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Articles February 2017 Issue

6 Winning Super Bowl Snack Ideas

The big game doesn't have to derail your healthy eating plan.

Claimed to be the second largest eating extravaganza next to Thanksgiving, the Super Bowl is infamous for indulgent fare such as pizza, fried hot wings, chips, rich dips, sugary sodas and beer. As with any food-centric celebration, it's wise to have a game plan of what you'll eat, especially if you're watching your weight or managing a health condition.

"If you're hosting a Super Bowl party, provide a variety of options, including some choices that are lower in calories since people will be sitting around for about four hours grazing but doing very little activity except cheering for their favorite team," says Jeanne P. Goldberg, PhD, a professor at Tufts' Friedman School and director of the Nutrition Communication Program. "It can help to offer food in small portions and plan a progression of food offerings [perhaps starting with lighter items], instead of putting out everything at once." This also ensures perishable food doesn't sit out too long - no more than two hours. Not sure what to serve or bring to a party? Goldberg suggests:

1. Crunch smarter.

Offer popcorn, a whole-grain food. Spritz air-popped kernels with garlic-infused olive oil, then toss with grated Parmesan cheese and sprinkle with black pepper. Or, serve pistachios in the shell to slow eating.

2. Offer lite dips.

Swap a sour cream dip, which offers little nutrition, with a dip made from low-fat plain Greek yogurt, chopped garlic, minced green onions and herbs, such as dill. Pair with fresh veggies.

Mushroom Caps

Dreamstime.com

Stuffed mushrooms are easy-to-make, small bites.

3. Impress with stuffed mushrooms.

Make stuffing by sautéing chopped onions, mushroom stems and garlic in olive oil with seasonings such as thyme and oregano, then add dried whole-wheat bread crumbs. Use the mixture to fill white mushroom caps. Top with grated Parmesan or mozzarella cheese and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit about 15 minutes.

4. Swap kabobs for wings.

Cut skinned chicken thighs or breasts into small chunks and marinate 2 hours, such as in reduced-sodium teriyaki sauce. Put chicken on short wooden skewers (presoak and wrap ends with foil to prevent burning) and broil until cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes, turning once or twice.

5. Treat with fruit.

Puree berries (fresh or frozen, slightly defrosted) in a blender, then swirl into plain Greek yogurt. Offer it as a dip for fresh fruit, such as bite-size pieces of pineapple, apples and kiwi.

6. Provide a choice of beverages.

Although many guests will expect to see soda and beer, people can pace themselves if there are other options, such as bottles of unsweetened carbonated or sparkling water infused with fruit flavors.

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