Delightful Bites for the Holidays: Best Healthy Christmas Appetizers to Impress Your Guests

Delightful Bites for the Holidays: Best Healthy Christmas Appetizers to Impress Your Guests

A variety of protein powder and shakes.

‘Tis the season to indulge in festive flavors and share the joy of the holidays with family and friends. As you prepare for Christmas gatherings, don’t overlook the importance of delightful appetizers to kickstart the celebration. You can still be festive and fancy with healthy foods and avoid the carb heavy, sugar rich, fat loaded appetizers. Elevate your holiday entertaining with these mouthwatering visually appealing Christmas appetizers that are sure to leave a lasting impression on your guests with out requiring your pants to be loosened.

1. Shrimp Cocktail Christmas Trees: Ingredients: Large shrimp, cocktail sauce, and fresh rosemary

Take the classic shrimp cocktail to the next level by presenting it in the form of a festive Christmas tree. Arrange cooked shrimp on a platter in the shape of a tree, using fresh rosemary sprigs as branches. Serve with tangy cocktail sauce for a visually stunning and delicious appetizer.

2. Cranberry and Goat Cheese Crostini: Ingredients: pumpernickel or rye bread, goat cheese,
cranberry sauce, and fresh thyme and more.

Craft an elegant and flavorful appetizer by using creamy goat cheese and switch out the typical refined white baguettes and use toasted pumpernickel or rye bread. Top them with a spoonful of cranberry sauce. Garnish with fresh thyme for a burst of holiday color and taste. You could do other flavours such as strawberries and mint, grilled portobello mushrooms and thyme, grilled peppers and parsley, smoked salmon and dill or avocado and cilantro. Your tray will be colorful, flavourful and a great way to sneak in those vegetables when they are least expecting it.

3. Caprese Skewers with a Twist: Ingredients: Cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella balls, basil leaves,
balsamic glaze.

Give the classic Caprese salad a festive twist by threading cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella balls, and basil leaves onto skewers. Drizzle with balsamic glaze for a pop of flavor and a visually appealing appetizer that’s easy to enjoy.

4. Cheese and vegetable platter: Chesses, vegetables (carrots, broccoli, grape tomatoes, peppers),
olives, hummus, Tzatziki, cut up fruit.

This can be a great way to get your healthy foods out there when trying to look fancy indulgent. Create a cheese platter but keep the cheese to a minimum and focus on fresh, cut up vegetables and berries for a great pop of colours. Use hummus and tzatziki as healthy dips. You can even arrange your vegetables in the shape of a Christmas tree and use the other vegetables as Christmas decorations. Don’t forget to add in olives for those good fats and you can even cut up cucumbers to use as a “cracker base” as a healthy alternative to crackers and breads.

This Christmas, set the stage for a memorable celebration with appetizers that are as visually stunning as they are delicious and healthy. From the classic elegance of Cranberry, and goat cheese crostini to the playful presentation of Shrimp Cocktail Christmas Trees, these appetizers will add a touch of magic to your holiday festivities.

Cauliflower Shawarma with Pomegranate and Pine Nuts

Cauliflower Shawarma with Pomegranate and Pine Nuts

Two Glasses with Detox Green Smoothie

Enjoy the delightful blend of flavors in each bite of our Cauliflower Shawarma, complemented by the lively notes of pomegranate and the satisfying crunch of pine nuts.

This recipe not only tantalizes your taste buds but also brings nutritional goodness to the table.

Cauliflower, a nutritional powerhouse, is rich in essential vitamins and minerals—think immune-boosting Vitamin C and bone-strengthening Vitamin K. Paired with the nutritional benefits of pomegranate and the protein-rich content of pine nuts, this dish is a tasty yet nourishing addition to your menu.


Cauliflower Shawarma with Pomegranate and Pine Nuts

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4



  • 1 whole cauliflower


  • 4 tbsp tahini sauce
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1.5 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 small green chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 glug extra virgin olive oil (optional)

Shawarma-spiced butter

  • 40g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 lemon (juice only)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1.5 tbsp finely chopped coriander
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground sumac
  • 1.5 tbsp ground cumin
  • 0.5 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch ground cardamom

Tahini sauce (makes about 220g/7.5oz)

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (optional)
  • 100 ml iced water
  • 100 g tahini paste
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (optional)
  • 3.5 fl oz iced water
  • 3.5 oz tahini paste
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (optional)
  • 0.4 cup iced water
  • 3.5 oz tahini paste


  • First make the tahini sauce. Pour the tahini paste into a bowl and add the lemon juice and garlic (if using). Gradually whisk in the iced water, bit by bit, as you pour.
  • The tahini will thicken at first to a very coarse paste, but will loosen to form a thick sauce with the consistency of honey as you add more of the iced water. Season with salt to taste.
  • Alternatively, you can blitz the tahini in a food processor or whisk together using a stand mixer, adding the water gradually to combine.
  • Next, make the shawarma-spiced butter. Combine all the ingredients in a stand mixer and mix using the paddle attachment. In the absence of a mixer, whisk in a large bowl until thoroughly incorporated.
  • The butter should be aerated, slightly stiff and one colour (as opposed to streaked). Set aside until needed. It can be kept in the fridge for several weeks, but must be brought to room temperature before being used.
  • For the cauliflower, trim some of the outer leaves, but leave some stragglers left behind – they taste delicious and look great when burnt and crisped.
  • Set a large saucepan of salted water on high heat, cover with a lid and bring the water up to the boil. Once the water is boiling, gently lower the cauliflower into the pan, being careful not to let it drop from a height and thereby avoiding the potential of burning yourself with the splash-back of boiling water, which nobody wants, least of all you.
  • Bring the water back to the boil, then turn the heat down to medium so the water has a gentle roll. The intention is to par-cook the cauliflower before finishing it in the oven or on the barbecue.
  • It should be removed from the water when tender to a knife, yet retain some resistance – ‘al dente’, as they say. It’s important not to overcook the cauliflower. Much like pasta or a lovely piece of steak, cauliflower doesn’t like being cooked for too long. We’ve found it to take 7 minutes from when the water comes back to the boil.
  • Set the cauliflower on a cooling rack over a roasting tray and allow to drip-dry. Brush liberally all over with the spiced butter, and where possible, try and get beneath the floret canopy to reach the inner sections. Retain some of the butter for brushing at a later stage. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat the oven to its highest setting (240°C/460°F/gas mark 9) and blast the cauliflower for 5–7 minutes, until blackened all over. You want it to lightly char, not to form an acrid burnt crust.
  • Once sufficiently oven-roasted, transfer it to finish on the barbecue for a few minutes (if you have one going) for a final hit of smokiness, basting it periodically with any leftover butter.
  • Transfer to a serving plate. Spoon over the tahini sauce and pomegranate molasses, and finish by sprinkling over the pine nuts, green chilli, pomegranate seeds, and parsley. A drizzle of olive oil adds a nice glossy finish. Serve immediately – the cauliflower tastes so much better when hot.

Loving Loaded Sweet Potatoes

Loving Loaded Sweet Potatoes

Two Glasses with Detox Green Smoothie

This is a great side dish or on its own and is a great option for vegetarians or anyone looking for a hearty healthy meal. This meal is loaded with antioxidants, fiber vitamins and minerals that support blood sugar balance, inflammation and mood.

Sweet potatoes, often associated with holiday meals and comfort food, are not only delicious but also packed with a plethora of health benefits. These vibrant orange tubers are a nutritional powerhouse, offering a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.



Sweet potatoes are particularly high in vitamin A, which is essential for healthy vision, immune function, and skin health. One medium-sized sweet potato can provide more than 400% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin A. This is very helpful when entering flu season!

Additionally, sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and manganese, as well as potassium which can help regulate blood pressure, while manganese supports bone health and wound healing.

Fiber is crucial for digestive health and can help prevent constipation, promote regular bowel movements, reduce the risk of colon cancer, lower cholesterol and support blood sugar balance. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of dietary fiber, with both soluble and insoluble fiber content. Consuming foods high in fiber can also aid in weight management by promoting a feeling of fullness and reducing overall calorie intake. We often don’t get enough fiber in our diet so this is a great fiber boost to your daily intake.

Sweet potatoes are packed with antioxidants, including beta-carotene, anthocyanins, and other compounds that can help combat oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Research shows that individuals that followed a diet rich in anthocyanidins have been shown to have a 39% lower risk of developing depression symptoms (1).

Contrary to common misconceptions, sweet potatoes have a relatively low glycemic index (GI), which means they do not cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels when consumed in moderation. In fact, the fiber and complex carbohydrates in sweet potatoes can help stabilize blood sugar levels, making them a suitable option for individuals with diabetes or those looking to maintain balanced energy throughout the day.

Don’t forget Chickpeas… Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, have been a dietary staple in various cuisines for thousands of years. These tiny legumes pack a big nutritional punch, making them a versatile and valuable addition to any diet. One of the standout features of chickpeas is their high protein content, making them an excellent choice for vegetarians, vegans, and anyone looking to increase their plant-based protein intake. Just one cup of cooked chickpeas provides around 15 grams of protein, making them a valuable addition to salads, soups, and curries.

Like sweet potatoes chickpeas are an excellent source of dietary fiber, and the combination of protein and fiber helps increase feelings of fullness and reduces overall calorie intake. This can be particularly helpful for those looking to control their appetite and maintain a healthy weight.

Chickpeas also have a low glycemic index (GI), which means they have a minimal impact on blood sugar levels. Foods with a low GI are digested and absorbed more slowly, leading to gradual increases in blood sugar rather than sharp spikes. This property makes chickpeas an excellent choice for individuals with diabetes or those aiming to help provide more balanced mood and energy levels throughout the day.

Chickpeas are a good source of folate, iron, phosphorus, and manganese. Folate is crucial for cell division and the formation of DNA, making it especially important for pregnant women. Iron is essential for preventing anemia, while phosphorus and manganese play roles in bone health and wound healing, respectively.

So what are you waiting for!! This meal is pleasing on the eyes and the taste buds and provides you with an important balance of key nutrients, fiber, protein and antioxidants.


Loving Loaded Potato Recipes

This is a great side dish or on its own and is a great option for vegetarians or anyone looking for a hearty healthy meal on a cool fall day. This meal is loaded with antioxidants, fiber vitamins and minerals that support blood sugar balance, inflammation and mood.


  • 4 small sweet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups chick peas, cooked, from the can
  • 1 orange bell pepper diced
  • 1 cup of chopped broccoli
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat over to 375ºF (190ºC). Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 20-30 mins, until fork tender.
  • While sweet potatoes are baking, warm olive oil in a small pan. Add chickpeas, peppers, onion, chili powder, turmeric, garlic and sea salt. Stir well to combine.
  • When sweet potatoes are ready, remove from oven. Slice each most of the way through. Divide sweet potatoes between serving plates.
  • Top with warm chickpeas mixture, fresh spinach, broccoli. Enjoy!

Chocolate Coffee Shake

Chocolate Coffee Shake

Two Glasses with Detox Green Smoothie

This smoothie is one of my favourites and is one of the many amazing recipes in our online nutrition and depression program to help support a healthier and happier mood.

Coffee has many health benefits. We all know that coffee helps to boost mental alertness and focus, and it does this by preventing adenosine from attaching to brain receptors that promote tiredness, therefore increasing alertness and attention (1). Since depression can often cause people to feel low motivation and fatigue this can help to give them that much needed boost.


Coffee also increases the release of mood-boosting neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine (2). Dopamine is our “motivation” neurotransmitter to help get us up and going. So, it is no wonder coffee is often the go to beverage in the morning.

Interestingly enough research has found that both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee can significantly improve mood compared with a placebo beverage, suggesting that coffee contains other compounds that influence mood (2).

Studies show that coffee is one of the largest sources of antioxidants in the human diet!! Antioxidants are crucial to support healthy brain function and managing inflammation which help to better support mood! The polyphenols in coffee may prevent a number of conditions, such as heart disease, liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. In fact coffee drinkers have a 23–50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes and each daily cup is linked to a 7% reduced risk (3). Regularly drinking coffee may also reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease by 32–65% (4,5). So adding a shot of espresso or a teaspoon of instant coffee to your shake might be just want you need.

Avocado and milled flax seeds both contain good omega 3 fats and fiber which helps support blood sugar balance, reduce inflammation, boost energy and support neurotransmitters that can helps us feel happy. One study of 55 participants showed that the volume of gray matter in the human brain, particularly the parts associated with mood, was proportional to the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids. (6)

Who doesn’t love chocolate!! Chocolate has mood boosting benefits, is high in antioxidants and is loaded with magnesium which is important to helps us feels relaxed and calm. Did you know if you tend to crave chocolate it could indicate that you may have a magnesium deficiency. Grate dark chocolate in or over your shake for some added mood boosting benefits!



Chocolate Coffee Shake

This smoothie is one of my favourites and is one of the many amazing recipes in my online nutrition and depression program to help support a healthier and happier mood.


  • 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
  • 1/3 cup of avocados
  • 1 tbsp of milled flax seed
  • 1 tbsp of almond butter
  • 1 tsp of instant coffee
  • unsweetened almond milk or water


Put ingredients in the blender and enjoy!

Sweet Whole-Grain Breakfast Pancakes

Sweet Whole-Grain Breakfast Pancakes

Two Glasses with Detox Green Smoothie

It is important to get whole grain into your diet. They can help off set many hormones related to diabetes. These are great to batch cook and then pop them in the fridge or freezer and reheat in the toaster for a quick grab and go breakfast.

The two top ingredients is buckwheat and oats. Buckwheat has become popular as a health food due to its high mineral and antioxidant content. Its benefits may include improved blood sugar control.



Buckwheat scores low to medium on the glycemic index (GI) — a measure of how quickly a food raises blood sugar after a meal — and should not cause unhealthy spikes in blood sugar levels.

Some of the soluble carbs in buckwheat, such as fagopyritol and D-chiro-inositol, have been shown to help moderate the rise in blood sugar after meals.

The nutrient composition of oats is well-balanced. They are a good source of carbs and fiber, including the fiber beta-glucan. Oats are also a good source of high quality protein, with a good balance of essential amino acids.

Oats are loaded with important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant plant compounds.

  • Half a cup (40.5 grams) of dry oats contains:
  • Manganese: 63.91% of the daily value (DV)
  • Phosphorus: 13.3% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 13.3% of the DV
  • Copper: 17.6% of the DV
  • Iron: 9.4% of the DV
  • Zinc: 13.4% of the DV
  • Folate: 3.24% of the DV
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 15.5% of the DV
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 9.07% of the DV
  • smaller amounts of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), and vitamin B3 (niacin)

Whole oats are high in antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols. Most notable is a unique group of antioxidants called avenanthramides, which are almost solely found in oats.

Research has found that avenanthramides may help lower blood pressure levels by increasing the production of nitric oxide gas. This gas molecule helps dilate (widen) blood vessels, which may lead to better blood flow.

To make it fun for kids use a cookie cutter to make fun shapes. Just spray the interior of the cookie cutter with cooking spray to keep the batter from sticking and then pour the batter into the cookie cutter. Make sure you use metal and not plastic cookie cutters.

Sweet Whole-Grain Breakfast Pancakes

It is important to get whole grain into your diet. They can help off set many hormones related to diabetes. These are great to batch cook and then pop them in the fridge or freezer and reheat in the toaster for a quick grab and go breakfast.


  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 1/4 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 1/2 cups butter milk or plain kefir
  • 2 tbsp avocado, sunflower or safflower
  • 1 tbsp best quality vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tbsp organic honey
  • eat-clean cooking spray


  1. Place all dry ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowls. In another medium-sized mixing bowl add wet ingredients and mix until blended Mixture can still be a little lumpy. Let it sit on counter for half an hour until oats soften.
  2. Spray a skillet or griddle with cooking spray.over medium heat. Using ladle add 120 ml of batter onto hot skillet. Leave until they are lightly brown and bubbles show.on pancakes surface. Flip and cook on reverse side.