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How to Enjoy Super Bowl Party Foods Without Remorse

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The American Institute of Food Distribution labels Super Bowl Sunday as the second-largest day of food consumption, next to Thanksgiving. With pizza, Buffalo wings drenched in bleu cheese dressing, king-sized platters of potato chips, mayonnaise-based salads, cheese-loaded nachos, and buckets of beer, the taunting unhealthy foods of the pre-game to post-game stretch of six or more hours can truly challenge even the most health conscious of individuals.

Resist the temptation. Defend your healthy eating or weight loss New Year’s resolutions. The following tips from Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services can help you keep your focus on the game, yet ensure your belly remains satisfied with great tasting food.

The Party-goer Game Plan:
Eat a little something before you arrive at the party to avoid showing up ravenous. Beware of those hunger pangs that can strike and result in your not only reaching for the most fattening fare, but overindulging and possibly even eating things that you may not ordinarily choose.

Survey the game buffet and be choosy. Taste of the foods that you deem as “party favorites,” and then punt the fattier choices in favor of the healthy options available.

Order or prepare a fresh fruit and/or vegetable tray and bring it along to the party.  This way, you can be sure to have a healthy snack to choose during the game.

Nothing satisfies the half-time snack attack better than a bag of freshly popped popcorn. 
So, grab a bag of low-fat microwave popcorn on your way out to the party to cover those mid-game munchies.

Beware of beverage calories. Consider choosing water with a spritz of lemon or lime instead of a regular soda. Or, where cocktails are being made, consider preparing a simple non-alcoholic juice spritzer. And, if you decide to imbibe, to conserve on the calories, select light beer, wine or a wine spritzer.

The Hostess Game Plan:
Try your hand at making your own pizzas or consider inviting your guests to a pre-game pizza-making party.  Purchase pre-baked whole-wheat pizza crust, bottled marinara sauce, and part-skim mozzarella and other low-fat cheeses to top off your pizza. For meat toppings, choose reduced fat pepperoni or sausage, Canadian bacon, or ground sirloin beef.  And, don’t forget to add vegetables such as grilled onions, chopped tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, broccoli, or even spinach. For an added nutritional boost, prepare a mixed vegetable pizza with a mix of fat-free (or at least low-fat) shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese. For an extra nutritional boost, add pineapple to your pie.

When preparing dips, try replacing fat-laden sour cream with plain low-fat yogurt or silken tofu.  And, instead of traditional cheese-based dips, try offering a black bean dip, olive tapenade, and several varieties of salsa.

Fill your football shaped bowl with baked or low-fat chips for dipping. You can even prepare your own healthy tortilla chips using corn tortillas cut into wedges, lightly sprayed with cooking oil, dusted with your favorite spice and baked at 425 degrees until crisp. Toasted pita wedges also make a great dip holder.

Serve a pot of homemade chili prepared with an equal mixture of sauteed, 99 percent fat-free ground turkey breast and 93 percent fat-free ground sirloin beef instead of regular ground beef. Make sure to add pinto or chili beans to the chili to not only boost the nutritional value of your main dish, but also to fill your stomach.

Substitute a fruit/vegetable tray for the traditional cheese platter.

Offer up a pretty bowl lined with cooked shrimp served with a zesty cocktail sauce. Shrimp is low in calories and fat and is easy to prepare.

And finally, if you do overindulge on Super Bowl Sunday, don't panic! Simply get back on your healthy eating plan when the game is over and make sure to send any tempting leftovers home with your guests.

For more information about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, click here or call 972.560.2655.