Sunday, February 05, 2012

Score big with low-cal recipes tonight

photo by Triple Tri

What time is it? It's game time, baby! The annual holiday of sports is back - the most-watched sporting event in the U.S, when folks of all ages eat, drink and be merry, while rooting on their favorite team. I've got no dog in this fight, so I'll be cheering on my boyfriend's team, the New York Giants. 

It's already been an action-packed weekend, so eating another round of high-calorie foods and beverages is not ideal for my waistline. According to the Calorie Control Council, Americans will eat 30 million pounds of snacks on the big game day.  That breaks down to 11.2 million pounds of potato chips, 8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips, 4.3 million pounds of pretzels, 3.8 million pounds of popcorn and 2.5 million pounds of nuts.  The average armchair quarterback will consume 1200 calories and 50 grams of fat from snacking and that doesn’t even count any meals. Yowza!

So how does one avoid the battle of the bulge on such a debaucherous night? For starters, find some time to exercise before chowing down on all those high-fat snacks. In addition, the CCC recommends pre-planning your Super Bowl event and menu to include lower calorie appetizers and beverages. When it comes to recipes, it is possible to cut the calories without cutting the flavor. The traditional “pigs in a blanket” can be made-over with reduced fat hot dogs and reduced fat crescent rolls. For dips, choose salsa, which is fat-free, and make dips/sauces with reduced-fat sour cream and non-fat Greek yogurt.  Use more seasonings and spices such as garlic, cilantro, parsley and hot peppers to add great flavor, and go lighter on the salt (sodium).  Add fresh fruit and vegetables for dipping. Try substituting grilled chicken kabobs for fried chicken wings, and you’ve got a healthy meal in no time! Also, offer diet versions of beverages (e.g. sodas, beer) and have low-calorie sweeteners like sucralose on hand for guests to use in tea and coffee. And during halftime, try getting a little extra physical activity to burn off super bowl snacks by tossing the football or play some video games that involve dancing/physical movement for players.

Check out the Calorie Control Council's appetizer recipe section to find a list of healthy spreads and dips perfect for tonight's Super Bowl party.

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