This is an exciting time of year for football fans--and we're not just
talking about the action on the field. Big games mean big snacks, but
while they're delicious, they're not always the healthiest options.
There are some tweaks you can make to typical game-day snacks that boost
their nutritional value while keeping the great taste. Try one of the
options below and you're sure to score big at your next get-together.
1. PENALTY FLAG: Fried chicken wings
GAME WINNER: Grilled or baked wings
Wings are a game-day staple, but the traditional recipe calls for frying
and a butter-heavy sauce. Instead of frying, bake or grill your wings
for a healthier preparation method. And you can still get a perfectly
sticky and tasty sauce by making your own with soy sauce, honey, chicken
stock, a bit of vegetable oil or other liquid that's lower in saturated
fat than butter. Adding your own spice combination ensures wings that
are as sweet and spicy as you want them to be. This recipe also swaps
out blue cheese dressing for plain Greek yogurt.
2. PENALTY FLAG: Potato skins
GAME WINNER: Veggie-loaded sweet potatoes
Topped with cheese, bacon bits and sour cream, potato skins are like little
boats ferrying calories and fat to your belly. Sweet potatoes are packed
with fiber and vitamins A and C, as well as many other nutrients. Load
them up with roasted veggies and top with plain Greek yogurt and you've
got a filling snack. You can also add chicken or a light sprinkle of cheese,
as in this recipe.
Half Baked Harvest
3. PENALTY FLAG: Potato chips
GAME WINNER: Flavored popcorn
It's easy to fill up on chips--especially if you're doing some
nervous munching when the score's tied with two minutes left in the
fourth quarter. But that means you're filling up on sodium, calories
and fat. Instead, take air-popped popcorn and toss it with spices or herbs
to make batches of custom flavors. The possibilities are just about endless--here
are a few to test out.
4. PENALTY FLAG: Cheesy nachos
GAME WINNER: Chip-free nachos
The secret to healthy nachos? The chips--or lack thereof. Use sliced sweet
potatoes, grilled zucchini or mini bell peppers as your base. Reduced-fat
cheese helps on the health count, too, as do toppings such as tomatoes,
sliced avocados, black beans, ground turkey and corn. Homemade salsa cuts
down on any added sodium or preservatives that can be found in the bottled
variety. If you simply must have the crunch of a chip, cut corn tortillas
into wedges and bake them in the oven.
5. PENALTY FLAG: Guacamole
GAME WINNER: Edamame guacamole
Guacamole has heart-healthy fats courtesy of the avocados--but it also
has quite a few calories (and let's face it, on game day it's
hard to limit yourself to just a little guacamole). You can cut down on
the calories while also boosting protein by adding edamame. Blend the
edamame with avocados (you won't be using as many avocados, so it
won't be as high in calories) or mash the edamame on its own, adding
typical guac flavors such as lime and jalapeno. Pair it with your healthy
nachos, or with baked tortilla chips and veggies as a dip.