Friday, February 5, 2016

How to Enjoy the Big Game Guilt Free

Our home is a combination of New York Giants and New England Patriots fans.  Mitch and I make up the latter.  My husband and Joey make up the former.  It makes for an interesting game when they face each other.

Brian, Joey, Mitch and David (Brian's brother) at the November 6, 2011 Giants vs. Patriots game at Gillette Stadium.
After Superbowl XLVI when the Giants defeated the Patriots a second time, the family feud disheartened me.
Superbowl XLVI was exactly four years ago today.
I will always be a Patriots fan at heart.  Even though the Patriots lost the AFC Championship game against the Broncos two weeks ago, I will still watch the Superbowl this weekend, and be able to enjoy it without the pressure of my team winning or losing.  Last year's game was a real nail biter.  Malcolm Butler is my hero:

This will go down in history as one of the best plays of all time!  I remember thinking, "Did that seriously just happen?"

Superbowl is a food fest!  If you are trying to lose weight, how do you enjoy the Superbowl and not go off your diet entirely?  Last year, I did so successfully and was really proud of myself too.  Here's my strategy for getting through the day and some snack food / recipe ideas for game night.

If you are anticipating eating and drinking a lot through the game, make sure you don't starve yourself all day. You want plenty of protein for breakfast and lunch.  I recommend a protein shake or an egg frittata for breakfast, a hearty salad with lots of vegetables and chicken breast for lunch.  For snacks throughout the day, try Greek yogurt, carrot sticks, and grape tomatoes with cottage cheese.  Eat light, but smart before the game.

Protein shake
1/2 C. almond milk
1/2 C. plain Greek yogurt
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 Tbsp. baker's cocoa
3-4 ice cubes
Baker's unsweetened cocoa adds just the right amount of chocolate flavoring without the sugar.  It's only 10 calories and makes my chocolate protein shake taste 100% better.
(I have lots of ways to make my protein shake, but this is my favorite and is lowest on carbs.  Anticipating a carb-rich game night, I want to go light on carbs for the day.)

(230 calories, 3.3 g fat, 16.5 g carbohydrates, 41.5 g protein)

Egg Frittata
1-2 eggs (your choice), beaten
1/2 C egg whites (I use Egg Beaters)
1/2 C steamed, chopped broccoli
1/2 C steamed, chopped spinach

Combine all ingredients together.
Preheat your pan on Medium.  Spray with Pam or other cooking spray (if you have an olive oil sprayer, that's best).  Pour your egg mixture into the pan.  Cook for a few minutes until  you are able to flip your frittata over to cook your eggs on both sides.  You can just cook it through until the top of the eggs is solid, but I prefer to flip them.  Sometimes it flips beautifully and sometimes it's a little messy, but I'm the one eating it and I don't care if it's pretty or not, as long as it tastes good.

You can use other vegetables too.  Try onions, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes or your favorite veggie.  

(With two eggs:  267 calories, 10.3 g fat, 7.7 g carbohydrates, 31.8 g protein)

Game Night Snacks and Meal Options

So, you want to ENJOY yourself on game night, but you don't have to completely blow it.  Believe it or not, there are a lot of healthy options for both meals and snack options.  Skip dessert and focus on the rest.

Appetizer / Snack Ideas

Hummus Dip with Pretzels or vegetables

Hummus is essentially just chickpeas with tahini (a sesame seed paste) and a variety of seasonings.  If you're like me, you buy yours at the store.  It's relatively cheap and saves me time.  However, it is super easy to make and you can control the ingredients that way.  Just google "how to make hummus" and you'll be well on your way.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

This recipe first appeared on Last Minute Recipes
2 chicken breasts*, cooked and shredded
1 8 oz. packages of cream cheese
1/2 C Ranch dressing
1/2 - 3/4 C Buffalo sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot Wings Buffalo sauce)
1 C Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
1 package (bag) multi-grain Tostitos Scoop tortilla chips, crackers or carrots and celery sticks

*You can use canned chicken OR roasted / rotisserie chicken from Costco or your local grocers store.  It's up to you.  I just put some chicken breasts into the oven.

Tip:  Use low fat cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese instead of the full fat variety.  Use light ranch dressing OR try plain Greek yogurt with ranch seasonings.

Substitute Blue cheese dressing for Ranch dressing
If using Blue cheese dressing, substitute 4 oz. Blue cheese crumbles for the Jack cheese

Heat oven to 350F.  Mix cream cheese and Ranch dressing together.  Add Buffalo sauce.  Pour into a 1 quart baking dish (or pie plate), stir in chicken and Jack cheese.  Bake 30 minutes, or until bubbly.  Serve with tortilla chips, crackers or veggies.

Taco Dip

1 C. plain Greek yogurt
1 C. low fat sour cream
1 jar (15.5 oz.) salsa - mild, medium or hot - you pick
1 pkg. taco seasonings (or use your own taco seasonings)

Combine yogurt, sour cream and salsa.  Stir.  Add taco seasonings to taste.  I don't mix the entire package into the dip.  I add a little bit at a time, slowly.  The dip should not be runny and watery.  If it is, add more sour cream and yogurt.  Let chill for a couple hours before serving.

Serve with vegetables or tortilla chips.  I prefer Tostitos Scoop multigrain tortilla chips, but any variety will work.

Chip Alternatives

In 1983, Lay's Potato Chips launched their ad, "No one can eat just one" which has survived the test of time.  This commercial with Kareem al dul Jabar and Larry Bird really makes me laugh:

Potato chips.  No matter how you serve them, they are hard to resist.  Full of sodium and fat, they are super addictive, so it's a good idea to skip them entirely during this week's game.  Instead, opt for lots of vegetables with healthy dip options.  If you really need the salty, crunch option, try some soy crisps for a change:
Nutritional Info:  One serving (28 g/ 21 crisps) has 120 calories, 3 g fat, 15 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber and 8 g protein.
One serving of Lay's potato chips (28 g/ 15 chips) has 160 calories, 10 g fat, 15 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber and 2 g protein.
The Main Event

So, what is being served at this year's Superbowl Party?  Instead of pizza and grinders, try Chili or Taco Salad.

If you drain the excess fat, chili is super healthy, being high in both protein and fiber (thanks to the beans).  Substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream and opt out for the shredded cheddar cheese.  There's no need to post a recipe here.  Chili is easy to make, you just need ground beef or turkey, an onion, kidney beans, crushed tomatoes and seasonings.  Check online for different recipes.

Taco Salad
I love taco salad.  In fact, it is by far my favorite way to eat salad.  We eat it at least once / month.  I don't have a recipe for taco salad.  I just throw it together with whatever I have on hand.
I keep the shredded cheese and chips on the side.  That way those who want cheese can put on as much as they want and the chips don't get soggy.
Ingredient Suggestions:
1 - 2 lbs. Ground turkey or beef, browned with fat drained
1 chopped onion, sauteed with meat (I skip this, not an onion fan)
Taco seasonings (either a package or your own preference), added to the meat (you might need to add a few drops of water to blend the seasonings in)
salad greens and / or lettuce:  LOTS of it
cilantro (optional, I don't use it)
1 can black beans, drained (or try refried black beans for a change)
1-2 Haas Avocado - peel and cut into pieces (you don't want to chop it up or it can become more like guacamole
tomatoes:  either lots of grape tomatoes, cut in half or whole tomatoes cut up
cucumber:  peeled and sliced
black olives:  either whole or sliced
corn (optional)
Shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese

Serve with Tostitos multi-grain Scoops.

Salad Dressing options:  light Italian or Ken's light Catalina dressing, or mix the two together.  Try adding Taco Sauce to your dressing to cut the calories in half.

This salad is very eye appealing.  Just put the greens on the bottom of your bowl / serving platter. Top with meat.  Add remaining ingredients around the entire salad.  The bright colors make you want to eat it up.  I leave the chips on the side.  My family typically crushes the chips over the salad and eats it that way.

What to drink?

LOTS of water all day long!  If you like to drink alcohol, be conservative and smart about it.

My husband says, "Life is too short for light beer."  So, enjoy your beer, but limit its consumption to one or two bottles.

To me, Superbowl Sunday is not a wine drinking kind of day.  I like wine, but it doesn't float my boat on Superbowl Sunday.  If it does yours, opt for a drier red wine and sip slowly throughout the night.

Hard Alcohol?
Try vodka with soda water and a wedge of lemon or lime.  (Only 64 calories for one shot of vodka and 0 carbs.)

If you really like to party on game night, be smart about your consumption.  Drink at least 8 oz. water in between every alcoholic drink.  Don't drive!!!

Questions for you:
(Answer in the comment section below.)

Are you planning to watch the Big Game?  Who are you cheering for?  What are you planning to eat?

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