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Easy Appetizers to Prepare for a Sweet 16

by Kathryn Walsh, studioD

Teenagers, especially boys, can eat a tremendous amount of food, so you must be prepared with a variety of appetizers as soon as guests start showing up at your child's Sweet 16. Although you want to make all the guests happy, your teen is the center of attention so make sure she'll enjoy each dish you make. Make only finger foods so guests can mingle and flirt easily.

Fruits and Veggies

They'll enjoy plenty of not-so-healthy treats as the party goes on, so starting off with fruits and veggies ensures each teen gets at least a few vitamins. Provide an assortment of raw veggies such as cherry tomatoes, sliced radishes, broccoli, bell peppers and carrots. Arrange the veggies around a selection of creamy dips and spreads. Slice up apples, pineapple, and oranges and arrange them on a platter along with toothpicks so guests don't have to grab slippery slices. If simple fruit isn't tempting enough for your birthday child, dress it up by adding fondue. Melt chocolate with some heavy cream and put it in a crock pot set to a low heat so it stays warm.


You'll have a hard time finding a 16-year-old who doesn't love pizza. This treat turns from entree to appetizer if you cut each pie into bite-sized squares. Cover store-bought pizza crusts with sauce and cheese and cover each pizza with a different assortment of toppings. Pizza gets cold and unappetizing quickly, so these appetizers are best for parties thrown at your home. Keep a platter of bites warming in the oven and bring out a new tray every 10 minutes. Or, make cold pizzas by spreading ranch-seasoned cream cheese on a pita. Top with pepperoni, mushrooms and cheese.


Mixed nuts are one of the simplest appetizers you can make, and as a bonus you can make them days ahead of time. Buy a variety of nuts like peanuts, walnuts, and almonds from the bulk section of your grocery store. Make a sweet mix by dusting the nuts with brown sugar and cinnamon, or toss the nuts with a mixture of red pepper and cumin for a spicy mixture. For a savory treat, sprinkle the nuts with a ranch seasoning mix. Toast the nuts in the oven until they're just starting to turn brown. Mix in some pretzel twists for extra crunch.


Bruschetta is a slightly grown-up type of appetizer -- so the teenagers will feel like adults eating it -- yet the dish takes minutes to prepare. Slice baguettes into half-inch slices, rub them with garlic and toast them in the oven. Cover them with chopped roasted red peppers or a mixture of chopped tomatoes and basil. Bruschetta should be prepared within a few hours of the party starting, but can be served at room temperature so you won't need to worry about reheating.

About the Author

Cooking, travel and parenting are three of Kathryn Walsh's passions. She makes chicken nuggets during days nannying, whips up vegetarian feasts at night and road trips on weekends. Her work has appeared to The Syracuse Post-Standard and insider magazine. Walsh received a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.

Photo Credits

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