Are you one of the millions of Americans who made a New Year’s resolution to adopt a healthier lifestyle and lose weight? Then you must develop a game plan for snacking on Super Bowl Sunday. This event, which takes place on February 3, is one of the worst eating days of 2019. A typical party menu includes beer, soft drinks, sandwiches, pizza, wings, potato chips, nachos and cheese sauce, potato salad and other fatty foods.
Whether you’re hosting a party or preparing food to take to someone else’s party, choose snacks that are minimally processed, high in fiber and low in fat and added sugars. This includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins (e.g. white breast meat of poultry without skin, beans and seafood) and fat-free or low-fat milk and dairy products.
Small plates are a mealtime tradition among many Mediterranean countries, where a heart-healthy eating plan consists primarily of plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices), and olive oil and canola oil replace butter, margarine and other unhealthy fats.
Here are some advantages to downsizing from a dinner plate to a salad plate at parties and buffets.
• You can eat less and save about half the calories.
• A small plate looks full so you don’t feel cheated.
• It encourages portion control. You take smaller portions and eat only the foods you really like.
• You can clean your plate and feel satisfied without overeating.
Eat slowly and take time to enjoy the taste and textures of foods. Pay attention to how you feel. Instead of mindlessly eating hundreds—even thousands—of calories while watching the football game, use hunger and fullness cues to recognize when you’ve had enough. Before going back for seconds, wait 20 minutes for your food to “settle.” It takes that long for your stomach to tell your brain that you’re full.
Although it seems messy and unappetizing, you may want to let empty beverage containers, chicken bones, etc. accumulate on the table to remind you of how much you have consumed. Researchers at Cornell University noted that people might eat and drink much more when there are no visual clues about how much they have consumed. Researchers also observed that people take less food from a smaller bowl.
Here are some snacks that you can make a day ahead of time and store covered in the refrigerator.
Dips and fresh veggie plates
Choose six or seven fresh vegetables and two low-fat dips. Serve them on a variety of small dishes placed around the room to generate interest and to encourage people to eat more of them.
Chips and homemade salsa
If you are going to serve chips, choose baked, whole-grain or pita chips. Offer the chips with salsa so that more vegetables will be eaten. You can make a quick homemade salsa by blending no-salt-added canned tomatoes with a little hot pepper sauce. This salsa also is delicious with fresh veggies or warm rolled corn tortillas.
Baked tortilla chips
To save money, make you own baked chips. Cut flour or corn tortillas into quarters. Mist with water or cooking spray and sprinkle with the seasoning of your choice (e.g. paprika, onion powder or cumin). Bake tortilla wedges in a single layer on a baking pan at 350 °F for about 15 minutes or until crisp. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Enjoy with your favorite salsa or bean dip.
Baked, boneless chicken breast strips are a healthier alternative to chicken wings. Make your own boneless wings by dredging chicken strips in buttermilk (fat-free) and hot sauce to taste. Coat chicken strips in whole-wheat flour, to which a small amount of cornmeal has been added. Bake in the oven instead of frying. Serve with fat-free barbecue sauce.
Chill cooked shrimp and serve with a spicy cocktail sauce. One large shrimp contains about 1 gram of protein and only 5 calories. Proteins take longer to digest, which keeps you satisfied longer.
Fruit and cheese plate
Serve fruit with cube-size amounts of low-fat cheeses instead of the full-fat versions. And, skip the crackers!