Dips are popular fare, but many are filled with empty calories - for example, sour cream, cream cheese or mayonnaise spiked with seasonings.
Just 2 tablespoons of some dips contain more than 100 calories and 10 grams of fat, so even if you dip vegetables instead of chips, calories can stack up fast.
But healthier options can give you flavor along with vegetables and protein.
Here are three favorites adapted from Cooking Light.
Fresh basil, garlic and shredded Parmesan add punch to the Spinach-Parmesan Dip. Light sour cream tastes better than yogurt. You can have 1/4 cup for 62 calories and 5 fat grams.
The Tomato-Feta Dip is delicious with toasted French bread. A touch of olive oil enhances the taste and texture.
A -cup serving contains 65 calories and 5 fat grams.
Cooking Light's Crunchy Crab Dip includes fat-free sour cream and fat-free Thousand Island dressing, but light sour cream and reduced-calorie dressing add a lot more flavor for just a few extra calories. A -cup serving has 72 calories and 3 grams of fat.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saut one minute. Add salt and spinach and saut three minutes. At first, the spinach will seem to overflow in the skillet, but keep stirring. It reduces in volume as it wilts. Place spinach mixture in a colander and press until moisture is drained from spinach.
Put spinach, basil, cream cheese and pepper in a food processor and process until smooth. Spoon spinach mixture into a medium bowl and add sour cream and Parmesan. Cover and chill.
Makes 2 cups. Serves 8.
PER SERVING:Calories 62 Fat 5g Cholesterol 10 mg Sodium 227mgFiber3g Carbohydrates 2 g Protein 3 g
Combine sour cream and cream cheese in a large bowl and stir with a whisk until smooth. Stir in celery, chives, dressing and salt. Gently fold in crabmeat.
Makes about 3 cups. Serves 12.
PER SERVING:Calories 72 Fat 3 g Cholesterol 22 mg Sodium 269mg Trace fiberCarbohydrates 1 g Protein 4 g
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Combine first five ingredients in a bowl. Sprinkle feta cheese evenly in a small, shallow baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with tomato mixture. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve with toasted bread slices.
Makes about 2 cups. Serves 8.
PER SERVING: Calories 65
Fat 5 g No cholesterolSodium 369mg Trace fiberCarbohydrates 2 g Protein 2 g