Tips for a Healthier Super Bowl

As Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Patrick Mahomes’ Kansas City Chiefs prepare to face off in Super Bowl LV, the rest of us are preparing our game-day menus. Because let’s be honest, the Super Bowl is just as much about the food as it is the football. But by making just a few healthier food choices as you watch the big game – and those commercials – you’ll feel like a winner come Monday morning.

Go for a Skinnier Dip

Potato and tortilla chips pack in a lot of calories without a lot of fiber to fill you up, so it’s easy to eat and eat and eat. Try choosing a whole-grain or bean-based variety with more fiber, or sub out fresh veggies for chips altogether. Salsa generally has fewer calories than a ranch or French onion dip, and fresh salsas are typically lower in sodium. Chose wisely!

Lighten Up the Chili

No Super Bowl soiree is complete without a satisfying bowl of chili, but lighter options can be just as delicious. Try subbing ground turkey or pulled chicken for traditional beef, or even going with a veggie option that includes a variety of beans or a grain like bulgar wheat or quinoa. If you like your chili over rice, brown is better than white, but cauliflower rice is a virtually carb-free alternative to both. Top with low-fat or no-fat Greek yogurt – possibly whipped with a little lime juice, zest, garlic powder and chili powder - instead of sour cream.

Holy Guacamole, Batman!

There is nothing better than homemade guacamole with lots of lime juice and cilantro (or not!), and with healthy fats and filling fiber, it’s good for you, too. But keep in mind a serving size is two tablespoons; that’s about the size of a golf ball. You can also lighten up your homemade guac by replacing half the avocado (and half the fat) with low-fat Greek yogurt or – wait for it – frozen peas, thawed and mashed.

Bake, Don’t Fry

Baking your chicken wings at an extra-high temperature in the oven ensures they’ll be crispy, but with much less fat than their fried counterparts. When you mix up your blue cheese dip, consider subbing low-fat Greek yogurt for mayonnaise or sour cream to cut calories but not taste. Or, for a veggie option, try roasted cauliflower bites or strips of firm tofu tossed in buffalo sauce instead of chicken.

Slimmer Sliders

There are so many delicious slider options that don’t include a traditional, high-fat ground beef burger. Try turkey, chicken or veggie burgers, pulled barbecue chicken or pork, chicken or turkey meatballs, crabcakes, or grilled or roasted Portobello mushrooms. If you’re open to an alternative to a traditional bun, try sandwiching your burger of choice between two slices of roasted sweet potato or crisp pieces of iceberg lettuce.

Nacho’ Mama’s Nachos

Instead of tortilla chips, try sliced and roasted sweet potatoes as your nacho base, or make a taco filling for nacho lettuce wraps. Substitute shredded rotisserie chicken or ground turkey for ground beef, and go heavier on the spices instead of on salt. And try a lighter hand with the cheese; you can achieve a satisfying melt with a quarter of the cheese you think you need.

Go for Color

Veggie platters are so much more interesting when they include more than celery, carrots and store-bought ranch. Think sugar snap peas, blanched asparagus, sliced red, yellow and orange bell peppers, radishes and cucumber with pesto, hummus, Greek yogurt or black bean dip for some colorful and tasty variety.

Beverage Options

Make a pitcher of water flavored with sliced lemons, limes, or oranges to alternate with alcoholic beverages. It will keep your calorie consumption from alcohol down so you’ll have more room for all the yummy food, and keeping hydrated will help digestion and ward off the Monday-morning hangover.

Build in Some Activity

If you’re motivated to get off the couch during the game, play a fun exercise game with friends and family, and include the kids. Do a push-up per point every time your team scores, and a squat per point when the other team hits the board. On play reviews, plank until a decision is made. Try 10 situps every time you see a beer commercial, five burpees every time you get an overhead shot of Raymond James Stadium and 50 jumping jacks each time Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes is sacked.