On Sunday, Americans will gather in front of their televisions to watch the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons compete for the title of 2017 Super Bowl Champions. Or maybe—like me—you’re there to watch the commercials and catch up with friends. Regardless of your motivation, you’re sure to be interested in the snacks―pizza, wings, cheese dip… the list goes on. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that Super Bowl Sunday is the second largest food consumption day of the year for Americans, behind only Thanksgiving.
Many classic game day snacks are filled with calories and unhealthy ingredients, but with these tips, you can still enjoy your favorites without sacrificing your New Year’s resolution to eat a healthy diet. Preparing your own snacks allows you to use fresh, nutrient-rich ingredients and cut down on processed and fatty foods. Here are some healthy ideas to enjoy during the big game.
- Kick off with crudités and Greek yogurt dip. Raw vegetables will satisfy your craving for crunch, and you can nibble on them through the game guilt-free. To make the dip, mix a 16-ounce container of Greek yogurt with herbs like dried basil, oregano, onion and garlic powders, or use a store-bought ranch dip mix. Chill for one hour before serving with carrots, broccoli, cauliflower or other cruciferous vegetables, which may reduce your risk of certain cancers.
- Don’t punt your nachos. Load ‘em up with healthy toppings! Start with a base of a few chips sprinkled with a small amount of cheese, but pile on the good stuff—lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, onions and black beans. Skip the sour cream and top with Greek yogurt instead. Or try something different, like Greek nachos with pita chips topped with grilled chicken, feta cheese, olives and cucumbers.
- Score a touchdown with veggie chili. You won’t miss the meat in this recipe packed with a variety of beans and vegetables, which will fill you up and limit your desire for snacking. Legumes, such as beans and chickpeas, are high in dietary fiber, which research has shown may lower your risk for colon cancer.
- Bench the russet potato and sub in the healthier sweet potato. Try sweet potato skins loaded with sautéed spinach or broccoli and go light on the bacon and cheese. Sweet potatoes are high in vitamins A and C, as well as dietary fiber.
- Celebrate with a sweet note. Sometimes a morsel of sweetness can signal your body that it’s time to stop eating. Bite-size portions of dark chocolate brownies with walnuts will curb your cravings and provide antioxidants.
No matter what you snack on during the game, keep your portions under control and limit your alcohol intake. Obesity has been linked to several types of cancer, so make sure you’re eating a balanced diet filled with a variety of vegetables and fruits. And here’s hoping your team wins on Sunday!