No matter what team you are rooting for, Super Bowl Sunday is a fun, festive, food-filled day. If you are planning a party for the Big Game, you could go one of three ways: Unhealthy, Healthy, or somewhere in-between. If you are opting for the second or third option, there are a lot of little tweaks to make the Big Game festive and fun, as well as tasty AND healthy. Here are some easy healthy swaps to consider for the Big Game:
- Chip Swap: Doritos, potato chips, tortilla chips, oh my! What Super Bowl party does NOT have chips as part of its snacking lineup? This year, go with Food Should Taste Good's Jalapeno or Lime flavored multi-grain chips, for a healthy, yet flavorful accompaniment to dips and salsa. They are very higher in fiber and protein, and lower in fat than your average potato chip. Moreover, they are made with all-natural, easy to pronounce, highly familiar ingredients.
- Bagged Popcorn Swap: Air popped popcorn is a much healthier option than your traditional bagged popcorn. Try seasoning it with some chili pepper or red-pepper flakes to give it an extra spicy flavor. If you don't have an air popper, pop corn on your stove top in a big pot. Use a little bit of canola oil in the bottom of the pot, cover, and shake often to avoid burning.
- Chili Swap: Chili is a mainstay of Super Bowl parties. Make yours healthier than the traditional, by opting for a bean-based vegetarian chili. Beans offer tons of protein, nutrients and fiber. If, however, your guests are meat lovers, make turkey chili with 99% fat-free ground turkey. 99% fat-free ground turkey is much leaner than traditional ground beef. Be sure to include kidney beans, green peppers and onions to ensure a well-balanced meal that is high in fiber.
- Sour Cream Swap: Onion dips, nachos and other recipes that call for sour-cream can be made with fat-free Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is a much higher quality food. It is higher in protein and is creamier than sour cream...especially non-fat sour cream.
- Party Mix Swap: Although party mixes can be fun and an easy snack, they aren't always the healthiest. Instead, try this easy recipe for Garbanzo Nuts: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix can of rinsed chickpeas with 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon of cumin powder and 3 teaspoons of fresh garlic. Spray light coating of canola oil onto cookie sheet. Spread beans in a single layer onto the cookie sheet and bake for about 40 minutes, or until they are crisp. (Recipe from Get Real and Stop Dieting!)
- Cheese Swap: Skip the cheese for the Big Game, and make some fresh hummus, or buy some to serve with whole wheat crackers. Also, use low-fat shredded cheese on pizza, nachos, and other dishes that call for cheese.
- Chicken Wing Swap: Chicken wings are loaded with fat and grease. Swap them out with chicken fingers using skinless chicken breast strips, dipped in milk and seasoned with whole grain bread crumbs (well crumbed). Bake at 425 for about 10 minutes or until done. Serve with spicy mustard sauce, honey mustard, or barbecue sauce.
- Soda Swap: Juice and soda are full of sugar. But juice spritzers are a flavorful way of cutting back on the calories, keeping things festive, and getting some flavor. If you don't want to make them yourself (all it takes is about 1/3 cup of juice and 2/3 cup of club soda) Also, try Izze brand natural sodas which come in great, tasty flavors.
- Guacamole Swap: Although guacamole is filled with lots of healthy fat, it is easy to overdo it during the game. Try black bean salsa (get the recipe here) instead which is hearty and flavorful, but lower in fat.
- Sub Swap: A sub or hero, depending on what part of the country you're from, is an easy crowd-pleaser for the Big Game. Choose a whole wheat or whole grain bread, and lower sodium and lower fat meats, such as turkey breast. Avoid high fat meats such as salami and bologna. Add fresh veggies to the sub, such as pepper strips, sprouts, tomatoes, mushrooms and onions. Stay away from mayo and instead, go with mustard or oil and vinegar. If you are having a smaller crowd, have a "create your own" sandwich bar and put all of these ingredients out for them to choose on their own.
Are you planning on making Super Bowl Sunday a little healthier this year?