Go Skinny Dipping: Healthy dip suggestions

Let’s start with the bad news: Many of the dips we love to congregate around and munch on at social events are loaded with fat and sodium.

It makes me crazy how spinach and/or artichoke dip sound so healthy, when they really aren’t. Rather than say, “Hey! This dip has a lot more hydrogenated oil than green roughage!” they go and call it after its hint-of-vegetable component.

The good news: You can easily make all kinds of dips that are actually good for you. Then, you won’t have to wake up feeling remorseful about your party snacking. Beans, veggies, fruit, yogurt, etc. can all be used to make high-fiber, low-fat, low-sodium dips that taste just as good as the stuff that’s bad for you.

What’s good?

All of these are really easy to make, more delicious, and more filling than their fat-laden cousins.

  • Salsa – As long as it’s low-sodium – it’s just a bunch of vegetables, fruits and spices.
  • Hummus – Be aware of the oil content in some prepackaged kinds, but be glad for the fiber. Throw in some roasted red peppers or olives to make more yummy flavor combinations.
  • Baba Ghanoush – What’s not to love about roasted eggplant dip?  The recipe from the link uses olive oil, but I use plain greek yogurt instead and love the creaminess it adds!
  • Tzatziki Dip – Cucumber, dill, yogurt, garlic, and lemon juice – more please!
  • Yogurt dips – Mix plain yogurt with feta, dijon mustard, blue cheese, herbs, spices, veggies, fruit, etc. to make creamy dips without the fat that comes with mayonnaise and sour cream.
  • Guacamole – It has fat, but it’s good fat – just watch what you add. Sour cream or sodium-filled flavor packets can undo some of an innocent avocado’s goodness.

The final trick is to not ruin your good dip with bad dippers. Opt for veggies, grilled meat skewers, toasted pita or multigrain crackers instead of greasy chips to complete your dish.

With these skinny dipping options, you might actually feel good getting into your bikini this summer.

What can I eat? Snack on this

When you initially make the decision to eat healthier, it’s easy to feel limited. You look over the list of “can’t eats” and wonder, what can I eat?

The hardest thing to manage is snacking, so I have compiled a list of snacks you CAN eat without sabotaging your mission.

First, when you start to feel hungry, go drink a glass of water or skim milk. Make yourself wait another two minutes, then decide if you’re still hungry. Often times we mistake thirst for hunger.

A couple of things to keep in mind when choosing snacks are food label awareness and moderation.

It’s great to have the 100 calorie pack options, but you should still look and see where those 100 calories are coming from. If you’re getting a ton of sugar, salt, hydrogenated oils, etc., you’re better off getting 200 calories from something that is good for you. Empty, highly processed calories won’t hold you as long, and you’ll end up needing more food sooner.

Be careful when buying trail mix, too. If the nuts have been roasted in oil and salt, the fruit has been dried and rolled in sugar, and they’ve added chocolate, you may as well just eat a candy bar. I make my own mix at home with dark chocolate chips, raw nuts, a small amount of dried fruit and low-fat granola or Cheerios; then I separate it into snack size Ziploc bags so I have manageable portions on hand.

We are all guilty of messing up a good thing when it comes to snacking. We add mayonnaise to tuna, caramel to apples, salt and butter to popcorn, creamy dressing to freshly cut vegetables, etc. If you must have these things, bring/add them in serving-size portions. Free pouring/dipping can get you in a world of trouble. My mom used to say, “A second on the lips; forever on the hips.”

It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. Pay attention to what you are putting in your mouth. We put so much energy and thought into what we wear on the outside, yet we mindlessly shovel food into our bodies.

Without further ado, here are some snacking options you can feel good about.

Good snack choices

  • Almonds (about 20, raw)
  • Olives (5 – too many and you get too much sodium)
  • Lean cold cuts wrapped around low-fat string cheese
  • Vegetables dipped in hummus (2-4 Tbsps to keep fat down)
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Low-fat yogurt with 1/4 cup low-fat muesli or granola and berries
  • Apple or banana with 1-2 Tbsps peanut butter
  • Celery with 1-2 Tbsps peanut butter
  • Berries and light cool whip
  • Frozen grapes
  • Apple sauce
  • Hard boiled eggs