Super Bowl watchers fall into two categories: first, there are the football fans that actually watch the game, and then there are those like me, who busy themselves during game time but run to the sofa to watch the commercials. Regardless of your Super Bowl type, there’s one thing we all have in common: food.
What do you think about when you think of Super Bowl food? Buffalo wings, pizza, chips, dips? Really anything covered in sauce, filled with fat, and dusted with salt.
Here are some no-fail tips on maintaining traditional Super Bowl snacks without consuming a week’s worth of calories.
Chips & Dips
– Stick with any baked chip. Personally, I think they taste better and they have less fat. My favorite brands are Food Should Taste Good and Mary’s Gone Crackers.
– Don’t leave the bag out! Use those bowls and dishes you haven’t used since Thanksgiving. Not only will your table look pretty, but you’ll also be less inclined to eat the entire bag.
– Offer fruit and vegetables. Try a platter of mixed fruits with a side of Greek yogurt sweetened with cinnamon and honey. It’s a perfect match.
– Don’t blow your calories on high fat dips. Not only are most of them high in saturated fat, they are also filled with chemicals I can’t pronounce. Salsa is a perfect choice. Have as MUCH as you like with veggies! Or opt for homemade guacamole. Yes, avocados are high in fat, but it’s the good, healthy kind.
-Take-out Buffalo wings? With bleu cheese dressing? The only good thing about this dish is the celery that comes with it. As a replacement, try making your own chicken tenders. Grind almonds or use whole-wheat Panko breadcrumbs to coat the chicken then simply bake in the oven. Make a honey Dijon dressing dip and voilà! You just saved your arteries.
-Grinders and hoagies, hoagies and grinders. These sandwiches are mostly bread and skimp on the important protein and vegetables (FYI, Iceberg lettuce does not count as a vegetable in my book). Instead, try making turkey pinwheels with hummus, avocado, spinach, and peppers. Pile it all into a wrap, roll it up, and then slice up into small servings.
-I don’t have to tell you that downing three slices of pizza in addition to all the Buffalo wings and sandwiches is not advisable. Try limiting yourself to one slice—bonus points if you top with veggies. To make halftime more interactive, let people make their own pizza. Set out ingredients such as low fat mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, pesto, onions, olives, peppers, spinach, broccoli, and pepperoni. Let everyone make their own personal mini pie (it’s OK to have 2!) and bake for about 15 minutes in the oven. This is a favorite activity in my household.
– I’m not sure how chili became synonymous with the Super Bowl, but somewhere along the way that happened. I’m all for chili, yet most versions become unhealthy with the amount of meat added paired with the cheese and sour cream toppings. When making your own chili, try making a vegetarian version chock full of beans and vegetables. I promise it tastes like the real thing! If using meat, that’s OK, but add the beans and vegetables. As for toppings, stick with low fat cheese and Greek yogurt as a substitute for cheddar jack cheese and sour cream.
If you’ve followed my suggestions, then enjoy some dessert! It is a celebration and gathering, after all. If you’re feeling full but need something sweet, stick to the fruit with yogurt dipping sauce. It’s quite refreshing after a heavy meal.
If you’re going to make drinking a part of the game, that’s fine. Just drink responsibly and recognize that the more you drink, the lower your food inhibitions, meaning it will be more difficult to say no to the unhealthy food around you.
-If you’re hosting the party, prep as much as you can on Saturday or Sunday morning.
-Don’t go to a party hungry! Snack on an apple with nut butter or a small serving of cheese.
-Have a plan of attack. The football players do. If you know this is the one time of year you have Buffalo wings, then by all means, enjoy. But then be mindful of the other food around you and choose wisely.
Enjoy the game … and the commercials!
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