Surviving The Super Bowl — 6 Healthy Snack Ideas To Lean Up What You’re Eating This Sunday
CAM! PEYTON! It’s Super Bowl 50.
The Super Bowl is one of the greatest living American traditions. It’s uniquely ours.
And like it or not, in the same vein as most of our other high holidays, it’s centered around eating gobs and gobs of utter garbage — to the point where the Super Bowl has inevitably morphed into an all-out, exaggerated fat fest. Between Bagel Bites, mozz sticks, spinach and artichoke dip, wings on wings on wings, buckets of chips, and beer for days, it’s dietary calamity incarnate.
That’s our culture, and it’s exuberantly embraced in full-force. We live for it.
Luckily, with a little prep and foresight, it’s beyond easy to survive the Super Bowl. We’ve loaded up 6 brutally simple ideas that’ll quickly infuse a little nutrition into your Super Bowl soirée this sunday. Frankly, it’ll upgrade the takeout and frozen food you’re likely working with anyway. That’s a WIN-WIN, for both your core and your guests.
1. Upgrade your dip game.
I’d love to enact a moratorium on all fat-inducing dips. Between ranch, spinach and artichoke, french onion, queso, and the absurd 7 layer variety, most dips are a liquified death trap. Spinach and artichoke dips are nothing more than melted cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, and shredded cheese; garnished with a little green. It’s a swimming pool of obesity.
They’re obnoxious caloric bombs, pumped with insane amounts of empty calories and bad fats. Plus, most people just dunk mindlessly without any regard for what they’re really sliding down their throats.
Healthing up your dip game is incredibly simple, it just takes a little paradigm shift. Stock up on hummus, guacamole, salsa, and baba ghanoush (don’t overthink this, it can be fat tub of Sabra). Did I mention guac? Eat ALL THE guac. It’s loaded with heart-healthy fats, fiber, and nutrients. You really can’t have too much. Plus, it makes great stadium turf.
Want a nice little twist on hummus? Try this recipe for white bean dip — all you need are cannellini beans, EVOO, garlic, sage, and cloves.
And if you’re really savvy, use turkey chili, a la #2.
2. Put turkey chili at the 50.
Turkey chili is the PERFECT party food for so many reasons. It’s versatile — it doubles as a BOMB dip to throw in your dunking lineup, and obviously it’s great as a standalone meal — plus, it’s nutritional nirvana. It’s pumped with HQ protein, fiber, antioxidant-rich spices, healthy fats (from the EVOO), and explosive flavor; sans any major carbs or processed garbage.
You’re literally scooping up little bombs of protein.
And if you’re hosting, it’s insanely easy to whip up for an entire party. Throw everything in a pot, let it sit for an hour, and you’ve got a banging meal ready-to-go. There’s no micro-management beyond the first step — just let it simmer and let the flavor build.
Use our simple, in-house turkey chili recipe to make it from scratch.
3. Cook. And then health up traditional Super Bowl food.
Cooking is an immediate win — it automatically boxes out pizza, buffalo wings, mozz sticks, nachos, and all of the other garbage you’d typically order takeout/defrost.
Same inspiration, new spin. Between wings, coconut shrimp, and mini-sliders, it couldn’t be easier to throw a healthy twist on traditional Super Bowl food. Here are a few go-to recipes:
- Baked Coconut Shrimp — an awesome tweak on traditional coconut shrimp that only uses lime juice, jalapeño, cornstarch, flaked coconut, and egg whites. They’re baked — not fried in oil.
- No-Guilt Buffalo Wings — wings are THE staple of any football game. The boil-broil method makes uber-crispy wings — sans excess fat — that are oozing with Frank’s RedHot spiciness (or, whatever cayenne sauce you want).
- Sweet Potato Skins — a nice twist on traditional potato skins that jacks up the vitamin A, beta-carotene, and fiber content.
- Southwestern Turkey Sliders — Emeril’s recipe swaps out beef for leaner turkey, mixed with spices and veggies. Sliders keep portions small and manageable. Throw a dollop of guac or mustard on top for an extra dimension of flavor. Mini buns are acceptable, but open face is always preferred (one bun).
- Lean Crab Cakes — leverages panko & EVOO to slash calories, fat, carbs, and sodium. Swap out the mayo for plain Greek yogurt to further cut cals/fat and infuse extra protein. You can also pan-fry the crab cakes in coconut oil, which also happens to be more stable at high heat.
- Mini Fish Tacos — EVERYONE loves fish tacos. These are great as healthy, protein-packed, bite-size apps. Plus, you’ve already got a massive bowl of guac ready-to-go. Throw a dollop on top and go to town. The recipe calls for tilapia, but any white fish should work.
4. Drink smarter.
Solid food isn’t the only thing that’ll subtly blow up your belly. Umbrella drinks are absolute killers.
Lay off the margaritas and sangria — they’re gushing with stealthy sugar and insane calorie levels. One glass of sangria can easily hit 320 calories and 35g of sugar; while a margarita pushes into 600 cal territory with 60g of sugar. And then there’s beer, which is synonymous with football (and why Anheuser-Busch bought 5 TV spots). Downing a few beers is more than inevitable, but it’s not the lean combo if you’re going 3+ drinks deep.
Make the switch over to something leaner. Mix in a Bloody Mary, vodka soda, vodka cranberry, rum & diet coke, screwdriver, or even a mimosa. Bloody Maries can easily stay under 100 cals a pop, and the tomato juice is pumped with nutrients, including antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes — all of which works to prevent hangovers.
You’ll get your buzz on in a belly-friendly sort of way.
For more: Use our list of ‘The 22 Most Explosively Fattening Cocktails‘ to see where your favorite cocktail stands on the fatness spectrum.
5. Chip better.
Drop the Lays, Ruffles, and Doritos — Stacy’s Pita Chips, Snack Factory’s Pretzel Chips, and Beanfields Bean Chips are all massive upgrades.
If you can grab a few bags of Beanfields from a local health food store, DO IT. They’re absolutely delicious (get the Salt N’ Pepper flavor), made from beans & rice — meaning they’re gluten free — and pack a solid 4g of fiber and protein per serving. They taste like upgraded tortilla chips, and the Nacho variety is more-or-less Doritos (and has the same cheesy, finger-licking residue).
And if chips aren’t your thing, homemade popcorn is a great source of whole grains and fiber (not the trans fat-laden, packaged garbage).
6. Shift your delivery mechanism.
When you’re dunking in guacamole, hummus, and salsa, it take some emphasis off of scooper. Load up early and often with crudités — meaning carrots, sliced peppers, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, baby tomatoes, broccoli, and whatever other raw veggies you’re able to grab.
They’re filling, loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and pack a crunch to complement the leading dip. Plus, they’re devoid of calories. Go to town and don’t worry about stopping.
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto.
I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP
, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid
, and all-around fitness junkie.
I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine
When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses
and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.
Come be friends with me on Snapchat (BRYDISANTO)
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