Instead of serving too many junk foods typically found at Super Bowl events, offer the following healthy alternatives sure to please any crowd! Read Part I for healthy chip and dip ideas.
Consider these Game-winning Substitutes
Serve popcorn instead of chip-like snacks (cheese curls, crackers, etc.).
Popcorn is a whole grain, which means more fiber and nutrients than in refined starches found in many crackers. Skip the movie-theater butter variety. Get plain, unflavored popcorn and add a little tasty fat and protein by sprinkling with parmesan or another type of cheese and tossing in a handful or two of nuts.
Include bowls of various nuts with shells instead of snacks like cookies, chips and other easy-to-grab items.
Peanuts are fine, but consider including walnuts, almonds or other harder shelled nuts. Don’t forget to provide guests with a few nutcrackers. This is a fun snack to eat, filled with healthy fats, fibers and protein (all of which help fill you up more quickly so you eat less overall). Also, because it requires a bit of work, you’re more likely to eat smaller portions.
If serving chili, add in plenty of beans, lentils, greens, and other veggies.
Include onions, mushrooms, peppers, zucchinis, spinach, kale, etc. These additions increase the nutrient density of the chili while also adding more flavors and textures that we enjoy but may have forgotten about.
Skip store-bought cakes and cookies and make your own dessert. Here’s one of my favorite recipes:
Cut a variety of fruits into bite-sized pieces and portion evenly onto wooden skewers. Serve alongside plain Greek yogurt for dipping. Plain Greek yogurt is pleasantly tart, which makes it a perfect complement to the natural sweetness of fruits like berries, oranges, pineapples, grapes, etc.
- On the side, serve dark chocolate squares or dark chocolate covered almonds.
- Include brownies cut into bite sized pieces on some of the fruit skewers.
Be smart with drinks.
Be sure to provide enticing alcohol alternatives that will appeal to your guests. Some ideas include:
- Chilled herbal teas. My favorites are raspberry, peppermint and peach, but there are many to choose from. Check out the grocery store aisle that has teas
- Pitchers of plain or sparkling water with chopped fruits tossed in. Strawberries, oranges/lemons, and other fruits give the water a strong fruit essence. It’s refreshing and will keep you hydrated without the unhealthy added sugars found in fruit juices, punches, lemonades, sodas and other sweet beverages.
If ordering food, choose the healthiest options:
- Order thin crust pizzas with plenty of veggie toppings.
- Order baked wings instead of fried, and serve with a home-made dip
Finally, remember that food is an important part of gatherings and celebrations, but not the most important. Don’t feel guilty if you over-indulge. If you do eat more than you should, do it mindfully (that means pay attention that you’re doing it – you’ll eat less this way). Check-in with your body and consider how physically hungry or full you are. If you’re not hungry, re-direct your attention to something more meaningful. Focus on the things that really matter, like watching and enjoying the game (and the commercials), and socializing!