Ten healthier ways to do Christmas canapes

We all know how it feels. Christmas is here, the parties have started, yet you just can’t hold yourself back from all those festive nibbles.

So when it comes to party food, here are some top tips you can follow to keep you from turning into the Christmas Pudding. I just hope I can do the same.

Happy Christmas.

1. Antipasti – look to Italy for the tastiest and healthiest nibbles, try fussy eater’s aubergine rolls, sun blush tomatoes or ricotta stuffed peppers as well as olives and almonds. Brilliant for vegetarians too.

2. Dates in bacon – not so good if you’re avoiding meat or fat, but this canapé effortlessly combines sweet and salty flavours, plus it lacks any gluten or dairy.

3. Vegetables and dips – if you’re going to be standing right next to the buffet whilst waxing lyrical, make sure it’s next to the crudités and the dips, not the sausage rolls. Although you may well overdose on hummous, the celery and carrot sticks will help keep your digestion on track. Try to stick to less creamy dips too like salsa to keep the fat intake lower.

4. Wholemeal breads – if you can manage gluten, try to look for (or serve) wholemeal breads and flatbreads. They offer more taste and are digested more slowly so you and your guests won’t get a sugar spike, although this doesn’t take into account how much alcohol you’ve taken in.

5. Prawns – as long as you’re not feeding the five thousand, prawns are a cost effective and filling way to serve up some lip smacking, healthy hors d’oeuvres. Try serving cooked and chilled large king prawns with an Asian style dipping sauce. You could also add vegetables like mini sweetcorn, mangetout and sliced red pepper to the platter for extra colour and crunch. Try this delicious sounding recipe from Kim McCosker.

6. Won tons. The rice versions of these can be bought online or at Oriental supermarkets and are gluten free. They can be filled with meat or vegetables and make a great winter canapé, especially when served hot and steamed (not fried). Try fillings like shitake mushroom or tofu with ginger, garlic and coriander. For meat eaters go for prawn and pork with finely chopped spring onion and chilli.

7. Onion bhajis are usually gluten free as they’re traditionally made using gram, or chick pea flour. Most supermarkets stock them too but make sure you check the labels.

8. BYO. A much loved stipulation of the student party, savvy fussy eaters can use this concept to full advantage. Call your host pre party and offer to bring along a canapé to help them so you can tailor it to your own needs. A word of warning - make sure you’re there when the host brings it out otherwise you may miss out on your own special treat.

9. Let the pastry pass you by. Even if it’s reducing five mince pies to four, or four sausage rolls to two. And so on. If you’re going to three parties this will make a big difference. Also anyone following a fussy eating diet will need to watch out for pastry. Not only does it usually contain gluten, its fat and sometimes egg content can mean it’s a disaster for the dairy free community.

10. Keep on running. Even if you do overindulge (which let’s face it most of us will) any exercise you do over the festive season will help your body to digest and detox, helping to reinvigorate both body and mind.


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