Last year 111,300,000 people in the U.S. watched the game, making it the most-watched program in television history. And during those four hours of viewing it is estimated that the average person consumes 1200 calories and 50 grams of fat from snacks.
Other estimations by food organizations say that Americans will consume eight million pounds of avocados, 100 million pounds of chicken wings, 14,500 tons of chips, 4.3 million pounds of pretzels, 2.5 million pounds of nuts and 3.8 million pounds of popcorn on Super Bowl Sunday.
It is also the biggest grilling day of winter and there is a sharp increase in coffee and antacid sales the day after. One of the reasons for all of the antacid may be the 9 million pieces of pizza Domino's Pizza estimates they will deliver during the game.
After reviewing this display of American gluttony perhaps you are considering some healthy snacking or efforts in moderation and portion size.
Below are some tips for smart snacking:
Place items in a small bowl or on a smaller plate instead of grazing the buffet table or eating from a large bowl in front of the television. This way you can keep track of how much you are consuming.
Buy light versions of dips or substitute salsa for creamy dips. If making your own dip use light sour cream, mayonnaise or cream cheese. Fat-free versions are also available but they contain many preservatives and artificial ingredients. Low-fat buttermilk can be used to make lighter versions of ranch and other dips.
Popcorn is a smart choice with 31 calories per cup for air-popped and 55 calories for oil-popped. To oil-pop place two tablespoons of oil and three kernels of popcorn in a large-heavy bottom pan. Heat over medium-high heat until one kernel pops and add the remaining popcorn and cover.
Smarter dipping choices include vegetables, pretzels and fruit. Pretzels are low in fat and an assortment of vegetables that include asparagus, zucchini, grape tomatoes, yellow squash or asparagus might be more interesting to your guests than broccoli, celery and carrots. Fruit can also be dipped in low-fat yogurt.
Choose a leaner beef or lean turkey to make meatballs or burgers. Add some marinara or low-fat Italian dressing to supplement the moisture that is lost from the lower fat content of the meat. Also a bit of Worcestershire or barbecue sauce can mask the turkey flavor and fool your guests into thinking they're eating beef.
Slow down on the drinks by alternating sodas or alcohol with water. Sodas, sweet tea, wine, beer and mixed drinks are full of calories and sugar. For every one of those drinks you should alternate it with a glass of water. You will stay hydrated and drink half as much.
Trade chicken legs and wings for chicken tenders. It's not the dark meat that is so bad it's the skin. Marinate chicken tenders in wing sauce mixed with barbecue sauce and then baste and bake. The flavor is the same but the fat and calories are reduced.
Nuts are a healthy snack but in moderation. One ounce of almonds has 170 calories and after a few handfuls that starts to add up. They are also roasted in oil and very salty. To cut back on salt and some fat buy raw nuts, toast them yourself in a sauté pan over low heat and a small amount of oil. Finish by adding your own spicy seasoning or a couple of teaspoons of honey.
Black Bean Tostado Cups
1 bag Tostitos scoops
1 large can unsalted black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup low-sodium salsa
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 finely chopped tomatoes
1 eight ounce can whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
Place the beans in a food processor with the salsa and black pepper and blend together. In a bowl combine the chopped tomatoes, corn, onion and cilantro. Stir together. Spoon some of the black bean mixture in the bottom of the scoops and top with the corn mixture.
Fruit Skewers with Chocolate Yogurt Dipping Sauce
Assorted cut fruit (apples, pears, cantaloupe, honeydew, pineapple or berries)
1 cup low-fat raspberry Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped fine
Thread the fruit onto skewers. Combine the yogurt with the chopped chocolate. Serve with the skewers. Note: Greek yogurt is a good choice for this dip. Look for a yogurt that is low in fat and sugar with live cultures and no artificial sweeteners. Typically the fat-free yogurts have added sugar and many artificial ingredients.
Creamy Avocado Salsa
1 large avocado
1/4 cup pico de gallo
1 cup light sour cream
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped (Or 1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro)
Mash the avocado in a bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients. If serving in the avocado skin be sure to wash the outside of the skin thoroughly before cutting into it.
Homemade Winter Salsa
1 can Hunts or Food Club unsalted diced tomatoes
1/2 purple onion, small dice
2 large Fresno peppers, seeds and ribs removed, minced
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
Salt to taste
In a fine mesh sieve, rinse tomatoes, shake off the excess water and place in a bowl. Place the onions in the sieve and rinse in hot water. This will take some of the bite out of the onions and make them easier to eat raw. Shake off excess water and add to the tomatoes. Combine all ingredients. Cover and chill for 30 minutes allowing all flavors to combine. Note: Normally I would make this salsa with fresh tomatoes but this time of year they are expensive and lacking in flavor. The unsalted diced tomatoes, when rinsed, are a perfect substitute for fresh tomatoes. This can of tomatoes mixed with the other ingredients cuts out the 1225 milligrams of sodium that you would find in a can of Rotel tomatoes or the 250 milligrams of sodium that are in 2 tablespoons of Pace Picante Sauce. This recipe also calls for Fresno peppers which are in season during the fall and winter. They are one of my favorite peppers to use instead of jalapeños. Their heat is more subtle with less of a grassy flavor.
1 can chickpeas
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons tahini
Drain the chickpeas and reserve some of the liquid. Rinse the chickpeas in a strainer in cold water. Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency. Add as much of the chickpea liquid as you like to reach the desired consistency. Note: A two tablespoon serving contains 60 calories, 4 grams of fat and 88 milligrams of sodium compared to 70 calories, 6 grams of fat and 120 milligrams of sodium for the Sabra brand of hummus. Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and tahini, a sesame seed paste, can be found on the specialty foods aisle, usually near the Indian or Asian ingredients. A jar of tahini is a little expensive but it keeps in the refrigerator for months and a 12-ounce jar will make 12 batches of hummus. In this recipe, I rinse the chickpeas to alleviate some sodium but reserve some of the liquid from the can so less oil is necessary. One can of chickpeas makes almost two cups of dip and you can also season the hummus with your favorite spices or mix in other ingredients like peppers, sweet potatoes or carrots.
Buffalo Tenders with Skinny Blue Cheese-Balsamic Sauce
2 pounds chicken tenders, trimmed and halved
1/2 cup wing sauce
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Kraft crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup well-shaken low-fat buttermilk
Marinate the chicken in the wing and barbecue sauce for four to eight hours. Line a baking sheet with foil. Take the tenders out of the marinade and place on the baking sheet shaking off the excess liquid. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the marinade caramelizes. In a small mixing bowl add balsamic vinegar, mustard and blue cheese. Mash together with a whisk and slowly begin whisking in the buttermilk. This dip makes approximately 1/2 cup and a 1 tablespoon serving has 1 gram of fat and 14 calories.