kale chips are rich in vitamins, minerals and low in calories, fat, and carbohydrates. Admittedly, they don't taste anything like real chips, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. If kale chips are something you always wanted to try, get started with this recipe. If you are following a sodium restricted diet, avoid adding salt and add additional herbs and spices instead like garlic powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, etc.

Artichoke Caviar With Endive Leaves: This recipe is chock full of vegetables which makes it colorful, flavorful, and nutrient rich.

The endive leaves serve as a substitution for chips or bread. Its tangy, crispy and fresh.

Broccoli Salad With Peanut DressingThis sweet and spicy recipe can make for a perfect appetizer or side dish. Broccoli is rich in fiber and crunch which makes it filling and satisfying. Using peanut dressing eliminates the saturated fat found in creamy dressings and adds heart healthy fat. 

Looking for more low-carb party foods? Check out these vegetables based dips, apps with nuts and shrimp, and other simple and delicious recipe ideas. 


Linus Pauling Institute. Carotenoids. Accessed on-line. May 22, 2015: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/phytochemicals/carotenoids/

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