The holidays can be a stressing time for all of us- from non-stop parties to endless gift shopping and family members that make your blood boil. If your blood pressure tends to rise at this time of year, don't be worried! There are all kinds of healthy recipes to protect your heart and steady your blood pressure.
Stuffed Peppers Aren't Just For Dinner Anymore
Here, we've taken mini sweet peppers, cut them in half, and piped them full of soft cheese mixed with herbs and fresh veggies.
- For the Cheese: use neufchâtel, fat free cream cheese, fat free sour cream, part-skim ricotta, or my favorite, goat cheese!!
- For the Herbs: use mixes of either garlic-pepper-onion, cumin-paprika-garlic, or any good low-sodium spice mix (Mrs Dash has some good ones), zest of lemon, lime, or orange
- Throw in a veggie to make your Dietitian proud: use finely minced garlic, jalapeño peppers, chives, or green onion for a bit of zing!
It is a a cheesy, easy, healthy appetizer ideal for snacking, and each bite-sized pepper is surprisingly satisfying, low in carbohydrates, and low in sodium! (By the way, fresh or dried herbs both work wonderfully to infuse the cheese.)
Dip It the Smarter Way
Swap the usual chickpeas with soybeans for this spicy and smoky hummus recipe. Since fiber-rich edamame is fairly flavor-neutral, garlic, ginger, parsley, and lemon zest give this fresh and healthy appetizer it's flavor boost. Pair the dip with veggies or pita chips, or use as a layer inside mini snack-size sandwiches.
Serve Fruited Crostini for Festive Color
You don't need to reinvent the wheel, here. Here we sliced up a thin baguette, and topped with a soft, creamy cheese (like the cheese in the peppers recipe above) and fresh fruits. My mother loves to take frozen berries, boil them with a little lemon or orange zest, and top her toast with this instead of fresh fruit. It's an appetizer at nearly every Christmas, and takes only 15 minutes to make. Make some crostini that are either savory, or sweet, or both! For a Christmas colored appetizer table, we pair sweet red fruits with some savory green herbs like thyme or mint.