Americans are expected to eat more than a billion chicken wings this Sunday, according to the National Chicken Council. But you don't have to abandon your New Year's resolution to slim down when Sunday's big game arrives. We asked a few registered dietitians for some easy and tasty ideas that won't make you feel like you're on some super restrictive diet. And we promise: no advice to sit around and munch on a veggie crudité!
Cook up some bacon. Seriously, but cut it up into small pieces along with whole wheat bread, cherry tomatoes, and lettuce and put on a toothpick to make mini BLT's, says Amy Keating, R.D., senior project leader at Consumer Reports. That's what she is bringing this weekend when her family goes to a friend's house for the Super Bowl. She also suggests eating in the first quarter and then slowing down by halftime.
Make an entrée. The calories from appetizers like mozzarella sticks, jalapeno poppers and taco dip can really add up, especially if you're just munching mindlessly while watching the game (or commercials). "As a hostess myself, I always make a spicy turkey chili," says Sari Greaves, R.D., nutrition director at Step Ahead Wellness Center in Far Hills, N.J. She uses a pound of lean ground turkey (you can sub in 90% lean ground beef), two teaspoons of olive oil, garlic, diced onions, reduced sodium chili seasoning from McCormick, one teaspoon of ancho chile pepper, one can of 28 oz. diced tomatoes (no salt added) and two cans of beans (your pick). She also serves it with reduced fat cheese and plain non-fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.
Put together kabobs. Making something that is easy to grab 'n go is important to Heather Mangieri, R.D., a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics with a practice in Pittsburgh. She is heading to a neighbor's house to watch the game and she's making kabobs out of chicken, pineapple, peppers, and oranges. She says you can also try shrimp or grapefruit. Keating likes fruit kabobs (cantaloupe, banana, kiwi and strawberry) for dessert, which is more fun than a plain fruit bowl.
Try a better dip. One of our recipe developers recently created a tasty and healthy edamame dip for the March '13 issue of our sister publication, ShopSmart. You'll need one 8-ounce package of shelled, ready to eat edamame (about 1 ½ cups), 1/3 cup cilantro leaves, 1 avocado (peeled and chopped), 1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream, 1/3 cup water, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ teaspoon toasted sesame oil, and ¼ teaspoon ground cumin (optional). Put the edamame in a food processor and pulse several times. Add cilantro; pulse again. Add remaining ingredients and process the mixture until smooth. Serve with your favorite veggie chips or cut-up veggies. The recipe makes two cups. (There are 48 calories and about ½ gram of fat per 2-tablespoon serving.)
Using smaller plates and eating a snack before you get to your party are also helpful. Greaves also suggests serving little spinach pies, spanakopita, instead of more fattening heat and eat appetizers.
For more on this year's Super Bowl, including keeping your food safe and the best TVs to watch it on, see our full coverage. And if you want some advice on losing weight long term, see our recent diet Ratings.