Winning Super Bowl bites

While NFL hot shots are working hard to win the Lombardi trophy, enthusiastic viewers will be working hard to tackle the Super Bowl buffet. However, unlike the players who are acutely aware of their performance, most of the 100 million Americans who tune in to watch the game will be paying little attention to their score of nutrition penalties. Registered Dietitian Patricia Bannan, author of “Eat Right When Time is Tight,” offers some healthier versions of your favorite football fare




    Next time you pick up a chip, go for the guac.  Loaded with healthy fats and fresh herbs, this dip is a crowd pleaser that leaves processed canned dips in the dust. One-fifth of a Hass avocado has 50 calories and 20 different vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Hass avocados also contribute good fat to the diet and are sodium-free. Make your own with ripe avocados, minced onion, chopped chilies, tomatoes, cilantro, lemon and lime juice and salt and pepper, or choose an all-natural, pre-made guac with the same simple ingredients.


    Portobello Pizza

    Americans will eat 30 million slices of pizza during the game, and while most people know that a thick-crust meat pizza has more fat and calories than a thin-crust veggie pizza, the degree of difference may shock you.  A slice of meat-lovers deep dish pizza has three times the fat—about 20 grams of fat per slice—as compared to the thin-crust veggie pizza.  Better yet, make your own pizza with a whole-wheat crust, marinara sauce and reduced-fat cheeses.  Top with numerous vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and hearty mushrooms like Portobello. It’s practically a salad!


    Sweet Potato Skins

    Rather than the traditional potato skins loaded with cheese, sour cream and bacon, try a lighter version made with sweet potatoes.  Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A and fiber, especially if you leave on the skins. To help you absorb the vitamin A, you actually should eat them with a few grams of fat. Bake the sweet potato skins and top with a little butter, light sour cream and shredded mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle some finely chopped chives on top, and your guests will tackle the plate.


    Lean Beef Chili The standard ingredients in chili are actually good for you, no substitutions needed.  Beans and veggies are loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals.  Men will cheer when they hear that you don’t need to add tofu or ground chicken to make it healthy, lean beef works just fine.  A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that a diet including lean beef every day is as effective in lowering total and LDL “bad” cholesterol as the gold standard heart-healthy DASH diet.  Touchdown for your ticker!


    Chicken  Wings are a Super Bowl staple, and Americans will eat about 90 million pounds during the Super Bowl.  Each fried wing with sauce had more than 100 calories, mostly from fat.  To cut the fat but not the flavor, use chicken tenders and broil or grill them to make chicken kabobs.  Top with a side of hot sauce or BBQ sauce instead of a traditional creamy blue cheese dressing, and you’ll save about 10 grams of fat per wing.


    Pistachios Snacking is a must during the game, so try in-shell pistachios. Unlike pretzels, pistachios are packed with protein and fiber, plus they come in the shell. Research shows that the pistachio shells actually slow you down and provide a visual cue, so people eat about 30 percent less and feel just as satisfied. Look for them in fun party flavors, like chili & lime and garlic & onion.
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