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Healthy options for game-day snacks

8:49 AM, Jan 23, 2014   |    comments
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KUSA - The Super Bowl is almost here, and while this means a lot of competitive fun, it also means a lot of extra calories! It is almost mind blowing the amount of food products sold and consumed on this day alone.

To give you an example, Americans will go through 11.2 million pounds of potato chips, 111 million gallons of beer, and 1.23 billion chicken wings! That is a lot of calories! So what can you do about this?! Here are a few tips to help you tackle the game day treats without going overboard.

Don't arrive hungry to your Super Bowl party. A big mistake many people make is not eating before a party/gathering in order to save calories for the event; however this plan usually backfires. If you arrive to the Super Bowl party starving, you will be much more likely to start gorging on all the unhealthy snacks around. It is important to start any day, especially Super Bowl day, with a filling breakfast of lean protein, whole grain, and fiber. This will help keep you full during the day, with better control of your blood sugar and cravings.

Starting your day off this way will also help you get the nutrients you need that may not be present during the Super Bowl snacking festivities.

Be mindful of what you are consuming during the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is only second to Thanksgiving for the most calories consumed in one day, and many people watching the game end up mindlessly eating over 1,200 calories. In order to help you pay attention to what you are putting in your mouth, plate what you are going to eat and then get away from the TV to eat it. The game and funny commercials will distract you and studies have shown that when you are not focused on what you are eating you can consume about 200 calories more than you would if you were focused on the meal in front of you. Try to savor these fun foods and be mindful of what you are eating.

There are several easy tricks to cut down calories on game day. To start, move the food to a table outside of the TV watching area. This makes it more likely that you will fill up your plate once, rather than continuing to graze throughout the game. It may seem like a hassle, but you and your guests will thank you the next day when you don't feel crummy the next day. Also, try using smaller plates, as people tend to eat less when they use a smaller plate. Fill up at least half your plate with fruit and veggies, leaving less room for pizza, wings, and chips.

By adding these simple strategies a lot you are more likely to eat a lot less calories over the course of the day.

Try this, not that and swap out unhealthy options. Game day packs in an enormous amount food, however by swapping out some unhealthy options for healthier ones you can greatly reduce the impact of these game day treats. Just to name a few, try substituting full fat bacon for turkey bacon, sour cream with plain non-fat Greek yogurt, potato chips with baked chips, regular beer with light beer, use lean ground beef instead of full fat, and include veggie and fruit trays to increase the likelihood of people filling up half their plate with fruits and vegetables. These simple tricks will not change the flavor, but will spare a lot of unnecessary calories, fat, and sodium.
This game day try to remember these tips and try out the fun football related recipes below! By doing so you will likely consume less calories, and not contribute to the overwhelming game day consumption statistics. Have a great Super Bowl and may the best team win (Go Broncos-shhhh don't tell my husband I said that)!

Recipes from the Segment
Mile High Skinny Margarita:
Ingredients:
• 3 cups frozen blueberries
• 1/2 cup gold or silver tequila
• 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
• 1/4 cup light agave nectar
• 24 ice cubes
• 4 orange wedges for garnish
Directions:
1. Put the blueberries, tequila, lemon and lime juices, agave and ice in a blender with ice-crushing ability. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth.
2. Divide the margaritas among four 12-ounce glasses and serve immediately.

Demaryius Dip:

Ingredients:
1 can refried beans
1 container prepared guacamole (found in dairy case)
6 oz. of non-fat plain Greek Yogurt
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large or two medium tomatoes, diced
1 can sliced jalapenos, cut into tiny pieces (or chopped jalapenos)
1 can chopped black olives
1 bag finely shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
1. Empty refried beans and spread on round plate (kind of make a "well" in the middle).
2. Pour guacamole and rest of ingredients in layers.
3. Serve cold with Baked Tortilla Chips.

Decker's Deviled eggs:
Ingredients:

6 eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Smoked Spanish paprika, for garnish

Directions:
Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and cover with enough water that there's 1 1/2 inches of water above the eggs. Heat on high until water begins to boil, then cover, turn the heat to low, and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and leave covered for 14 minutes, then rinse under cold water continuously for 1 minute.

Crack egg shells and carefully peel under cool running water. Gently dry with paper towels. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise, removing yolks to a medium bowl, and placing the whites on a serving platter. Mash the yolks into a fine crumble using a fork. Add mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper, and mix well.

Evenly disperse heaping teaspoons of the yolk mixture into the egg whites. Sprinkle with paprika and serve.

Manning the Field Guacamole:
Ingredients:

3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced

Directions:
In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated. Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, jalapeno, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and serve.

Wes Welker Wings: Grilled Chicken Breast Strips with Hot Wing Sauce
Instead of winging it, stick toothpicks in a 3-ounce serving of chicken strips and dip them in a dollop of hot sauce. You'll enjoy a similar flavor for 125 calories and 3.5 grams of fat, a savings of 145 calories and 8.5 grams of fat.

Michelle Cardel, PhD, RD is a nutrition scientist and registered dietitian at the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, University of Colorado Denver. Follow her on FaceBook and Twitter @MichelleCardel for daily nutrition tips!

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