Who doesn’t love foods that can be dipped? My toddler usually demands something to dip into at every meal. He would very much approve of all the suggestions in this post.
Most finger food buffets start with the obligatory tray of veggies and fruit. They are easy to make and even quicker to grab already assembled. This week local grocery store delis will probably have cute – ehm, very masculine – football shaped trays of pre-cut items that you can just uncover and serve. If they come with a dip, toss it. I know how hard it is to waste food but don’t think about it as food, it is more like the bag of giblets. Imagine the container of dip is a cold slimy sack filled with stale chicken innards, make a face, and quickly drop it into the trash. Whew! Now grab some low or non-fat yogurt or sour cream, mix in a scoop of dill and a couple dashes of garlic powder, let it chill for at least 30 minutes, and serve it up. Another good mix-in is a packet of powdered ranch dressing and maybe a squeeze of lemon. You may never want the deli version again.
Salsa is a go to dip in the healthy eating world. There are tons of styles to choose from so it can be fun to put out a few different kinds. To make a creamy salsa dip stir or blend in a couple tablespoons of non-fat plain yogurt or sour cream. When it comes to salsa the real question is what to dip into it…?
Pretzels are a nice low fat crunchy snack and a serving of regular flavored sticks or mini twists come in just over 100 calories, depending on the brand.
A fun twist on standard pretzels are Pretzel Crisps. Eleven Crisps are around 110 calories, they come in various flavors, and are a little more chip like in texture. My favorite flavor is Everything.
Of course the most obvious partner for salsa is tortilla chips. They can start to add up in the calorie department but it’s okay to eat some chips, just pay attention to the serving size. I am a fan of whole grain tortilla chips, their heartier texture and fuller flavor makes them a more satisfying choice of chip. These can also be a little better bang for your nutritional buck depending on the chip you pick. Make sure to read the labels; not all whole grain or natural tortilla chips are more healthy but they are marketed to look that way. Try the Food Should Taste Good brand, I like the Jalapeño, Lime, Olive, Sweet Potato and Multigrain – truthfully I have yet to try the others but you probably can’t go wrong! Baked tortilla chips are lower in calories and fat but I feel like baked tortilla chips are a bit of a downer on a snack table. Bottom line – choose the chips you enjoy and eat mindfully.
Another easy grab and go dipper is a shrimp tray. Buy them already assembled or pick up the shrimp from the fish counter. According to eatshrimp.com there are 83 calories and 1 grams of fat per 3 oz serving of shrimp. I don’t know about you but I think this might be the best dipper on the list. Not only is it a low fat and calorie choice but it has 18 grams of lean protein and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Topped it with a squeeze of citrus and a side of cocktail sauce shrimp is the skinniest dipper at the party!
Finally, let’s make something for the guests who just don’t want to eat any of that dumb healthy stuff. I really like how easy it is to whip up this creamy and gooey Hot Spinach-Artichoke Dip. You have my full permission to sit back smugly while your nay sayers obliviously dig in.
- 1TB light butter
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 10 oz. chopped frozen spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
- 8 oz. can of water chestnuts, sliced, drained and coarsely chopped
- 14 oz. canned artichoke hearts, without oil, quartered, drained and coarsely chopped
- 8 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
- 8 oz. reduced-fat sour cream
- 1 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 tsp hot pepper sauce
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 spray cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 5 minutes or until tender. Add spinach, water chestnuts, and artichokes; saute 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, sour cream, 1/2 cup of Cheddar cheese, hot sauce, salt and pepper.
- Spoon into an 11×17-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with remaining 1/2 cup of Cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve with baked tortilla chips* Yields about 1/4 cup dip at 2 Points Plus per serving of dip (chips should be counted separately).
When served hot this is so creamy and indulgent it will feel completely sinful to eat. I’ll leave it up to you to let your guests in on the secret or not. On game day this Sunday or for any other party I hope all my readers will be ready to serve some dip and eat it too!
Have a favorite lightened up dipper or dip? Share it in the comments!
*Weight Watchers suggests baked tortilla chips but I prefer low fat crackers or Pretzel Crisps with this dip.