Thursday, February 2, 2012

Snacks: Super Bowl Edition.

With the Super Bowl quickly approaching, there's been a lot of talk about the food that is part of many parties.  There are four ways to approach this, that I can think of right this second.

The first? Eat whatever you want and not think about the consequences.  Not the healthiest option but probably the most realistic for many people.

Second? Eat whatever you want and then drive yourself crazy trying to make up for it later. Workout for six hours pre-game or pre-party. Burn as many calories as you can so you can eat just as many.  That is not a healthy option either.

Third? Eat the foods that are there, or the typical Super Bowl fare, but practice portion control.  Eat small amounts of the things you like.  Don't forget to acknowledge that you ate it! You could also workout earlier in the day, just because it's a good thing to do anyway!

Fourth? Prepare some dishes that aren't quite so bad. Go healthy! I love recipe makeovers. It's fun to experiment and see how things turn out, if you have time. I happen to think that this is the best option. Don't forget your exercise, unless it's your rest day!

Here are some ideas of things I'd make for a Super Bowl party if I were hosting or going to one, which I am not. I'll have my own party with my dogs, complete with water!

Some of the easiest snacks are very healthy.  Raw veggies and some kind of dip if you desire.  You can find all kinds of light dip recipes online.  There are some delicious dips based on yogurt. Hummus is also good for veggie dipping. You can use the dip for other snacks like baked pita chips or some crackers (reduced fat or whole wheat).  You can also get some baked tortilla chips, or eat regular tortilla chips in moderation (both in moderation, really) and make some guacamole and have salsa.

Another easy snack? Fruit kabobs.  Buy skewers, buy fresh fruit.  All you have to do is cut the fruit (unless you buy it pre-cut) and put it on the skewers. These are great alone, or with a yogurt-based fruit dip.  Speaking of kabobs, you can do grilled chicken and veggie kabobs, shrimp and pineapple with some peppers or mushrooms, or just veggies too! Kabobs are healthy and there are lots of possible combinations!

Another good idea is to make things that are usually unhealthy healthy.

Some of the top Super Bowl foods seem to be chili and wings, followed by sliders.

For chili, use ground turkey of extra lean ground beef instead of regular ground beef.  Or use chicken and make a chicken based chili.  You can save on sodium by buying low sodium or natural products.  Use as many fresh products as you can instead of using canned (like tomatoes). Buy a bag of beans and cook them, rather than using canned beans.  If you top your chili with cheese, buy reduced-fat or fat-free.  A few easy changes can make a huge difference.

Wings are an easy food to fix. Use your favorite hot sauce and bake them.  Baked over fried can make a word of difference.

Make sliders using ground turkey or extra lean ground beef, or even chicken! Make the burgers thinner than you would normally. Make them open-faced, eliminating the puffy top bun.  Use whole grain or whole wheat buns instead of white. Or pick up the thin buns, which I have not seen in slider size, so they'd be the size of a regular burger.

Other foods you can make are chicken or turkey strips or nuggets.  Again, find a healthier baked recipe rather than frying them.  I really like using panko breadcrumbs. I'm also a big fan of the wonton wrapper cheese sticks that I made last week.

Mixed nuts. Healthy, easy to arrange, and they have a good crunch.  I'm a big almond advocate, but other nuts can be good for you too.  Just be sure to eat them in moderation as they do have some sodium and the calories can add up quickly. Be mindful!

Pizza! Make your own! There are a lot of recipes for healthier versions of pizza.  You can use thin crusts, wheat crusts, unconventional crusts like low carb, low fat tortillas, reduced fat or fat-free cheese, natural ingredients to fight sodium, chicken is a good topping as is turkey pepperoni (really just watch your meats and don't put a lot on the pizza), and of course you can load it up with veggies. 

As far as desserts...I'd refer to Hungry Girl.  Actually, she has tons of made over recipes that are super yummy and would be great game snacks.

I'm a fan of fruit pizza for dessert. Make it with light, reduced fat, or fat-free ingredients, top it with fresh fruit, and enjoy a little bit! You can substitute egg beaters or just egg whites for whole eggs. Applesauce for oil.  PB2 (or chocolate PB2!) mixed with light or fat-free whipped topping makes a great frosting. 

Drinks! Naturally, drink in moderation.  Light beer, or the lower calorie beers better than full bodied beers.  Rum and diet soda is a good drink for carb-watchers.  Also, check out Hungry Girl. She has some awesome drink recipes. I absolutely love her Low-Cal Magical Margaritas (yum!).

Some of HG's margarita recipes.

Simple substitutions, healthy choices, and moderation are key when it comes to any big event.  If you're going to a party, eat something healthy before you go, so that you're full.  You might be less tempted to fill up on unhealthy foods.  Even if it's not a potluck style party, bring a healthy snack or two, just out of courtesy as well as to benefit yourself.  Always, always be mindful of your eating. Watch your portions. Be a geek and write down what, and how much you eat.  If you have the ability to track it in an online program or to figure out the calories, do it! It just takes a minute. Impress your friends with your healthy style of living!! Who knows, you might just become an example for someone else. 

Stay healthy and enjoy those parties!!


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