Rooting for your team is fun, but thinking about what you eat while watching the game and the commercials is just as important. According to USA Today, the Super Bowl is “only second behind Thanksgiving for the average amount of calories consumed in a day.”
Super Bowl day is prime time for forgetting about eating healthy. From high-fat dips to buffalo wings, it is an endless array of food, food, food and more food. Part of the fun, though, is to be able to snack during the game.
Revamp your old favorites by making them healthier and introducing a few new ideas into your menu. You’ll be able to root for your team without going overboard on fat, calories and salt.
Here are some ideas for doing just that:
The standard bowls of potato chips, tortilla chips and high-fat dips don’t deserve a place in your healthy lineup of snacks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy chips and dip.
- Skip creamy artichoke and spinach dips in favor of hummus, which pairs well with baked pita chips.
- Mash fresh avocados with tomatoes, onions, jalapenos and lime juice for a potassium-rich guacamole that pairs well with baked tortilla chips.
- Puree low-sodium canned beans with olive oil and garlic powder for a dip rich in fiber and protein.
- Make a healthy ranch dip using low-fat sour cream and a reduced-sodium packet of ranch dip powder.
- Create a visually appealing layered dip with low-sodium mashed beans, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, low-fat sour cream and reduced-fat cheddar cheese.
Set out fruit and vegetable platters on your snack table. Fruits and vegetables are low in fat and calories but also supply potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A and fiber. You will be surprised at how guests reach for these snacks.
- Arrange grapes, berries, melon, apples and oranges on a plate and serve them with flavored low-fat yogurt for dipping.
- Make colorful vegetable kebabs by threading pieces of bell pepper, mushrooms, red onion and zucchini onto skewers.
Hot dogs, sausages and fried hot wings are common additions to a Super Bowl snack buffet, but they contain too much saturated fat and salt to be nutritious.
- Replace the fried wings with baked versions instead. Brush fresh chicken wings with a low-sodium sauce and bake them until they’re cooked through. Serve them with a low-fat ranch or bleu cheese dressing.
- Replace the wings with chicken tenders as an even healthier alternative.
- Roast a turkey breast ahead of time, cut it into thick slices and serve it with whole-wheat bread and sandwich fixings.
- If you can’t pass up the hot dogs and sausages, look for reduced-fat and low-sodium varieties to keep the snack as healthy as possible.
Cut a small slit in several large jalapenos and stuff the cavities with low-fat cream cheese. Close the slit in the jalapenos using toothpicks. Dip the peppers in beaten egg and then roll them in finely crushed bread crumbs. Bake the peppers until they are golden brown for a healthier take on traditional jalapeno poppers.
Air-popped popcorn seasoned with chili powder, garlic powder, cinnamon or Parmesan cheese is a snack high in fiber.
Make sweet potato fries. Cut raw sweet potatoes into wedges or strips, drizzle them with olive oil and roast them until they are golden brown and soft. Season the fries with garlic powder and black pepper or sprinkle them with cinnamon for a sweet version.
Make a batch of chili and serve it in baked tortilla cups and low-fat cheddar cheese for a snack high in fiber and protein.
Here are some of my favorites:
Roasted Eggplant Spread
Makes 1½ Cups
- 1 large eggplant, cut lengthwise into quarters
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 clove garlic finely grated
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- Toasted sesame seed
Preheat the oven to 475°F.
Place eggplant on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until lightly charred and very tender, 20–25 minutes; let cool slightly. Chop eggplant (skin and all) until almost a paste.
Mix eggplant in a medium bowl with garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, tahini, and cumin; season with salt and pepper. Top with sesame seeds and serve with pita bread or baked pita chips.
Easy Red Pepper Hummus
Serve with pita chips.
- 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
- One 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
- 1/3 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers, drained
With the processor running, drop garlic through the feed tube and mince. Scrape down the sides of the work bowl. Add chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, salt and lemon juice; process until mixture is smooth.
Add roasted peppers and process until peppers are finely chopped. Transfer hummus to serving bowl. (Can be made 1 day ahead.) Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.
For homemade pita chips:
Cut 8 whole-wheat pita breads into triangles. Place pita triangles on large baking sheets and spray the surface with olive oil cooking spray. Season each with garlic salt. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in a 400 degree F oven, until golden brown and crisp.
Serve with baked tortilla chips
- 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
- 1/2 cup frozen corn, defrosted
- 1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Put all ingredients into a serving bowl, toss well. Chill in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving..
Baked Tortilla Chips
- 12 corn tortillas
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Cut each tortilla into 6 wedges.
Arrange the wedges in a single layer on non-stick baking sheets. Lightly spray the chips with oil and sprinkle with chili powder, salt and pepper.
Bake the chips until lightly browned and crisp, 15 minutes. Make sure not to let them burn. Cool and store in an airtight container.
- 1 1/4 pounds boneless New York Strip Steak (or steak of choice)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 large plum tomatoes (1/2 cup), seeded and chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped sweet onion
- 2 teaspoons crumbled blue cheese
- 18 baguette slices (3/4 of a large French baguette)
Season steaks with salt and pepper.
Grill steaks, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350°F to 400°F) about 8 to 10 minutes on each side.
Place steak on the rack of a broiler pan. Broil 3 to 5 inches from heat for 6 to 8 minutes on each side.
Let cool and thinly slice.
Combine basil, rosemary and sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor. Scrap into a medium bowl. Stir in fresh tomatoes, onion and blue cheese.
Arrange baguette slices on a lightly greased baking sheet. Top with steak; spoon tomato mixture evenly over the bread slices.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cheese melts and the bread is lightly toasted.
Fennel and Prosciutto Flatbread
- 1 pound pizza dough
- 2 fennel bulbs
- 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
- 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded Italian fontina cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1 tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Remove pizza dough from the refrigerator and let stand covered, at room temperature, 30 minutes or until ready to use.
Trim and discard the root ends of the fennel bulbs. Trim the stalks from the bulbs and chop fronds to equal 2 teaspoons.
Thinly slice fennel bulbs lengthwise and place on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle with thyme and oregano.
Bake at for 35 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
Cook prosciutto in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until browned and crisp. Break prosciutto into large pieces.
Turn the pizza dough out on a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 17 x 13 inch rectangle (about 1/4 inch thick).
Place the dough rectangle on a lightly greased (with cooking spray) baking sheet. Brush the dough with the remaining ½ tablespoon of olive oil.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the crust from the oven. Turn on the broiler.
Top the baked crust with fontina cheese, fennel slices and prosciutto. Broil 1 minute. Sprinkle with dried crushed red pepper, reserved chopped fennel fronds and the coarse sea salt.
Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Cut into small squares and serve.
Mediterranean Chicken Kabobs
- Small (6 inch) flat metal or bamboo skewers
- 1-1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1 x 1 x 1/2 inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1-1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Place the chicken in a large nonreactive mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons each of the mint, cilantro and parsley, salt, cumin, turmeric and pepper. Stir to mix. Stir in the oil.
Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for 1 hour.
Thread the chicken onto skewers so that the flat side of the chicken will be exposed to the fire.
Set up a grill for direct grilling and preheat it to high. Or preheat the broiler.
When ready to cook, oil the grill grate or oil the broiler pan.
Arrange the chicken kabobs on the grill or under the broiler. Cook until golden brown, about 4 to 6 minutes per side.
Place the kabobs on a serving platter and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon each of mint, cilantro and parsley.