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Christmas Day Appetizers for Special Needs

I need appetizers for a crowd that includes at least one diabetic, an older gentleman that last year had a quadruple bypass, and a hyperglycemic! Others that are very health conscious. So, I've been told no sugar, no fat, and no salt:( I still want the food to be tasty and up to my usual standards! I need a plan. No formal meal just snacks a socializing!

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  1. Make your normal fare, and when someone complains, make sure everyone sees you cutting up an apple, putting it on a plate, and walking away. That, plus celery.

    1 Reply
    1. How strict is the "no salt" rule? It's going to be pretty hard to make much that is tasty with no salt at all....

      Here are a couple of ideas, though.

      Thai turkey wraps. I got the recipe from Chowhound, but it's basically ground turkey that is sauteed with chopped green onions, then soy sauce, fish sauce, some hot pepper flakes (or chopped chiles), and lime juice is added. Once most of the liquid evaporates, it's ready to serve. Serve on crisp Romaine lettuce leaves, with Thai basil, cilantro, chopped chiles, and freshly roasted peanuts for topping. Good either hot or at room temp.

      You can make a decent spinach dip with fat-free strained Greek-style yogurt (although it's really better with lowfat yougurt), and serve that with veggies (our preferred way to eat spinach dip), or with a good pumperknickel round (pull the bread out of the center, fill with spinach dip, and use the rest of the bread for dipping).

      You can make a fruit tray with a yogurt dipping sauce. Again, use strained Greek yogurt, and mix with strawberry preserves (get the kind labeled no-sugar to meet that requirement).

      Hope this helps....

      6 Replies
      1. re: Niki in Dayton

        Alas, both soy and fish sauces are relatively high in sodium. I do think fruit and/or vegetables are the way to go. Many homemade dips can be made with fat-free or low fat subs; they don't taste the same, but you have the trade-off of chemicals in them. Maybe just plain vegetables and salsas? Also, how about making your own pita and/or tortilla chips?

        1. re: lemons

          Do all the appetizers have to be fat, sugar, and salt-free? Can't there be some with salt that are fat free, others with sugar, etc? I don't think anyone at a party expects to be able to eat everything, but they want to have a decent selection. I think people should be satisfied if they have a few selections each.

          1. re: queencru

            Excellent question. Why should all the people attending be required to stick to the combined food requirements of a few?

            Perhaps you could ask each special attendee what their preferred appetizer/finger food would be. If you make a small amount for each of them, I would imagine they would be more than grateful for the special acknowledgement of their needs. That also frees you up to make greater quantities of appetizers for the rest of the group.

            If I couldn't have sugar, salt, or fat...well, just shoot me now!

        2. re: Niki in Dayton

          I am already in love with greek yogurt. So, that definitely will be on the menu!

          1. re: dcdavis

            I read a recipe a while ago for a good Raita, this looks just up your alley!

            http://fxcuisine.com/Default.asp?lang...

            Mmmmmm cumin.

        3. I wonder if you could slightly modify goodhealthgourmet's spicy black bean dip. Soak the beans rather than using canned, and perhaps use a combination of ground dried peppers in place of the chipotle in adobo if you really can't have the salt they'd add. Serve with her lime-chili chips for those who care to indulge and carrot sticks, too.

          http://www.chow.com/recipes/24426

          1. Unless you're going to sit there and just eat plain vegetables, it isn't very realistic to say 'no salt, no sugar, AND no fat all at once in every single dish. How strict are the requirements for fat-freeness? Commercial fat-free products generally taste awful, but the low-fat dairy stuff is perfectly usable as long as you make sure that it's the real deal and not stuffed full of vegetable gum! Hellmans light mayonnaise tastes much better than the full-fat version IMO. And when it comes to salt, a little goes a very long way. Watch out for commercial products that substitute fat/sugar and/or salt for what they're leaving out. The healthy-eating brigade probably wouldn't want to eat them anyway because they're not natural.

            Homemade hummus, yoghurt dip, an eggplant thing... Homemade crackers with herbs in them. Lots of fresh vegetables and fruit to dip.
            Mini quiches made with low-fat cheese and milk.
            If you strain natural fat-free yoghurt through a seive lined with paper towel it comes out yummy. It would make a great dip for a fruit plate... You could mix herbs into it and stuff it into cherry tomatoes.

            1. some sure fire winners (dietarily speaking and that get flavor infused by manner of cooking) include roasted vegetables done with garlic and onion - cauliflower, diced sweet potato, root veggies in general, etc. - and also grilled or baked fruit - grilled pineapple, baked apples then sliced and left sitting in their own juice (you can even bake these in diet cherry 7 UP or diet 7 UP), grilled peaches, stewed pears...

              stuffed potato skins-- bake potatoes, scoop flesh and mix with non-fat greek yogurt, and some chives and other flavoring if desired, then pipe back into the shells, sprinkle with a little low fat cheese and broil til golden

              petit-four sandwiches... do an egg white salad w/ low fat mayo or non-fat greek yogurt instead of mayo, along with some tarragon, chives, paprika on whole wheat squares; cucumber sammies, etc.

              tomatoes wrapped in basil leaves and drizzled with reduced balsamic

              mini-meatballs made with lean turkey or lean chicken might work for some of the party... depending on what you serve them with...

              frittatas made with skim milk and egg whites... vary the fillings...

              1. Honestly, no sugar, no fat AND no salt is going to be extraordinarily difficult if those are hard-line requirements. Most animal products (meat, dairy) will have some amount of fat, and most cooking requires at least a small amount of fat for the cooking process. An awful lot of prepared foods have salt, and an awful lot of vegetables and most fruits have natural sugars.

                The only things that I can think of off the top of my head that fit all of the requirements are raw and steamed vegetables. Even homemade hummus (which I've done for several parties) requires some olive oil and salt.

                Is there any way that you can do a couple different appetizers, perhaps 1 each that complies with no sugar, no fat and no salt?

                Otherwise, I guess you could try to make an egg white veggie quiche with non-fat milk, no cheese and a brown-rice crust. But honestly, I haven't tried doing all of those things at once.

                1. OK, maybe I am panic stricken. There must be a little fat, sugar, and salt in any food. It is generally the spouses saying, "He/She can't have any......."

                  Salsa is a good way to go. A quiche, maybe crustless. I love roasted vegetables. Lean meatballs.

                  I am formulating a plan! Thanks for the help!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: dcdavis

                    I would ask the spouses to be in charge of bringing something acceptable for their respective charges to supplement what you will be making. If they cannot break their dietary needs one iota, then that is a situation where the guest needs to shoulder some of the burden.

                  2. I love the hummus idea.

                    I'm also a fan of kambocha squash soup.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jaykayen

                      This appears to be a non-meal (the OP says its apps-only, no meal), which I assume means it would not be seated around a table, so soup would be a problem. And soups made without salt are generally disgusting.

                      1. re: Karl S

                        Yes. I thought of soup but soup on my leather couch and other furniture. No!

                    2. well, you probably know this one already, but skewer some fresh fruit into pretty kebobs and display them sticking out of half a pineapple. mix some yogurt with all-fruit preserves. everybody's happy with 'dipping sauce.' maybe fill some Belgian endive with seared scallops and have some stuffed grape leaves. use doilies and garnishes and make it special. but i also say serve whatever else you like and suggest the spouses each bring something and supervise their charges.