Healthier options for your game-day spread.
The Super Bowl is considered one of the country’s biggest food “holidays.” Forbes magazine reported in 2017 that Americans eat 1.33 billion chicken wings and 12.5 million pizzas on Super Bowl Sunday. Furthermore, the average viewer consumes about 2,400 calories and 121 grams of fat during five-hour viewing party, according to the Calorie Control Council. Yowza.
To be clear, an occasional feast probably won’t destroy your waistline (or your overall health). Your everyday habits tend to impact your health more than an individual party, but there are other perks to being mindful of what you eat on game day. For example, too much food in one sitting can upset digestion, cause or worsen nighttime heartburn, and lead to next-day bloating.
One way to reduce these effects is by switching up your game-day spread. Although wings and pizza reign supreme on Super Bowl Sunday, these healthier appetizer ideas don’t shy away from vegetables, and they might just steal the show:
Buffalo cauliflower “wings” are saucy and crunchy, but they’re lighter in calories and offer more fiber than white meat.
Stuffed mushrooms are a bite-sized snack with endless possibilities. Stuff with pesto, olive tapenade, creamed spinach, or whatever tickles your fancy.
Baked sweet potato falafel puts a spin on the classic by adding mashed sweet potato to the batter. Find out how to make baked sweet potato falafel on Cook Nourish Bliss.
Spicy corn fritters are handheld apps that are delicious on their own, or with a creamy dip. There’s a number of variations on corn fritters, but check out these jalapeño corn fritters by Connoisseurus Veg.
Sweet potato nachos are a healthier (and heartier) twist on the typical chip-and-queso combo. Baked sweet potato wedges or slices take the place of the tortilla chips, and don’t forget to top with more veggies like peppers, onions, avocado, and tomatoes (OK, fine, some of those “veggies” are actually fruits).
Veggie summer rolls are essentially mini salad burritos, and don’t let anyone tell you differently. To take it up a notch, pick veggies that match your favorite team’s colors. Or keep it neutral and make these gorgeous rainbow rolls.
Babaganoush (bah-bah-gah-noosh) is a garlicky dip made from roasted and pureed eggplant. If you love hummus, you’ll probably love babaganoush.
Sweet potato “toasts” with guac is a trendy twist on avocado toast, and it works great as an appetizer. Instead of toasted bread, you crisp up slices of sweet potato in the oven. You can top with anything you’d like, but what’s more appropriate for the Super Bowl than guacamole? Check out this guide to make sweet potato “toasts” by Maria Marlowe.
Spinach and artichoke dip is a Super Bowl classic, and it already contains two veggies. But for a veg-loving twist, add pureed cauliflower to the base of the dip to replace some or all of the mayo, cream cheese, or sour cream. This will lower the amount of calories and saturated fat in the dip—without compromising on flavor. Find out how to make this spinach and artichoke dip on Serious Eats.
Dairy-free queso made from pureed potatoes, carrots, and spices might just make you forget about the game—for a second, at least. It sounds crazy, but this combo makes a surprisingly convincing and “cheesy” dip, especially if you mix in Ro-Tel, refried beans, or salsa. Try it on top of your sweet potato nachos, on loaded baked potatoes, or just as a dip for tortilla chips. Check out the recipe for dairy-free queso here.
Want more tips on a healthier Super Bowl party?
Helpful tips for healthy holiday parties. Chicago, IL: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2017. (Accessed on January 23, 2019 at https://www.eatright.org/health/lifestyle/seasonal/helpful-tips-for-healthy-holiday-parties.)
When the big game turns into the big gorge: 5 tips to sideline calories. Calorie Control Council, 2018. (Accessed on January 23, 2019 at https://caloriecontrol.org/when-the-big-game-turns-into-the-big-gorge-5-tips-to-sideline-calories/.)