Don’t Drop the Ball When it Comes to Healthy Super Bowl Snacking

You’ve made it this far on your New Year’s Resolution to eat healthier in 2012. Don’t let one fun-filled football celebration make it a false start to the year!

Studies show that we eat more when given more options, making it even more important to serve healthier options for your guests or to watch your intake when presented with a buffet of snacks. Trying to choose tasty, healthy options can be challenging, not to mention confusing. Here are a few tips to help you and your fellow football enthusiasts.

Are you hosting a party?

Try these suggestions to help everyone stay healthy:

  • Serve hummus as a tasty, low-fat spread for crackers and vegetables. Or use low-fat or fat-free yogurt instead of sour cream or mayonnaise to reduce fat in creamy dressings or dips.
  • Offer low-fat cheese instead of full-fat varieties.
  • Choose baked over fried.
  • Spice up the vegetable tray with an Asian-style vegetable platter of baby corn, snow peas and fresh bean sprouts drizzled in a low-fat sesame dressing. Or a southwestern theme of fresh salsa, black beans and corn served in a half a red pepper.
  • Put out a bowl of nuts, a heart-healthy option. Make sure to look for raw, unsalted or lightly salted varieties. If time allows, roast your own with your favorite seasonings.
  • Offer alcohol-free drinks. Spritzers made with sparkling water and cranberry juice don’t contain empty alcohol calories. (Make sure to get 100-percent juice — not juice mixes — so it will count towards your guests’ daily fruit and vegetable quota!)
  • Try angel food slices topped with berries, sorbet or exotic fruits such as mango, papaya and kiwi for a sweet snack.

Will you be a guest at an upcoming party?

Here a few tips to help you make healthier choices:

  • Eat something before you leave so you don’t arrive hungry.
  • Take a walk around the table and see what foods are available before you pick up a plate.
  • Balance your plate with fruits and vegetables.
  • Limit yourself to one trip.
  • Use a smaller plate to help with portions.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption, as this will lower your inhibitions making you more likely to make unhealthy food choices.
  • Choose nutrient-rich appetizers.
  • Enjoy desserts in small portions.

Parties are opportunities to be social, so have fun! With a little forethought and preparation, you can make healthy food choices that will not intercept your good eating habits.

Tips submitted by Wendi Spitzig, LCSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker with Memorial Medical Center’s Bariatric Services Team.