Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez

They’re healthier, they’ll taste better, and they’re really not that difficult to make.

Arielle Weg
December 06, 2017

Winter months are a prime time to stock up on appetizers. Between holiday parties, New Years celebrations, and football games, everyone is coming over for something to drink and definitely something delicious to eat.

But don’t head to Target and start tossing bags of frozen appetizers in your shopping cart just yet. We outlined exactly how much you’ll save nutritionally by making your own. It’ll take a little extra time, but not much. And it’s totally worth it.

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Archer Farms Mini Crab Cakes Maryland-Style

Swap For: Mini Crab Cakes with Pickled Celery

These fishy bites will truly get the party started. For a serving of two cakes, you’ll save 95 calories and 11 grams of fat.

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Market Pantry Stuffed Jalapenos Coated in Crispy Breading

Swap For: Bacon-Goat Cheese Jalapeno Poppers

Stuff a jalapeno with a blend of goat cheese and cream cheese and top it with pepper jelly and bacon and it’s a show-stopping starter. You can enjoy two of these larger bites instead of three of the smaller, store-bought variety and save 181 calories, 13 grams of fat, 125 mg of sodium, and 3 grams of saturated fat.

Photo: John Autry

Market Pantry Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

Our Swap: Baked Mozzarella Bites 

It’s amazing what part-skim mozzarella sticks and an oven can do for this classic app. In a serving of three pieces, you’ll save 109 calories, 5 grams of fat, and 448 mg of sodium. Pass the marinara, please!

Wholly Guacamole Classic Guacamole

Swap For: Easy Guacamole

Our simple recipe takes minutes to blend together and saves you 35 calories, 4 grams of fat, and 183 mg of sodium per two tablespoon serving. Plus, you can customize the dip according to your own tastes. Kick up the spice, add some fruit, or even sprinkle on some queso fresco.

Photo: Romulo Yanes

Seapack Popcorn Shrimp

Swap For: Boiled Shrimp with Tangy Cocktail Sauce

This version uses larger shrimp, so even though you’re not packing on 15 mini bites like the package, you’ll end up with more ounces of food from four large shrimp. Per serving, our recipe saves you 94 calories, 10 grams of fat, plus knocks up the protein to 6 grams, making this app way more filling.

Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez

Market Pantry Chicken Wings

Swap For: Sticky Asian Chicken Wings

Upfront it may look like our recipe isn’t saving you any calories, but ounce to ounce this swap saves you 12 calories and 2 grams of fat, so you’re free to enjoy a little more. And you’ll want to—it’s delicious enough that guests will ask for the recipe. And when they do, you’ll actually be able to share it.

Market Pantry Crispy Potato Puffs

Swap For: Cheesy Cauliflower Biscuits 

We estimate that about four of our cauliflower bites equals 10 of the crispy potato puffs. Compare the two options, and you’re saving 58 calories and 3 grams of fat.

Oxmoor House

Market Pantry Onion Rings Coated in a Crispy Coating

Swap For: Barbecue-Flavored Onion Rings

Toss these crispy rings in the oven instead of the deep fryer and you’ll thank us later. Compare four rings from the packages to a quarter cup of ours and you’ll save 63 calories, 8.5 grams of fat, and 5 grams of saturated fats.

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Totino’s Pizza Rolls Pepperoni

Swap For: Mini-Mozzarella-and-Kale Pizzas 

At first glance six of these pizza rolls are slightly lower in calories than three of our mini pizzas, but here’s why we recommend our version: The whole wheat pitas, baby kale, reduced-fat cheese, and cherry tomatoes give you 5 grams of fiber plus 8 grams more protein. That means it will feel way more satiating—so less grazing after.

Photo: Christopher Testani

Archer Farms Southwest Style Chicken Egg Rolls

Swap For: “Spring Roll” Pot Stickers

Compare a plate of two chicken egg rolls to three of our stunning pot stickers, and we know which we would choose before we even check the nutrition facts. Need more of a reason to swap? Our recipe saves 31 calories, 2 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, and 240mg of sodium. That’s a big win.

Photo: Greg Dupree

Archer Farms Parmesan Cheese Puff Pastry Wrapped Mini Uncured Beef Hot Dogs

Swap For: Cheesy Sausage Roll-Ups 

Turkey sausage, Mexican cheese blend, and jalapeno slices scream delicious in our book. Compare this recipe to the package and you’ll see you save 57 calories, 6 grams of fat, and 2.5 grams of saturated fat per roll. And we know you’re not stopping at just one of these spicy bites.