Think Beyond the Veggie Platter

By Kim Beavers, MS, RD, LD, CDE


Every year I am asked to address healthy holiday eating. Talking about nutrition and the impact food has on health is something I enjoy, but the “healthy holiday” topic gets a little old.

One of the most common recommendations for how to handle multiple holiday parties and still eat healthfully is to “bring a vegetable platter.” To be clear, I am not against the vegetable platter, but let’s be honest. I’ve been to many holiday parties and that plate of veggies is not what partygoers flock to on the food table. Does that mean that dietitians or health-minded folks everywhere should just throw up their hands in defeat? Of course not. However, it does mean that people want good-tasting healthy foods, not the last-minute grab-and-go emergency food. And while we are on that subject the grab-and-go emergency junk foods (think iced cookies with generous amounts of food coloring) are also less than appealing.

The solution to non-boring and sought-after, delicious healthy food is to pick a recipe that uses healthy ingredients. That is what I have done for you with the Turkey Pita Bites recipe. This recipe uses lean meat, veggies and whole grains. It is healthy, and will be much better received than the standard veggie tray.

Options for when you must do the “grab-and-go” appetizer:
• Cooked shrimp
• Hummus—with veggies or good-quality corn chips.
• Yogurt-based artichoke dip—with veggies or good-quality corn chips.
• Nuts and dried fruit (think pistachios and dried cranberries).
• Cut up fresh fruit. (When I take fruit to a party I leave with an empty bowl.)
• Kale salad kits from the produce section. (Kale salad works particularly well in an appetizer setting as kale holds up well.

Turkey Pita Bites
These make great snacks for the holiday or gameday table!

4 6-inch whole wheat pitas
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
16 ounces lean ground turkey
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
½ cup nonfat sour cream
2 medium tomatoes, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Use a pizza cutter to slice each pita round into 4 wedges. Separate the wedges into 2-chip pieces and place them on a baking sheet. Spray them with vegetable oil cooking spray and bake for 5-6 minutes on the first side. Flip them and bake for an additional 2-3 minutes on the second side.

Add olive oil to a non-stick skillet and place over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 3 minutes until, onions are translucent. Add turkey, cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder and salt to the turkey and cook until the turkey is done. Add cilantro and cook about 1 additional minute.

To serve place pita wedges on a platter and evenly distribute meat over the chips, top with tomatoes and a dab of sour cream. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro. (Alternately, you can serve the meat in a bowl with chips on the side.)

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 2 pita chips)

Nutrition breakdown: Calories 90, Fat 1.5g (0g saturated fat, 0.5g monounsaturated fat), Cholesterol 12mg, Sodium 150mg, Potassium 118mg, Carbohydrate g12, Fiber 2g, Protein 9g.

Kim’s Note:
You can divide the Turkey Pita Bites on two platters. Serve one platter and keep the other platter in the oven on low until you are ready for it. Add tomatoes and sour cream once you take it out of the oven, just before serving.


Kim Beavers is a Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Educator for University Health Care System. She lives in North Augusta with her husband and two children and she is the co-host of the culinary nutrition segment Eating Well with Kim, which airs at noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday on WRDW. To be notified of new recipes join Kim’s facebook fan page at To search for specific recipes go to You can also watch the segments at

This article appears in the Dec-Jan 2017 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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