It’s that time of year again: time drink lots of beer, eat copious amounts of wings, cheez, and JUNK FOOD, and watch football dudes in really, really tight pants kick some serious football butt! I don’t actually watch the game much, but that’s only because I’m always the one throwing the Super Bowl party!
But ever since I’ve “downsized” I’ve learned a thing or two about “right-sizing” my Super Bowl goodies. I’ll always provide the hard stuff for the unwashed masses, but there are plenty of yummy options for those seeking lighter fare, or for the hostess who’s trying to sneak in something healthy and stealthy ala Jessica Seinfeld and the woman who’s suing her. In fact, I always make it a game of my own to see what healthy alternatives I can get away with!
So without further ado, here are some of my favorite Super-Healthy, Super-Stealthy, Super Bowl Sneaky Snacks!
Size Matters: Before we get into the meat of matters, let’s start with this: SIZE MATTERS! There is a fascinating study on the perception of satiety versus the perception of portion size (cited below if you’re interested). I won’t bore you with it, but the upshot is that if you serve stuff on smaller plates and bowls, people will eat less of it and feel just as satisfied. I use this concept every single day on MYSELF and it never fails to work. Check out the study and give it a try. What have you got to lose? Oh yeah: WEIGHT! YESSS!
In that spirit, let’s get on with the good stuff:
Fortify Your Defenses: One top tip of party-going and party-giving is to always give yourself a good, healthy head-start before the festivities begin. So don’t skip a meal to “save up for later.” Grab a bowl of delicious and filling oatmeal for breakfast, and have a high-fiber, rib-sticking, light and healthy lunch. This way you’ll start your night out just right and won’t be famished when temptation comes through the door! Remember: you’ll be much more likely to bypass the bad stuff if you start with a full tummy and a clear head!
Sultry Snack mix (in small bowls, natch): You can make up a perfectly lovely, quick and healthy snack mix with healthy, whole-grain, low-salt cereals (I like whole-grain Cheerios, and believe it or not, Chex Mix tastes great withOUT the butter, salt, and nuts). I especially love different kinds of Kashi. They make some great sweet stuff, too. Kashi GoLean Crunch is a favorite afternoon snack of mine, and these are all perfect for those (small) snack bowls around the TV room…and much healthier and more satisfying than those greasy, salty peanuts or way-too-tempting M&M’s!
When choosing your cereals, just be sure to check the sodium, sugar, and fat in the nutrition info, and take a look at the fiber and protein content, too. Some stuff that claims to be healthy really is NOT if you’re surfing the couch instead of running for a touchdown (hello, trail mix?).
Take the Whiz out of Cheez: Get some low-fat cheeses and put them out as if they were the real deal: on a ravishing wooden cutting board with some beautiful red and green grapes, paired with a choice of whole-wheat crackers, baked pita pieces, and whole-wheat bread chunks. Heck, go wild with some low-sodium, low-fat Triscuits and some soft, delicious light Boursin…just be sure to hide the boxes! Throw in a small bowl of red-pepper hummus and WOO HOO! Make it look ab fab, and VOILA! It will be!
Chic Chili: Sneak in the healthy! Start with lean ground chicken or turkey, add in lots of fiber- and iron-rich black beans and chick peas, spicy jalapenos, and other healthy veggies for texture. There are TONS (heh) of healthy chili recipes online…just google ’em and see! Use fat-free Fage Greek yogurt instead of sour cream (don’t tell them…they’ll NEVER KNOW!), and use baked, salt-free tortilla or pita chips instead of corn bread or fat-filled fried tortilla chips. And don’t forget about portion size! Set out small bowls and smallish spoons so everyone will feel satisfied with less, even if they’re not quite sure why…
Posh Pizza: Low fat cheeses, whole-wheat crust, red and yellow bell peppers, fresh basil, diced tomatoes, and low-salt tomato sauce…what’s not to love? With all that gorgeous color who needs the greasy pepperoni? You can even make mini-versions on whole-wheat English muffins. Just be sure to watch the portion size, and you can have your pie and eat it, too!
Water Into Wine: Don’t fool yourself: you’re not actually expending more calories by continuously getting up to fill that wine glass. Trust me, the right choice is to mix some ice into your Chardonnay. Not only does the wine stay deliciously colder, but the glass will stay fuller as the ice melts…AND you’ll be more clear-headed when faced with the dessert table (see below). If red wine is more to your taste, go ahead and have a glass or two. It’s hearty and heart-healthy. Moderation is, as always, the key to success.
Marvelous Mixers: If wine’s not your cup of tea (whut?) and lite beer just doesn’t do it for you, mix your hard-stuff with some healthy stuff! Try a Cape Codder made with vodka and Diet Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice. Or use Diet tonic or Diet Ginger Ale as a mixer. Make your lemon-drop martinis with Crystal Light lemonade and a few squeezes of fresh lemon…you won’t even miss the sugar on the rim.
But Beware: Alcohol calories add up fast, and those fake sweeteners aren’t really your true friends. Plus the fuzz in your brain makes it harder to stick to your game-plan! I always keep plenty of chilled bottled water available and I am always amazed at how quickly it goes!
Surprising Sushi: Sure, not everyone’s into it, but you wouldn’t believe how fast the sushi gets yomped at my Super Bowl parties! Perfect, bite-sized, all kinds of healthy. Even better: Sushi made with brown rice!
Battle Royale: The Dessert Table! This is always the biggest challenge of the night for me. I LOVE chocolate, passionately and unconditionally. So I always do myself a favor on Super Bowl Sunday night when I KNOW temptation’s coming: I buy a small bar of the very best, most expensive, darkest, most gourmet chocolate I can possibly find (Whole Foods, here I come!) and I split it with a special friend.
I limit my intake, plan for it all night, and make a special ritual of it. It’s my reward for not overindulging over the rest of the evening…the little picture I bring to mind when I find myself starting to drool at the meatball sub station. And OH YES, it is soooooo goooood.
Knowing I have this to look forward to is my special secret weapon, and with this, I can blitz through all the rest. So figure out what YOUR secret weapon will be…pizza? A pina colada?…and promise yourself this one little indulgence, this one extra-special treat. Knowing you’ll get this special reward will get you through the night like a breeze…and you’ll wake up on Monday with no regrets!
But if that doesn’t work? Picture yourself having to wear those tight little football pants. OH. MY. GAWD! Bikini season really is right around the corner! Believe it!
I hope you enjoy your Super Bowl Sunday! And, oh yeah, GO, um…who’s playing again? ;D
Got any tips for getting through your Super Bowl party? Please share! We’ll include your best ideas in future blog posts…and thanks!
“Seduced by Snacks? No, Not You!” New York Times, By KIM SEVERSON, Published: October 11, 2006