15 Light Thanksgiving Appetizers to Try This Year

Before diving into the turkey and cranberry sauce this holiday, try these light appetizers to help satiate you before a big Thanksgiving dinner.

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by
Mia Barnes
— Signos
Staff Writer
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Reviewed by

Mia Barnes
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Updated by

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Science-based and reviewed

Published:
May 17, 2024
November 15, 2023
— Updated:
November 16, 2023

Table of Contents

The winter holidays don’t have to mean weeks of eating food that doesn’t make you feel good. You can enjoy every second while maintaining your health goals with light Thanksgiving appetizers. 

Try a few of the below crowd-pleasing ideas to enjoy delicious before the big meal on Thanksgiving.

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Cold Appetizers

Some of the best appetizer ideas for Thanksgiving don’t require cooking and are the perfect finger foods. These recipes are for when you want to grab something easy out of the fridge.

Crackers and Cheese

You might not picture crackers when imagining light Thanksgiving appetizers, but they can fit a healthy diet if you opt for low-sodium or whole-grain options. Pair high-fiber or low-carb crackers with sharp cheeses like cheddar cheese, feta, asiago, and romano. Their bold flavors will match while your health benefits from the extra protein, vitamins, and minerals.1 Add sliced meats to the mix to easily create your own charcuterie board.

Spinach Dip

When people get tired of cheesy Thanksgiving dips and spreads, they’ll love a bite of spinach dip. Mix the following ingredients to create a creamy, low-carb dish.

  • 10 ounces chopped spinach
  • 1 ¼ low-fat sour cream
  • ¾ cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

You could swap the mayonnaise and sour cream for applesauce or unsweetened yogurt to provide a low-GI starter or side for your meal. Another modification could be adding store-bought canned artichokes to the dip. Finely chop them up and add them to the mixture to create a traditional spinach artichoke dip. 

Deviled Eggs

Sometimes, people serve light hors d'oeuvres to create a fancier meal. If that’s what you want for Thanksgiving, make deviled eggs. You’ll only need eggs, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper.2 

To make deviled eggs, first, you must hardboil them by placing them in boiling water and letting them cook for 14 minutes. Once finished, place the eggs in an ice bath and let them sit until completely cooled. Once they are cool, you can peel the eggs and slice them in half. Remove the yolk to a small bowl with a spoon and mix the yolks with mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. Use a spoon to add a portion back into the hole of each egg white and sprinkle paprika on for garnish.

Crab Toasts With Spicy Yogurt

If you have cooked crabmeat, you can serve it on slices of crostini underneath dollops of spicy yogurt. Experiment with different amounts of crabmeat and yogurt to fit your tastes. Some people like it more creamer, while others really want the crab to shine. 

This is one of the easiest cold Thanksgiving appetizers because your toaster only takes a minute to work its magic. Red pepper flakes add zest to your menu without extra fat or calories.

Antipasto Skewers

Serve some meat other than turkey by making antipasto skewers. This is one of the easiest healthy appetizers; you can customize it to your taste preferences and budget. Add slices of salami, mozzarella, and olives to the skewers, and you’ll have a keto snack ready for your holiday party.

Warm Appetizers

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Look no further for warm Thanksgiving app ideas. This list has everything you need to please your guests.

Baked Brie and Pecans

A healthy alternative to the traditional cheese ball, this brie and pecan combo will have your guests salivating for more. To create this dish, place a small wheel of brie on a baking sheet and two handfuls of pecans on another nut. Bake them at 350° Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. 

While they bake, combine three tablespoons of light-brown sugar — or a no-sugar brown sugar alternative — and three tablespoons of molasses. Melt both in a small pot over medium heat until it becomes syrup. Combine the pecans over the brie and drizzle the syrup over both. Your guests can eat them with whole wheat crackers. The sugar drizzle is optional, so feel free to skip this step if you want a blood-sugar-friendly appetizer. 

Balsamic Mushrooms

Fan-favorite appetizers also occasionally feature mushrooms. Serve everyone balsamic mushrooms by adding mushroom caps into a casserole dish and covering them in a glaze made with 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, and ½ tablespoon of brown sugar or your preferred alternative. Bake for 45 minutes at 400° F, and you’ll have a savory dish ready to eat.

Pear Bruschetta

Slices of Bartlett pears on small baguette pieces are a popular appetizer. Top each slice with melted brie cheese and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to enhance the flavor. Although this is a delicious and easy appetizer, you may worry about your blood sugar after eating the bread. However, research shows that vinegar stabilizes blood sugar after consuming carbs, making this appetizer more GI-friendly.

Party Shrimp

Add one pound of shrimp to a saucepan, and you’ll make easy, healthy appetizers in minutes. Saute them in the following ingredients to add flavor that makes many taste buds sing:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoon brown sugar or your preferred brown sugar alternative
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper

Everything combines into a flavorful, juicy appetizer your guests will love. The low-calorie protein will also keep them satisfied until dinner is ready.

Glazed Sweet Potato Slices

Are you seeking a healthy alternative to the traditional side dish of sweet potato casserole with marshmallows? These sweet potato slices are the perfect substitute. Peel and slice sweet potatoes into round pieces, then drizzle with honey mustard. Bake them at 400° F for 30 minutes or until soft. Your guests can eat them before dinner to strengthen their immunity and enjoy a sweet treat that’s kind to their blood sugar.

Bite Appetizers

orange-carrots-and-a-knife

People often want quick bites of food while they mingle. Make these light Thanksgiving appetizer recipes to keep your guests satiated without requiring a table and chairs.

Carrot Chips

Veggies can easily be transformed into a crunchy snack, and carrots make some of the best no-cook Thanksgiving appetizers. Peel and chop fresh ones into bite-sized chip pieces, or buy pre-sliced carrots at the grocery store. They’re delicious with hummus or served warm. For a flavorful snack, bake them at 450° F for 20 minutes with salt, pepper, and ½ teaspoon of garlic powder.

Honey-Garlic Shrimp Bites

Another way to make light hors d'oeuvres with shrimp is using honey-garlic sauce. Saute the shrimp with olive oil until brown, or air fry them at 400° F for seven minutes.

Serve them drizzled in a sauce made with ¼ cup honey, 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, and 1 ½ tablespoons of rice vinegar. The protein could prevent accidental overeating by satiating everyone before dinner, while the platter presentation makes your meal Instagram-worthy.

Tomato and Prosciutto Mini Toasts

While at the grocery store, buy a large baguette, a container of cherry tomatoes, and 12 slices of prosciutto. When combined, they make some of the best healthy Thanksgiving appetizers.

Smear each baguette slice with cream cheese, then top with a piece of prosciutto and two cherry tomatoes. After baking at 360° F for 20 minutes, you’ll have a tasty treat many will love.

Bacon Brussels Sprouts

You might not think bacon belongs in recipes for light Thanksgiving appetizers, but it’s a healthy snack in moderation. Wrap one Brussels sprout in half a standard bacon slice and pin it with a toothpick.

Bake them for 30 minutes at 400° F until they’re crispy. Then, your guests can enjoy them while chatting with toothpicks and dip them in low-fat sour cream if they'd like.

Green Bean Fries

Swap French fries for green beans before your holiday parties. To fry them with fewer calories in your air fryer or oven, spray them with olive oil. Bake until they brown, and serve with your favorite dipping sauces.

Learn More About Keeping a Healthy Diet on the Holidays With Signos

Anyone can make these warm or cold Thanksgiving appetizers, even if they feel rushed in the kitchen. They’re a great way to make the holidays easier and stick to your health goals.

If you’d like to develop better eating habits and improve your understanding of nutrition, learn from the experts at Signos. They help clients improve their health through blood sugar management education.

You can also start your journey with the free resources on Signos’ blog, which updates frequently. A quick quiz could also point you toward better health and wellness. Consider what you want throughout the holidays and your future to take the first steps toward a healthier you.

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References

  1. Zhang, M., Dong, X., Huang, Z., Li, X., Zhao, Y., Wang, Y., Zhu, H., Fang, A., & Giovannucci, E. L. (2023, June 15). Cheese Consumption and Multiple Health Outcomes: An Umbrella Review and Updated Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies. Advances In Nutrition. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10509445/
  2. University of Nebraska Lincoln. (2021, March 25). Deviled Eggs. UNL Food. https://food.unl.edu/recipe/deviled-eggs
  3. Thanksgiving Seafood Sides That Will Become New Dinner Favorites. Maine Lobster Now. (2021, October 27). https://www.mainelobsternow.com/blog/15-thanksgiving-seafood-sides

About the author

Mia Barnes is a health writer and researcher who specializes in nutrition, fitness, and mental health.

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