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Are you ready for some healthy appetizers?

It’s nearly the end of the holiday season or as I like to call it; the season of sugar, butter and cream cheese.

Now, I don’t know about you but I feel like I need a detox cleanse right about now. We have one more party week before we repent but let’s start the transition now.

Here are some healthy, yet inexpensive, appetizer ideas that won’t get you labeled the “healthy” friend (rolls eyes) but will leave you feeling virtuous and practically guilt free.

The secret to great appetizers is a balance of textures and bold flavors. Crispy, chewy, creamy, salty, sweet and sour.

If you plan a hearty meal, serve light appetizers and vice versa. Don’t duplicate flavors.

For example, if you’re serving cream based pasta for dinner, don’t serve creamy dip as an appetizer. If you’re serving only appetizers for your party mix it up with a variety of different flavors, colors, textures and temperatures.

When it comes to healthy; if you make it, they will eat it. Serve crudities with dip and watch the veggies disappear. Add a spin with pickled veggies. To make easy pickled carrots place a saucepan on medium heat, bring half cup each white vinegar and sugar to a simmer. Add clove or nutmeg if you wish. When sugar is dissolved, add half pound thinly sliced carrots. Bring back to boil and turn off heat. Allow to cool and refrigerate overnight.

Next, let’s replace the crackers and chips with garlic toasts.

If you’re not sure why just look at the ingredients of a box of crackers. Thinly slice a loaf of French bread or a baguette and brush with a little olive oil.

You can poach garlic cloves in the oil before brushing or just sprinkle with a little garlic powder.

Bake in the oven at 400 until golden brown and crisp. Or replace the crackers and toast all together. Slices of cucumbers or zucchini are wonderful vehicles for tasty toppers.

Replace creamy cheese dips and spreads with salsa and bean based dips like hummus. I hear people who dip their crackers and veggies into hummus and salsa still have a good time.

Make healthy ranch dip by blending cottage cheese and a bit of ranch dressing in a food processor.

For an easy topping or dip make garlicky bean dip. Blend one can drained and rinsed cannellini or great northern beans in a small food processor with one clove garlic or garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste and one tablespoon olive oil until smooth.

Thinly sliced deli meats are affordable if you use them sparingly. One half pound will make 24 appetizers. Try roast beef with a dollop of creamy horseradish or turkey with cranberry sauce.

Whatever you choose I hope the New Year finds you like these appetizers – happy and healthy.

Frugal Festivity by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! www.divasonadime.com Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.

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