Health column: Football and Food: Enjoy a healthy Superbowl | Health

Susan S. Johnson

The Super Bowl is a time for parties, family gatherings and a chance for football fans to get together to watch the big game. This Sunday’s game in Tampa and viewing parties here at home will look different this year due to the pandemic. One thing that’s not changed is […]

The Super Bowl is a time for parties, family gatherings and a chance for football fans to get together to watch the big game. This Sunday’s game in Tampa and viewing parties here at home will look different this year due to the pandemic. One thing that’s not changed is the food; it’s as much a part of the game as the coin toss and memorable TV commercials.

Whether you’re rooting for the Chiefs to repeat as champions, or are hoping that Tom Brady wins another ring, your Super Bowl party undoubtedly will include plenty to eat. Now — how do you enjoy the game while eating healthy?

The calorie-laden goodies that requires half of the grocery store’s cream cheese stock will still likely adorn our plates … and should. Food is a very social part of our culture and let’s be honest, we could all use a little comfort right now.

But it’s worth indulging in that comfort in a way that doesn’t send you to your primary care doctor begging for cholesterol-lowering medication like a statin.

You really have one of two options to approach the game in a way that allows you the comforts (and deliciousness!) that comes with game day foods:

· Indulge … in moderation. It almost seems like a cop-out for a dietitian to suggest this. Everywhere you turn, someone is barking “moderation” at you. But it’s true! We know you can enjoy indulgences in a mindful way that not only allows the comfort of an indulgent food, but also fits into the parameters of your health goals.

· Make a modification to a recipe that reduces calories. Simple substitutions like lower fat or lower carbohydrate versions of an ingredient can tremendously reduce the caloric content of that recipe. And, since we know total caloric intake is what drives weight (up or down), you can make modifications that mirror the real deal, but still help you hit your nutrition goal.

Life is different right now. It really is. As a dietitian, I can act like “unhealthy” food doesn’t comfort people, but the reality is that it does … and it should. And the other reality that exists here is that despite popular social media messages, you can indulge in comfort food without blowing your health goals. There are no “good” and “bad” foods — there’s only good and bad amounts of ALL food.

So, kick back, relax, and enjoy the Super Bowl this year- whether it’s with a food your family has been whipping up since Super Bowl 1, 55 years ago or a brand-new recipe you’ve been waiting to try.

Here’s a suggestion on how to lighten up a traditional football favorite:

Lighter Buffalo Chicken Dip

Ingredients

· 2 (10 ounce) cans natural chunk chicken, drained

· ¾ cup hot pepper sauce (such as Frank’s RedHot®)

· 2 (8 ounce) packages Neufchatel cheese, softened

· 1 cup light ranch dressing

· 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, divided

· 1 bunch celery, cleaned and cut into 4-inch pieces

· 8 ounces multi-grain crackers

Directions

Step 1

Heat chicken and hot pepper sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in Neufchatel cheese and ranch dressing. Cook and stir until well blended and warm, 5 to 7 minutes. Mix in half of the shredded Cheddar cheese, then transfer mixture to a slow cooker.

Step 2

Sprinkle remaining Cheddar cheese over top, cover, and cook on low until hot and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serve with celery sticks and crackers.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving:

231 calories; protein 11g; carbohydrates 10.7g; fat 15.9g; cholesterol 42.9mg; sodium 784.1mg.

The dish is lightened up using a host of reduced-fat products like cream cheese, cheese, etc. Another way to further reduce the calories in the dish would be to use less of what it calls for. It still provides the flavor without an overwhelming amount on the dish.

— from allrecipes.com

Kyle Kamp, RDN, LD, is a clinical dietician at Saint Alphonsus.

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