Super Bowl time is just around the corner, and the excitement here in Houston is palpable. Even if you’re not in H-town, the event is a perennial celebration of competition, hard work, and (unfortunately) eating massive amounts of snack foods. Did you know that the Super Bowl is second only to Thanksgiving when it comes to food consumption in the US? Unlike Thanksgiving though, the focus is on high-fat fried foods, meats, and anything covered in cheese. Not so good for you.
The fat and calorie numbers can be staggering, but more importantly, eating crappy foods makes you feel like crap yourself. Eating three square meals and snacking according to hunger rather than what’s in front of you is best, but I’m a realist. I know that half the fun of the party is having a ton of finger foods to choose from and being in constant consumption mode, so improving the quality of those game day snacks may be the only way to improve overall nutrition on the big day. I’ve pulled together some ideas for Super Bowl snacks that are less detrimental and/or actually provide you with some good nutrition that you can feel decent about.
- Lightened up Buffalo Chicken Dip: Buffalo chicken dip has a cult following, but this lightened up version from Gimme Some Oven cuts down significantly on the saturated fat in the original, which can lead to high cholesterol and heart disease. Serve with carrots and celery instead of chips and you get bonus points.
- Greek Yogurt Dips: Many crudité dips are made with a sour cream base. Swapping out with low fat or fat free plain Greek yogurt will cut down fat and calories while boosting protein, which helps to keep you full so you’ll need to eat less in general.
- Healthier Stuffed Mushrooms: Mushrooms themselves are a vegetable, but they’re often stuffed with cheese and drowned in melted butter. Some simple swaps in this recipe keep this healthy option healthy, while remaining just as snackable as ever!
- Buffalo Cauliflower: Roasted cauliflower is the bomb, and it takes very well to buffalo seasoning. In fact, Bird’s Eye makes a buffalo cauliflower in the freezer section of grocery stores that would allow you to bypass the whole “cooking” thing.
- Rye Toast and Lox Bites: Bagel bites are a childhood favorite of many, but refined white flower covered with cheese offers little nutritionally. Swapping the mini bagel for a whole grain rye cocktail bread slice provides whole grains, and topping with a smear of scallion cream cheese and a slice of lox provides protein and healthy fats. Bagels and lox > pizza bagel. Yeah I said it.
- Cheeseburger Salads with Baked French Fries: One way to significantly improve the dining experience on Super Bowl Sunday is to actually have a main course instead of filling up on snacks. Let’s be real, did you keep track of all your pigs in a blanket last year? Being distracted (say, by a riveting game of football and a rowdy crowd) makes it much more difficult to pay attention to hunger and fullness signals, so having a normal portion of balanced foods for a meal can help assure you that you’ve had enough. Though this meal is a salad, it’s one of the most fun salads you’ll ever eat – a deconstructed cheeseburger, complete with French fries (*dances*)
- Greek Meatballs with Tzatziki Dipping Sauce: Protein at Super Bowl parties tends to be strictly chicken wings or whatever meats are on top of a pizza. These lean meatballs are both incredibly addicting and nutritious. Dipping in tzatziki adds some fun to the experience.
- Homemade Hummus: Beans are full of plant-powered protein and fiber, which combine to keep you full and satisfied. Additionally, hummus and other bean dips have none of the saturated fat of traditional dips. Goodbye queso, hello hummus!
- Collard Roll Ups with Coconut Curry Kale: Spring rolls are a favorite finger food, but offer little by way of nutrition. This recipe uses collard greens as the wrap and is filled with vegetables bursting with flavor.
- Peanut Butter-Stuffed Dates: A little something sweet can be nice, and this snack combines the sweet and salty in a perfectly tasty, all-natural bite. Just take one pitted date, and smear natural salted peanut butter on the inside. Try not to eat them all as you assemble!