But on The Early Show Monday, registered dietitian Keri Glassman suggested which appetizers and finger foods to nibble on, and which ones to avoid. She also looked at drinks.
In general, Glassman pointed out, it might be wise to avoid dips altogether -- they're too easy to overeat, particularly when you're at a party.
"BEST OF THE WORST"
2 MINI QUICHES
2 SPINACH & CHEESE FILLED PHYLLO DOUGH POCKETS
Many people go for the phyllo dough triangles -- they're filled with spinach, after all, how bad can they be?! But phyllo dough contains a lot of butter, and the appetizer itself has more cheese and butter than the quiches.
GUACAMOLE & CHIPS
HUMMUS & PITA
Even though the guacamole has more fat, Glassman recommends it over the hummus. Guacamole is full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, so that's something to consider when evaluating your food options. Hummus has more calories than guacamole; turns out it's the oil in the hummus that pushes it over the top.
1 SLICE SALAMI & 1 SLICE PARMESAN
2 PIGS IN A BLANKET
Sorry to say, pigs in a blanket have zero redeeming qualities when it comes to health or diet. Both options here are processed meats, but the pigs are a lot higher in fat AND sodium. Some good news: parmesan is naturally a lower-fat cheese. That, combined with the fact that it is loaded with calcium, actually makes it a good party snack.
FILET MIGNON ON GARLIC TOAST W/ DOLLOP OF HORSERADISH SAUCE
1 BABY LAMB CHOP
Surprising, right? The filet is significantly leaner than the lamb chop. Although the filet on toast packs a relatively high number of calories into a small quantity, the protein will help satisfy you and keep you from overeating later.
EGGNOG (WITH RUM)
IRISH CREAM COFFEE W/ WHIPPIED CREAM
Both of these are terrible choices. The calories are almost the same, and the fat is identical. Luckily, these tend to be seasonal drinks. The Irish Coffee becomes the worse choice, because it has a few more calories, thanks to all the sugar in the Bailey's Irish Cream liqueur. But it has no cholesterol, while the eggnog has a whopping 783 mg -- something to keep in mind if you're watching your cholesterol levels.
Red wine is the winner here -- it has fewer calories and contains antioxidants. Plus, people tend to drink beer faster than wine, and that first pint is typically followed by one or two more. It's easier to carry a glass of wine around a party and sip it for a longer period of time.
FIND THESE FOODS!
When you're at a cocktail party, there are several appetizers that are always healthy choices. They include:
Olives (in small portions)
Steamed (or grilled) shrimp (with or without cocktail sauce)
Sushi vegetable rolls
Rice paper-wrapped veggie spring rolls
And, if you want an alcoholic drink, opt for vodka with seltzer and lime.