11 Healthy Christmas Snacks and Appetizers

The holidays may be a much-needed time to time to relax, but in the days leading up to Christmas, it seems we’re always busier than ever. Between shopping, gift wrapping, and holiday events, the end of the year is often packed with innumerable tasks and stressors. Is it any wonder we need a little extra fuel to get through December’s waning days?

When you’re looking for snacks and appetizers to power the hustle and bustle of the season, the last thing you want to do is load up on empty calories or lots of sugar. Instead, check out these 11 better-for-you snack and starter choices. Full of healthy ingredients and light on calories, they’ll keep you going strong up until (and even after) you cross the Christmas finish line.

5-Minute Spinach Dip

5 Minute Spinach Dip

nicolebranan / E+ / Getty Images

Not everyone may claim they love spinach, but it’s a rare individual who doesn’t enjoy a creamy, savory spinach dip. A batch of the stuff is a classic choice for dipping baguette slices, crudités, or crackers. 

For a pleasing holiday starter, try this easy-peasy five minute spinach dip from Verywell Fit. Not only does it contain just a handful of ingredients, it takes mere minutes to prepare. Plus, this dip boasts significant vitamin K, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate content from its leafy greens and extra protein from Greek yogurt—all at just 20 calories per two-tablespoon serving.

Holiday Spiced Pecans

Holiday Spiced Pecans

The Real Food Dietitians

When unexpected visitors drop by during the holiday season, it’s always smart to have a little something on hand for everyone to nibble. These holiday spiced pecans from The Real Food Dietitians are a simple, but delicious snack that will keep for days in an airtight container—meaning you can pull them out any time the doorbell rings. They also make a great gift or stocking stuffer.

Spread a layer of spiced, maple syrup-infused pecans on a baking sheet, bake 10 to 15 minutes, and wrap in colorful bags. 

Peppery Parmesan Oat Crackers

Peppery Parmesan Oat Crackers

Patsy Catsos, MS, RDN, LD

Sure, you can always buy crackers at the grocery store, but making them yourself lets you control the ingredient list. (Plus, homemade crackers are so much more unique for entertaining!)

Peppery parmesan oat crackers from Verywell Fit start with an unexpected grain base of oats, then add Mediterranean flair with fresh rosemary, parmesan, and heart-healthy olive oil. A serving of four crackers provides just 68 calories and 1 gram of fiber, and is naturally gluten-free if you use gluten-free oats.

Serve these crunchy DIY snacks with meats, cheeses, and olives as part of a charcuterie board or use them as a vehicle for any favorite holiday dip.

5-Ingredient Snack Balls

5 Ingredient Snack Balls

Real Mom Nutrition

To slash kids’ hunger after outdoor playtime or give yourself a little sweet treat during the afternoon slump, try these five ingredient snack balls from Real Mom Nutrition. With a lightning-fast ingredient list and no-cook prep, they come together in a snap.

This recipe may also introduce you to a food you might not have tried before: sunflower seed butter. For families with peanut allergies, this spread (with a similar taste and texture to peanut butter) can be a lifesaver. Don’t have sunflower butter on hand? Simply substitute any other nut butter.

Healthier Deviled Eggs

deviled eggs with paprika

bhofack2 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Eggs are a compact protein powerhouse. Six grams of the macro lie beneath each shell. Stock up on protein (without a whole lot of calories) in these healthier deviled eggs from Verywell Fit. Dill relish, mustard, and hot sauce add flavor while keeping things on the lighter side. Munch on these for a light lunch, a low-calorie app, or a low-sugar mid-morning snack.

Want to get extra creative? Mix things up by adding a slice of smoked salmon, a sprig of fresh dill, or a bit of spicy sriracha.

Vegan Crispy Tofu Spring Rolls With Peanut-Tamarind Dipping Sauce

Vegan Crispy Tofu Spring Rolls

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Those who think they don’t like tofu may have simply never had it prepared in an appetizing way—such as these vegan crispy tofu spring rolls with peanut-tamarind dipping sauce from Serious Eats. Press excess liquid out of the tofu prior to cooking to ensure a crispy texture, then toss sautéed tofu with veggies in a spicy peanut sauce. Now comes the fun part: Roll the mixture up into springy, see-through rice paper wrappers.

Cheese-Free Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Cheese-Free Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

How do you make quesadillas without cheese? It’s not as hard as you might think! Creamy mashed sweet potatoes mimic the texture (and even the color) of cheddar in these cheese-free sweet potato "quesadillas" from Serious Eats”—while jalapenos, cilantro, and green onions add a pleasant kick to the mix.

These crispy-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside wedges are equally at home as a snack or in the middle of a holiday appetizer spread.

1-Minute Tuscan White Bean and Sun-Dried Tomato Dip

1 Minute Tuscan White Bean and Sun-dried Tomato Dip

Craving Something Healthy

Hummus is a healthy, convenient snack—but eating the plain variety all the time can get old. Spice up your bean dip game with a mixture of white beans, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, and basil in this 1-minute Tuscan white bean and sun-dried tomato dip from Craving Something Healthy.

If fresh basil is in short supply due to the season, use dried basil at a ratio of 1:3. Whip in the food processor for 60 seconds and you’ve got a low-cal, fiber-rich spread perfect for snacking.

White Chocolate Macadamia Energy Bars

White Chocolate Macadamia Energy Bars

The Spruce / Miri Rotkovitz

Who couldn’t use a burst of extra energy? (And when that burst includes white chocolate and macadamia nuts, who can say no?) White chocolate macadamia energy bars from The Spruce Eats are a baked blend of surprisingly healthy ingredients.

To make them, you’ll combine oats, dates, crispy rice cereal, almond butter, and a few other staples, pop in the oven, and bake. Soon you’ll have a better-than-store-bought bar you can toss into your purse or gym bag on busy days. They’ll fuel your December workouts or holiday errands with slow-digesting complex carbs and a hint of sweetness.

Low-Sodium Garlic Parmesan Popcorn

Low Sodium Garlic Parmesan Popcorn

Kaleigh McMordie, MCN, RDN, LD

A bowl of popcorn is practically a requirement for any Christmas movie marathon. Try munching on this low-sodium garlic parmesan popcorn from Verywell Fit during a viewing of favorite holiday flicks. It’s full of whole grains and fresh, aromatic garlic—with none of the unhealthy oils.

DIY Stuffed Grape Leaves

DIY Stuffed Grape Leaves

​The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

You may think of stuffed grape leaves as a delicacy unique to Mediterranean restaurants—but they’re actually quite easy to make at home. Grape leaves can often be found at your local Middle Eastern market (or even at some mainstream grocery stores) and make an extremely low-calorie wrapper for all kinds of savory fillings.

These DIY stuffed grape leaves from The Spruce Eats roll tender green leaves around a stuffing of herbed rice, onions, and garlic. Allow one or two to whet your appetite before a holiday feast.

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