5 Healthy Super Bowl Food Makeovers
Super Bowl Sunday gatherings don't usually include a lot of healthy food options, which can make this annual event a hurdle when it comes to maintaining your New Year's resolutions. And for those of us in Louisiana, the big game is at the same time of the year as Mardi Gras — making smart and responsible eating even more of a challenge!
So how should you approach your favorite dishes on game day? The truth is, there are plenty of ways to lighten up classic Super Bowl dishes without sacrificing flavor or fun. Here's a rundown of some of our favorite dishes and swaps to make things healthier.
Mix things up by serving sliders instead of full-size burgers! Stick with extra lean ground beef, turkey breast or bison to keep calories and saturated fat in check. Beyond Burger is a meatless option that is a good alternative for vegetarian guests. Here are some of our best and worst meatless burgers if you are looking for additional inspiration.
Serve your patties on mini whole-grain sandwich thins with a variety of topping options like guacamole, roasted red pepper relish and caramelized onions.
Your best bet is to make your own pizza using whole-grain crust rolled out so it's almost cracker-thin, or try one of the cauliflower crusts. Top it with low-sodium marinara or olive oil and garlic, and pile on veggies like wilted spinach, roasted tomatoes, portobello mushrooms and lean proteins like shrimp or chicken breast. Instead of mozzarella, a bolder option like goat cheese will slash sodium. You can also use less cheese without skimping on flavor.
If you're ordering pizza, similar recommendations apply. Request thin crust for about 40% fewer carbs, topped with red sauce or olive oil, loads of veggies and lean proteins. You can also ask your pizza joint to go easy on the cheese if you are looking to avoid the extra saturated fat.
Finally, if you are looking for a cute and bite-sized option that is very gameday friendly, try this recipe for pizza muffins featuring delicious spinach and artichoke hearts.
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Chili made with beans and extra lean ground beef, ground turkey breast or no meat at all is a Super Bowl favorite that's naturally loaded with fiber and protein.
Boost the antioxidant content and shave calories per serving by adding extra vegetables like chopped tomatoes, onions, chili peppers and red, yellow and orange peppers.
Lower-sodium chili mixes are available or make yours from scratch. This way, you'll have the option to nix added salt entirely.
Wings that are baked instead of fried have one-third less saturated fat and calories. Make your own lightened blue cheese dipping sauce by mixing two-thirds cup of low-fat plain Greek yogurt, two-thirds cup of crumbled blue cheese, one tablespoon of white vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper for a delicious dipping sauce that has half the calories.
Also, don't miss our list of tops picks for healthy buffalo wing sauce.
Chips and Crackers
Most chips are simply fried white starch, and most crackers are nothing more than baked white starch. And while chips and crackers can be the least of our nutritional concerns when it comes to Super Bowl fare, every little bit helps.
When it comes to chips, my recommendation for a better-for-you chip is Beanfields Chips; my personal favorite is their Nacho variety. A 130-calorie serving has four grams of fiber and four grams of protein, plus the antioxidant benefit of black beans and navy beans.
Looking for other better-for-you chips? Check out my additional recommendations here.
For crackers, Triscuits and Triscuit Thin Crisps (any flavor) are always a solid option, as are Angelic Bakehouse Snack Crisps. For gluten-free enthusiasts, Mary's Gone Crackers are centered on real whole grains and seeds like quinoa, flax seeds and brown rice, not potato starch and corn starch.
Registered dietitian Molly Kimball offers brand-name products as a consumer guide; she does not solicit product samples nor is paid to recommend items. This article was originally published as part of an annual Super Bowl guide on NOLA.com.
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Editor's note: This article was originally published on Jan. 30, 2015.