The only thing that usually comes between a true football fan and his or her high definition flat screen is a coffee table covered with high fat and high calorie munchies. But it doesn’t need to be that way. There are loads of game day snacks for those looking to punt the fat, but not the flavor.
“Snacking away through four quarters of football can lead to overeating,” said Patricia Salzer, a registered dietitian and wellness consultant at Univera Healthcare. She has tips to reduce the fat and calories, while adding taste and nutritional value to your game day spread. To cut down on the amount of fat consumed, Salzer recommends serving baked tortilla chips instead of the traditionally fried version. Baked tortilla chips make just as good a base for nachos, which can be stacked high with layers of cilantro, shredded lettuce, beans, fresh avocado, and diced tomatoes and jalapenos. If you’re adding ground beef, use the kind labeled “90 percent lean, 10 percent fat,” and be sure to drain away the grease.
When preparing chip dips such as taco dip or Buffalo chicken wing dip, Salzer uses low-fat cream cheese, shredded cheese, Greek yogurt and light sour cream. With a dip such as salsa, she says it doesn’t matter if it’s from a jar or freshly made.
It may be most difficult to imitate chicken wings ‒ especially when they are deep fried and tossed in a butter-based sauce, but Salzer also has alternatives to this game day staple. “Try baking chicken breast strips and dipping them in hot sauce,” she said. Or try her recipe for baked “cauliflower wings.” Remember, the simplest recipe of all comes from the produce section of your favorite grocery store. Munching on a veggie platter ensures a healthy serving of vegetables that are rich in vitamins and nutrients. Crunch away on celery, broccoli, bell peppers and carrots, but be wary of dipping veggies in ranch or a similar dressing which could load on the calories. Come game day, every fan wins when healthier options are on the menu.
• 1¼ cups milk (fat free is fine)
• 1 tsp white vinegar
• ¾ cup all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• 1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite-size pieces
• ½ cup cayenne pepper sauce such as Frank’s Red Hot
• 1 stick butter
• ½ tsp white vinegar
• ¼ tsp kosher or sea salt
Garnishes and dip
• Baby carrots and celery
• Make dressing by blending blue cheese crumbles with plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
1. Preheat oven to 450 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or foil (spray if foil) and set aside.
2. In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine the milk and vinegar. Let sit for five minutes. Add the flour and garlic powder and stir to combine.
3. Dredge the cauliflower pieces in the milk/flour mixture and place on the baking sheets, leaving a little room between each piece. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
4. While cauliflower is baking, combine hot sauce, margarine, vinegar and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a low simmer. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. Remove cauliflower from the oven and cover with hot sauce mixture. Toss to coat completely. Bake for another 6 to 8 minutes.
6. Serve with celery, carrots, and blue cheese dressing.