It's time for Super Bowl Sunday and hours of sitting around the television enjoying a super array of snacks as you cheer your favorite team to victory. But whether you're trying to stay on your New Year's diet, or just trying to button your slacks on Monday morning, Super Bowl treats don't have to sack your nutrition goals.
A major key is to enjoy small portions of snacks, says Barbara Roberts, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant with Florida's Hillsborough County Health Department. "Aim for a max of 1,000 calories from Super Bowl snacks, and try to keep the other two meals for that day under 500 calories each," she told Tampa Bay Online.
Easy substitutions can tackle many diet-busting snacks and turn them into nutritious treats. Use these tips:
• Choose shrimp cocktail over fried chicken wings dipped in blue cheese dressing. If you can't bear the thought of a Super Bowl without chicken wings, make your own by baking skinless wings and dipping them in a low-fat salad dressing.
• Replace greasy potato chips with pretzels. A one-ounce serving of potato chips weighs in at 150 calories while the same serving of pretzels has only 100 fat-free calories.
• Choose light beer. Diet beer may only save about 20 calories a can or bottle, but if you're guzzling down several, the savings add up. Even better — choose diet colas to score big calorie-wise.
• Trade full-fat sour cream dips for ones made with fat-free sour cream. According to About.com, only two tablespoons of a French onion dip can pack 60 calories and five grams of fat.
• Fiery salsas are great low-calorie choices with high-value nutrition. Pair them with baked corn chips instead of fried or make your own whole-wheat pita chips.
• Pop low-fat popcorn in the microwave.
• Substitute pita wedges and hummus for cheese and crackers. Or if you really like cheese, cut small squares of low-fat cheese and serve without crackers.
• For a substantial snack, make chili with lean turkey meat—or skip meat altogether and opt for a spicy black bean version.
• Gotta have pizza? Make your own with a whole-wheat crust, tomato sauce, and low-fat cheeses. If you must order in, order a veggie pizza with little — or no — cheese.
• If burgers are a tradition you can't live without, grill ground chicken and serve on whole wheat buns topped with tomatoes, lettuce, and low-fat cheese.