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bowl of guacamole with sliced limes and tortilla chips

Healthy appetizers for entertaining

Whether you’re hosting a get-together for the big game, a birthday or a dinner party, it’s helpful to plan some healthy appetizers to hold over your guests until the main meal. Nancy Waldeck, a chef at Cancer Wellness, shares her favorite tricks for making healthy, delicious appetizers sure to please a crowd.

Incorporate vegetables

“I try to always include some veggies when thinking about appetizers,” says Waldeck. “Balancing ingredients like cheese or cream with veggies or meats always brings more nutrition to the table.”

Plan the right number of appetizers

“For every hour that I expect the party to last, I plan on six appetizers per person,” she says. “I like to make five or six different appetizers, but that does not mean six difficult or time-consuming recipes.”

Choose a fabulous spread of healthy appetizers

Here’s Waldeck’s go-to appetizer setup:

  • Popcorn

  • Pistachios

  • One or two cheeses

  • A hummus or guacamole dip with veggies

  • One or two individual appetizers (recipe ideas below)

“Appetizer parties don’t have to be stressful,” she says. “Use my ideas to come up with an easy spread that looks impressive.”

Guacamole-stuffed eggs


  • 6 large hardboiled eggs

  • 1 avocado

  • 1 garlic clove, grated

  • ½ teaspoon hot sauce like sriracha or tabasco

  • ½ teaspoon lime juice

  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and ribbed, cut in half and sliced

Cut the eggs in half lengthwise and put the yolks in a medium bowl. Cut the avocado in half lengthwise, remove the pit and scoop the flesh with a spoon into the bowl with the egg yolks.

Add the garlic, hot sauce, lime juice and salt to the bowl and mash together. Stuff the eggs with the mixture and top with jalapeño.

Add some crunch and a cradle for your eggs by placing them in a “scoop” corn chip. To keep the eggs from rocking and rolling on your platter, put a tiny spoonful of the egg stuffing on the platter before putting your eggs down.

Easy crab-stuffed tomatoes


  • 1 pound crabmeat

  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced—green parts only

  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil mayo

  • 1/3 cup finely chopped celery

  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt

  • Basil, julienned, for garnish

  • Sweet pepper rings for garnish

  • 14 to 18 Campari or large cherry tomatoes

Stir together all the ingredients except the julienned basil and peppers. Stuff the mixture into the tomatoes and garnish with additional basil and pepper rings.

Smoked salmon rice crisps


  • 1 (3.5 ounces) package of rice crackers

  • ¼ cup light mayonnaise

  • ¼ cup sour cream

  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill

  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

  • 4 ounces sliced smoked salmon

  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

  • Dill sprigs for garnish

In a medium-sized bowl, stir the mayonnaise, sour cream, chopped dill and mustard together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place a small dollop of the mixture on a rice cracker, top with a slice of smoked salmon and garnish with a dill sprig.

White bean hummus


  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 2 cans cannellini beans (also called white kidney beans), drained and well-rinsed

  • ¼ to ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • Chopped cilantro for garnish

  • *You can also add ½ cup of chopped beets or another roasted veggie when processing the hummus to make it pretty and taste great.

Place the garlic cloves in the processor and finely chop. Add the beans, 1/3 cup of oil, salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric, lemon juice and cayenne to the food processor and process until smooth. You may need a little more oil to make it the consistency you like.

Check out more recipes and nutrition tips from Cancer Wellness experts.

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