Nutrition Column – Winning Tips for Your Super Bowl Party

Super Bowl Sunday is no longer just about football. It has evolved into a day that is as much about parties, friends, big televisions and food as it is about football.

This year, don’t let high-fat, high-calorie Super Bowl snacks fumble your healthy eating game plan. Whether you’re a host or a guest, develop a winning strategy before your Super Bowl party to help keep your snacking from going out of bounds.  

If you are hosting a party, with a little creativity and planning, you can serve healthy, lower-fat snacks that are just as tasty as traditional Super Bowl fare. For example:

– Arrange colorful raw vegetables on a platter with yogurt or cottage cheese dip. Include fresh sweet peppers, jicama and broccoli along with the usual carrots and celery.

– Make fruit kabobs with chunks of pineapple, melon and strawberries, or serve apple slices with low-fat caramel dip.

– Serve hummus with pita wedges instead of cheese and crackers.

– Create a homemade snack mix using whole-grain cereals, unsalted nuts, raisins, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and pretzels.

– Make nachos using low-fat cheese and baked chips.

– Prepare chili with extra-lean ground beef or low-fat ground turkey and lots of beans and tomatoes. Provide reduced-fat cheese and fat-free sour cream for garnish. If serving cornbread with the chili, make it with part whole-wheat flour and canola oil.

– Instead of chicken wings, make chicken tenders by dipping strips of skinless chicken breast in milk and seasoned bread crumbs. Bake in the oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with honey, mustard, ketchup or barbecue sauce.

– If serving sub sandwiches, use whole-wheat bread, low-fat mayonnaise, mustard, low-fat cheese, turkey breast and lots of veggies such as sliced tomatoes, onions, grated carrots, pickles, sliced cucumbers, sprouts, mushrooms and roasted red peppers.

– If ordering pizza, go light on the cheese and ask for extra veggies rather than pepperoni, sausage, Canadian bacon or ground beef.

– For beverages, offer water and fruit juice. If you choose to provide beer, serve the lighter version of your favorite brand.

   If you’re attending a super bowl party, rather than hosting one, try these tips to help stick to your eating plan:

– Eat a small meal before going to the party. Arriving at a party hungry often leads to overeating.

– When you arrive, chat with the host and other guests before the game rather than heading straight to the food.

– If you’re bringing a snack to the party, choose one that is healthy as well as delicious, such as a vegetable or fruit platter.

– Use a small plate for your food. It may help you eat less.

– Pace yourself while snacking. Avoid letting the tempo of the game dictate your eating pattern.

– Sit away from the food to avoid mindless munching.

– If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

Above all, enjoy the game!

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by Pat Kendall, Ph.D., R.D., Food Science and Human Nutrition Specialist, Colorado State University, Cooperative Extension