With Christmas around the corner, the party season will soon be in full flow and this can only mean one thing – canapés. The small appetisers come in all shapes and sizes and will either be the warm-up act for a meal, or the accompaniment to some drinks (and the main meal themselves!). So, if you are hosting a party of your own, or heading to one over the festive period, here are some healthy canapé swaps you can try.

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The mini-sandwich swap

There are lots of alternatives to mini sandwiches that can be healthy, tasty and low in calories. The first option is to swap out the bread as the vehicle for the filling, using things such as a mini gem lettuce cups, celery sticks or even slices of cucumber instead. These can be topped with turkey and cranberry, or cottage cheese, smoked salmon and a little bit of dill for a festive treat. Not only are these easy to eat finger foods, but, because they don’t contain any bread, they will also be lower in calories and gluten free too. Another option could be to use wraps or mini rye bread squares, which are both going to be better for the digestive system than toasted white bread.

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Stick with a twist

Get creative with your skewers, combining cherry tomatoes with a little ball of Buffalo’s mozzarella and topped with basil leaves for a Bocconcini brochette. Not only will these leave your guests wanting for more, but they will also contain less saturated fat and salt than a sausage on a stick. Additionally, they are more nutritionally positive ingredients, with vitamins in the tomatoes and a reduced amount of lactose in buffalo’s milk in comparison to cow’s, which could be better for some guests’ digestive systems.

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Break out the baked vegetables…

No drinks reception is complete without a bowl of crisps and nuts. Reduce the salt and fat contents by switching out the shop-bought variety and instead try baking vegetables such as beetroot, sweet potato, kale, or soybeans and pumpkin seeds instead of salted peanuts. Sprinkle over a classic combination of sea salt and cracked pepper, or some chilli flakes and a squeeze of lime for a fiery kick this festive season. These alternatives are also packed full of vitamins and minerals, such as the vitamin E found in pumpkin seeds, which will help with dry skin in the cold weather. Try this dressed baked kale chips recipe.

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…and the cold ones too!

Where there are crisps, you usually won’t have to search very hard for dips. But, in keeping with the theme of food swaps, instead of tortilla chips, you could put on a platter of crudités (green pepper, carrot sticks and mange tout are just some ideas to name a few) and dips. You could also try blitzing up your own beetroot hummus.

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A sweet swap to finish

Put down the profiteroles, miss out the mince pies and give chocolate brownie balls a go in their place. Made using raw cacao and dates, they contain no added sugar and have minerals like iron and magnesium in them rather than the processed sugar, which will help to support your immune system over the stressful Christmas period. To make them extra festive and gain some extra brownie points from your guests, drizzle with natural yoghurt or icing sugar and finish with some fake holly leaves to make them resemble mini Christmas puddings.

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