This is a repost of an email I received from Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D., Executive Director for Center for Science in the Public Interest – an organization whose mission it is to educate the public, advocate government policies that are consistent with scientific evidence on health and environmental issues, and counter industry's powerful influence on public opinion and public policies.
“There's no rule that your Super Bowl party has to feature boring sporting-event staples like chicken wings, pizza, chips, and soda. With that in mind, I'm writing to recommend six delicious recipes and packaged foods for Super Bowl entertaining that offer a break from the same old high calorie, salty, fatty, sugary, and over-processed party fare.
This Sunday, Americans should be more concerned with over-inflated bellies, not under-inflated footballs. Consider making at least half of the food you serve on the healthier side of the spectrum, including generous amounts of fresh vegetables or fruit. Not all of your guests will want to eat like a linebacker, anyway.
If you put anything before your guests to mindlessly nibble on while watching the game, vegetables should be the default option. Fresh veggies contribute to lower rates of heart attack and stroke, especially if they're replacing higher-calorie salty snacks like pretzels or potato chips. My recommendations for Sunday include:
- Veggies & Hummus. Make your own hummus (here's Mark Bittman's version). Or buy a packaged brand like Sabra, Tribe, or Athenos. Serve with platters of baby carrots, red pepper slices, cherry tomatoes, or snow peas. A typical hummus has about 50 to 70 calories per two-tablespoon serving.
- Roasted Chickpeas. Chickpeas aren't just for making hummus. Roasted, they make for a snack that's high in fiber and a good source of protein. The Good Bean Roasted Chickpea Snacks come in seven flavors, including Cracked Pepper, Thai Coconut, and Smoky Chili & Lime. Saffron Road Crunchy Chickpeas is another good option, which offers Korean BBQ, Falafel, Wasabi, and other flavors. A quarter cup serving has around 120 calories.
- Chipotle Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Need a substantial finger-food? This recipe, developed by Nutrition Action culinary director Kate Sherwood, is a great alternative to wings. Flavored with garlic, chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, and orange juice, these lettuce wraps are garnished with scallions and slivered tortilla chips. 400 calories per serving.
- Cannellini Beans & Chorizo. Instead of a big vat of chili con carne, consider Sherwood's 5-ingredient, 20-minute recipe for white beans and chicken or turkey sausage. This dish keeps sodium under control (370 mg) and packs 6 grams of fiber for just 300 calories.
- Clementines. Put out a big bowl full of sweet, easy-to-peel, and kid-friendly clementines (or other variety of mandarin orange). Halos and Cuties are two brand-name varieties of these little seedless, citrus gems, typically sold in bags or small wooden crates. Each has around just 40 calories and a gram or two of fiber.
- Flavored waters. Instead of soda, consider seltzer water spiked with fruit juice, or if you're more ambitious, pitchers of spa water flavored with slices of citrus fruits, cucumbers, herbs such as basil or mint, and berries.
Wishing you a happy and healthy Super Bowl Sunday,
Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D.
Center for Science in the Public Interest
P.S. If you’d like to see more recipes from Healthy Cook Kate Sherwood, you might enjoy subscribing to free Daily Tips from NutritionAction.com.