Monday, January 30, 2012

super bowl snacks

superbowl party | photo: kakisky
February 6th is right around the corner.  In case you don't know, that's when the Super Bowl will be happening.  While I don't follow football very closely I do find myself curiously swept up in the party that accompanies this last game of the season.  And I admit to wanting to watch the half-time show and the, usually, creative commercials.  I find it curious that this is one day of the year when companies spend millions of dollars and put forth extra effort to make sure their commercials are smart, funny, creative, or interesting.  It's the only time I usually enjoy watching them.  This day, Superbowl Sunday, is practically a holiday, with people making elaborate plans for parties and food.  This is one of the few traditional gatherings where the menu doesn't often include an entree or side dishes; it's a smorgasbord of snacks.

If you're hosting or attending a Super Bowl Party you're probably familiar with the traditional lineup of foods:  loaded nachos smothered in queso, buffalo wings, cheesy spinach dip, chili, and sausage-laden pizza and more.  Depending on the teams (and who you're rooting for) the menu changes somewhat to accomodate the event.  It's like rooting for your favorites with food.  Unfortunately many of those food choices won't leave you in good shape.

But it doesn't have to be a day of overindulgence in fatty foods and unhealthy choices.  Here are my Seven Super Bowl Snacks that will still allow you to enjoy the spirit of the celebration without regret:

  1. Instead of buying cheesy popcorn or sugary kettle corn consider making your own.  Hot air popped popcorn with a modest amount of melted butter or coconut oil, salt and spices to taste is a crunchy delicious treat.  Try chili powder, onion powder, or my personal favorite, ground up nori.
  2. Instead of caramel popcorn or people chow try making a healthy trail mix in your slow cooker.  It's extremely tasty, and with four different options to choose from you can make something for everyone.
  3. Add a fruit platter with a yogurt dip for a healthy, delicious treat.  To make the yogurt dip take 1 cup plain organic yogurt and mix it with 1 heaping tablespoon of your favorite flavor of jam or with honey.  Much less sugar than already sweetened yogurts and it's your choice of flavors.
  4. Cut a selection of veggies into strips and rounds to use as dippers instead of chips and crackers.  These go well with bean dips and even cheese spreads.  You can also serve them with a tasty guacamole or a healthy homemade salsa.  Less simple carbs, more veggies, that's always a win.
  5. Instead of ordering giant super subs consider setting out an assortment of preservative free healthy lunch meats (Hormel Natural, Boar's Head Natural, and Applegate are all good brands) and a selection of whole grain rolls, wraps, and sandwich thins.  Let your guest make their own winning combination.
  6. Homemade meatballs served in a marinara sauce in the slow cooker make a great snack without all the grease and fuss of sausages or wings.
  7. If you're going to serve pizza consider getting a thin whole wheat crust and topping it with lots of heart healthy veggies, light on the cheese.  Avoid preservative-laden processed meats choosing grilled chicken breast instead (or add your own after delivery).

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