The big game doesn't have to mean a big gain.
Whether you tune in to the Super Bowl for the game, the half-time entertainment or the commercials, one fact is certain about Sunday’s festivities – food is a must-have.
But your Super Bowl party menu does not have to focus on fat-laden, calorie-heavy, saturated-in-sugar snacks. Susan Mills-Gray, a nutrition and health specialist for the University of Missouri Extenstion Office, says Super Bowl chefs should focus on ways to reduce the fat, sodium and sugar in their famous recipes.
“There are so many small, practical ways to reduce the amount of sugar fat and sodium in a recipe to turn it into a healthier version without affecting the taste,” Mills-Gray says. “If you can get the fat reduced by 40 to 50 percent, you have made a big difference.”
Mills-Gray suggests using alternative items like reduced fat dairy items.
While some Super Bowl musts are a little harder to recreate with alternatives – think lil smokies – Mills-Gray says offering a healthy item as well will keep party-goers from loading up on the lil smokies.
With Mills-Gray’s help, here is The Examiner’s Top 10 healthy Super Bowl foods:
10 Serve fruits and veggies. The bright colors and aromas of fruits and veggies, Mills-Gray says, will draw people’s taste buds to the healthier side of the table, inticing them to fill up on low-calorie items a little more.
9 Serve diet soft drinks or tonic water for hard liquor mixers. Mills-Gray says fruit juices are also an option but warns they rack up the calories quickly.
8 Serve wine and/or light beer. The average glass of wine is about 20 calories per one ounce, while a bottle of beer has about 150 calories, Mills-Gray says.
“So a glass of wine will be about 100 versus a beer at 150 calories,” Mills-Gray says.
7 Serve thin crust pizza loaded with veggies and hold the meat. This goes back to finding different ways to cut calories. Thinner crust pizza with veggies will offer fewer calories than thick crust topped in all meats.
6 Serve baked sweet potatoes as wedges or chips. This is a favorite snack in Mills-Gray’s house and another way to attract attention to healthy side of the table.
5 Serve lightly salted almonds, walnuts and pecans. Nuts are rich in fiber and a good source of protein, which make them a healthier option for snacking.
4 Serve fresh salsa rather than fat-laden dips. Mills-Gray says salsas are fat free and lower in calories.
“Tomatoes are a rich source of Lypocene,” Mills-Gray says.
3 Choose baked over fried. Mills-Gray suggests this is an easy way to reduce the number of calories guests will eat.
“All attemps you make will make a huge difference,” Mills-Gray says.
2 Substitute low fat/fat free yogurt for sour cream in recipes. You don’t have to go completely fat free, Mills-Grays says. If the reduced fat version tastes better than the fat free, Mill-Gray says go with the fat free.
“There has to be a happy medium,” Mills-Gray says. “If it doesn’t taste good, people won’t eat it.”
1 Choose low fat varieties of sour cream, cream cheese and mayonnaise for recipes. This is a good way to take what Mills-Gray calls a “comfort food” – popular at Super Bowl parties – that everyone likes to snack on and make it just a little bit healthier without laying the fat on your guests.