3 Super Bowl snack swaps that cut the salt

The Super Bowl is around the corner, which means it’s snack time. Since the new government guidelines suggest Americans cut their daily sodium intake to about one teaspoon— and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 9 out of 10 adults eat too much of the salty stuff— it’s time to rethink your favorite game day noshing.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) guidelines recommend choosing low-sodium versions of products, sticking to fresh vegetables without added sauces and cooking at home to control the sodium content of your meals. They also advise Americans to start flavoring their foods with herbs and spices instead of salt.

But can you really enjoy all the big game snacks without going over the limit?

Culinary expert and Bravo’s “Top Chef” judge Gail Simmons teamed up with spice and seasonings leader McCormick & Company to share some of her favorite low-salt recipe swaps that won’t leave you feeling guilty the next day.

Black Bean and Avocado Salsa vs. Queso con Salsa Dip

According to the Snack Food Association, Americans will eat about 8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips while watching the Super Bowl. And with a single serving (seven chips) of original Tostitos clocking in 115mg of sodium, plus dollops of your favorite salt-laden cheese dips, the sodium total can add up quickly.

“Tortilla chips have a ton of salt, so get a reduced sodium tortilla chip,” Simmons told FoxNews.com. “But you can also make a much healthier salsa, which is a black bean and avocado salsa. [It] has orange juice and cumin [and] you can add paprika or cayenne. It’s fresh, it’s delicious and you know that it’s packed with flavor.”

SKIP: Queso con Salsa Dip (Tostitos) = 280mg sodium per 2 tablespoons

SWAP: Black Bean and Avocado Salsa = 30mg sodium per 2 tablespoons

Total sodium savings: 250mg

Easy Cheesy Vegetable Quesadillas vs. Chicken Quesadillas

A typical quesadilla stuffed with meat and cheese has more than half your recommended daily allowance of sodium. On top of the sky-high fat content from fried or sautéed meats, a vegetarian version is a much better option for your heart and overall health, Simmons said.

The easy and cheesy quesadilla is packed with veggies; you still have the Monterey jack in there and you can serve it with salsa or pico de gallo. There’s vegetable seasoning in it and you can add things like thyme or basil; you can add cilantro in there– lots of flavor, none of the salt,” Simmons added.

SKIP: Quick Chicken Quesadillas (Betty Crocker) = 1,360mg

SWAP: Easy Cheesy Vegetable Quesadillas = 416mg sodium

Total sodium savings: 250mg

Buffalo Cauliflower with Light Blue Cheese Dip vs. Buffalo Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dip

According to the National Chicken Council, Americans will chow down on roughly 1 billion chicken wings on Super Bowl Sunday.

I have a weakness for chicken wings, but chicken wings sometimes have 1,700 milligrams of salt in them per serving alone. So I’ve made a version that’s a buffalo-style roasted cauliflower with all that buffalo flavor and way less salt,” Simmons said.

You can also serve this meatless rendition with Simmons’ low-fat cheese dip made with fat-free Greek yogurt to cut back on high calorie and fat counts too.

SKIP:  Buffalo Chicken Wings & Blue Cheese Dip= 1714mg sodium, 10 wings with 2 tablespoons of dip

SWAP: Buffalo Cauliflower & Light Blue Cheese Dip= 185mg sodium, ¼ cup cauliflower & 5 tablespoons of dip

Total sodium savings= 1,529mg

Gail Simmons’ Crispy Buffalo-Style Roasted Whole Cauliflower with Low-Fat Blue Cheese Dip:

Ingredients (serves 4)

For the Cauliflower:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick Perfect Pinch Salt Free Fiesta Citrus Seasoning 
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Red (Cayenne) Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 head cauliflower, cleaned, leaves removed and stem trimmed flush with the bottom of the head  

For the Blue Cheese Dip:

  • 1 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, like Stilton
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground McCormick Black Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Pinch McCormick Ground Red (Cayenne) Pepper  


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together butter, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, Fiesta Citrus Seasoning, cayenne and garlic powder.
  • Place whole cauliflower on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush it all over with 3/4 of the spice mixture. Roast in oven for 25 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make the dip: In a mixing bowl, stir together all dip ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes, or until ready to use.
  • Remove cauliflower from oven, baste with remaining spice mixture and roast for an additional 20 minutes, until tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Serve with Blue Cheese Dip, carrot, celery and cucumber sticks.

For more tips and low-sodium recipes visit McCormick.com/lowsodium.

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