Who says football parties have to have wings and meatballs?

Ok, so in the coming weeks there will be playoff parties and the grandaddy of all football parties - the Super Bowl parties. The menus for such parties are often fattening dips and meaty finger foods. It doesn't have to that way. Why not take your football party a notch up this year? Here's a few ideas for portable bites that won't leave you feeling like a linebacker in need of a nap.

1) fruit kabobs - slide strawberries, kiwi, grapes, orange, apple, peach and banana slices onto skewers. Dust with a little sugar or powdered sugar or drizzle with flavored yogurt to pretty them up for presentation.

2) miniature tuna sandwiches - these don't work well for your outdoor summer parties because they have mayonnaise, but you can put them out indoors in the winter without worry for a bit or set them out on a plate that has been chilled. Egg salad works great for these small finger sandwiches as well. Put on white and quarter and cut off crusts or grab a loaf of cocktail rye.

3) bruchetta - fresh tomatoes and herbs make them a refreshing and healthy dish that can be eaten without a fork and knife (if you go easy on the toppings.)

4) cucumber crackers - Any appetizers that can work in some fresh veggies are a plus. One of my faves is Ritz crackers with a little spread of cream cheese, topped with a cucumber slice and sprinkled with dill. Use a potato peeler to make "stripes" on the outside my removing rows of skin. Gives a pretty effect.

5) peppery nachos - Nachos don't have to be unhealthy. In lieu of loads of goopy cheese, sautee a bunch of green and red pepper slices - and add some onions if you'd like. Some seasoned chicken strips go great with this. And if you must have cheese, you can get away with a small amount of shredded cheese blend over the top.

6) fresh, chunky salsa - start with a few Romas (great for salsa because they have less juice than larger sandwich varieties), add a can of corn, a can of black beans, a can of kidney beans, a diced avocado, some cilantro, freshly squeezed lime juice, olive oil and garlic salt.

7) devilled eggs. These can be high in calories or fat content, but you can cut down on that with light or fat free mayo. However, it's a nutritious protein filled snack rather than one with no nutritional value like you'd get from a bag of chips.

8) apple slices with caramel dip. Guests can control the amount of dip put on this and it satisfies the sweet tooth while supplying you with some vitamins and minerals.


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