It’s almost Super Bowl Sunday, and that means football, commercials and lots of food.
If you haven’t abandoned your New Year’s resolution to eat healthy, or simply want to avoid overindulging that day, local nutrition experts say there are several alternatives that allow you to enjoy the spectacle without feeling like the losing team.
Upon arriving at a party, it’s likely one of the first things you see — the spread.
Having a table full of food is a great way to try a little bit of everything, but nutritionists say it’s also an easy way to fill up on calories and fat — fast.
If hosting a party, Terri Sakelaris, a registered dietitian/nutritionist with Community Hospital Diabetes Center, recommends making your table look colorful and interesting with foods that allow guests to stay committed to their resolutions.
“Putting out loads of roasted vegetables, smashed garlicky cauliflower or smashed parsnips is another great way to get filled up on new, interesting food rather than chips, high-fat dip and processed foods,” she says.
If watching your carbs, Sakelaris says there’s several recipes available for traditional football foods, including chicken wings, enchiladas and dips. Look for websites that focus on living with diabetes to find these low-carb options, she said.
Want to make a splash at a party? Bring a slaw made with an unusual flavored vinegar, such as vanilla, chocolate, chipotle or lemongrass.
“Or bring a salad that has Thai spices,” Sakelaris says. “One recipe I found had thinly sliced cucumbers, grapefruit and a spice.”
If you’re at home watching the game, munch on pretzels, baked chips or brands like Sun Chips versus higher-fat snacks and chips, says Kelly Devine Rickert, a Franciscan WELLCARE registered dietitian health coach and spokeswoman for the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
“Use nonfat Greek yogurt or fat-free sour cream in recipes for your favorite chip dip,” she says. “Or, use some garlic hummus instead of mayo, cream cheese or full-fat cheese in dips.”
Bake your wings instead of buying breaded or fried ones, and satisfy your cravings throughout the game by munching on veggies with hummus or a lower-calorie dip.
“This keeps you from snacking on higher calorie foods the whole game,” Devine Rickert says.
Even desserts you serve at a party or to your family can have a healthy twist, such as fruit kabobs with chocolate fondue, Sakelaris says.
“You could even make two dips — one milk chocolate and the other dark chocolate,” she says.
Whether bringing a dish to a party or staying at home, simply switching out the type of meat you use in a dish can instantly improve the nutritional content.
“Use leaner meats such as lean ground beef or turkey versus higher fat ones like 80 percent ground beef, sausage and pepperoni,” Devine Rickert said.
Ordering pizza? Opt for the veggie pizza, Devine Rickert advises. You’ll save calories and get some of your recommended veggie intake for the day.
A turkey burger bar is another great way to load up on veggies and eat a healthier type of meat — while still enjoying a burger, Sakelaris says.
“I like to put a tray out that is full of sliced avocado, onions, tomato and assorted cheeses that are flavorful, such as pepper jack, jalapeno, Gouda or crumbled feta,” she says. “When a cheese is very bold, we tend to use less.”
Sakelaris also includes several types of condiments, such as honey mustard, Dijon, horseradish and various types of BBQ sauces.
“It is important to have good flavorful food so people feel satisfied,” she says. “When we eat so many processed, low-fat products, we may not feel full. This can lead us to overeat chips, sweets and other foods.”