4 easy and tasty dishes a dietitian who specializes in the DASH diet serves at parties
- The DASH diet is one of the healthiest ways to eat, according to experts.
- But party snacks can be full of salt and added sugar, which the DASH diet tries to reduce.
A dietitian who specializes in the DASH diet shared her favorite healthy, crowd-pleasing foods to serve at parties.
Navigating parties while following the DASH diet can be challenging, because it is low in lots of the things that make party foods tasty, such as salt, saturated fats, and added sugar, Danielle Smith, a registered dietitian who works with Top Nutrition Coaching, told Insider.
Followers are also encouraged to keep their consumption of alcohol and processed foods low, which is what makes it the healthiest way to eat, according to the American Heart Association. But it's mainly about making healthy choices, meaning that instead of skipping out on food at celebrations, you can swap ingredients out for more DASH-appropriate options, such as whole grains and legumes, fruit and vegetables, skinless poultry and fish, and low-fat dairy.
Here are Smiths' four favorite DASH-diet-friendly dishes to serve at parties.
Greek yogurt ranch dip
This easy dip recipe is a great option when you don't have time to cook. Simply combine non-fat Greek yogurt with garlic powder, onion powder, dill, salt, cayenne pepper, and Worcestershire sauce, and sprinkle with chopped chives for a garnish.
Smith said that swapping sour cream for Greek yogurt is an "easy way to boost protein and calcium." Greek yogurt has more protein than traditional yogurt, and also contains the essential vitamin B12, Insider previously reported.
Plus, serving the dip with chopped vegetables means you get in extra fiber — which is important for gut and heart health.
Sweet potato crostini with spiced ricotta
This appetizer consists of baked crispy sweet potato slices, roasted cranberries, and spiced ricotta, most of which can be pre-prepared the day before your party.
Bake the sweet potato slices until crispy, roast the cranberries with sugar, lemon, and thyme, and mix the ricotta with nutmeg, cinnamon, then on the day top the sweet potato crostini with the ricotta and cranberries.
Smith said: "Crostinis are usually made with crusty bread but this ups the nutrient value by using potassium and fiber-rich sweet potatoes. The ricotta provides a little bit of protein, too."
Although you shouldn't be scared of bread, replacing it with sweet potatoes could be beneficial for your party guests, since most Americans don't eat enough fiber or potassium, and sweet potatoes contain both.
Chicken shawarma pita pizzas
Smith said that although this recipe is meant to be a full meal, you can just cut the pizzas into bite-sized pieces for a flavor-packed party food.
Smith said: "This is a great go-to if you're not sure what the food situation will be like and you need to ensure that you'll have something to fill you up."
To make these mini chicken shawarma pitta pizzas, marinate your chicken before cooking it on the stove. Then put mozzarella cheese on your flatbread and bake until the cheese is melted. Next, add your chicken with some chopped tomatoes, onion, banana peppers, coriander, and tahini.
"This packs protein, healthy fat, and complex carbohydrates if you opt for a whole wheat pita," Smith said.
Blackened shrimp, avocado, and cucumber bites
"If you make these shrimp, avocado, and cucumber bites, I'd double the recipe as they are a crowd-favorite," Smith said.
To make this recipe, cook your shrimp in a skillet with Creole seasoning, before popping them on top of cucumber slices spread with mashed avocado.
Smith said these bites contain plenty of protein, healthy fats, and vegetables, so are perfect for the DASH diet. Avocados contain potassium, which is an essential nutrient for blood pressure regulation because it relaxes the walls of blood vessels.
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