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Super (healthy) Bowl Party!

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Well, the Packers are not going to the Super Bowl this year. However, many folks will be watching the game anyway – which means Super Bowl parties! This is a time when friends and family get together to cheer on their favorite team. Along with all the cheering, there is a lot of eating! Super Bowl weekend is a good time to enjoy tasty and healthy snacks as you watch your favorite team move the ball down the field.

Go Mediterranean
Data suggests that the Mediterranean way of eating, which includes fish, seafood, nuts, seeds, olive oil, beans, other legumes, fruits and vegetables can be very beneficial. For your party, arrange a platter with a variety of olives (green, Kalamata, stuffed), along with hummus and toasted whole wheat pita chips. Or try babaganoush (an eggplant based dip) with chopped vegetables such as carrots, celery and cauliflower florets. Instead of wings try offering shrimp with a dip made from Greek yogurt. This dip could also be used for chopped vegetables. Using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream cuts down on the calories and fat. Speaking of fats…

Think healthy fats
Consider putting out an assortment of nuts, served alongside dried fruit like apricots, dried pineapple, raisins and cherries. Throw in some dark chocolate dipped nuts, too.

Serve guacamole along corn chips or toasted pita chips. Try making a Mexican layer dip, which incorporates layers of black beans (or refried beans), shredded low fat cheddar cheese, chopped tomatoes with green chilis, Greek plain yogurt, chopped avocado (or guacamole). Serve with whole grain tortilla chips. Speaking of avocados…

Consider mixing avocado with shredded cooked chicken and sautéed onions for a variation on the classic chicken salad. The avocado adds healthy fat to this traditional salad and allows you to cut down on the amount of mayonnaise used. Serve with whole wheat pita bread for some delicious mini sandwiches.

Include Fruit
A fruit salad is not only nutritious but also tasty and easy to make. Combine apples, pears, pomegranates, watermelon, cantaloupe, mandarin oranges, pineapple, kiwis or whatever fruit you prefer for a wonderful and colorful sweet snack. You can have fun with the fruit and arrange them in the shape of a football or a football field.

Make a fruit pizza. Use low-fat vanilla yogurt for the sauce and arrange pieces of fruit on top of it on a low-fat pie crust. Sprinkle with unsweetened coconut flakes and enjoy!

Fruit kabobs can be a great hit as well – pineapple and nectarines caramelize quite nicely when grilled.

Pile on the veggies
A vegetable platter is easy to make; but if you have a little more time, you might want to make bruschetta. Slice up some tomatoes and place on top of pieces of grilled French bread that has been rubbed with garlic and topped with some olive oil. Next, place a thin slice of fresh mozzarella cheese. Top with a fresh basil leaf for a wonderful appetizer ¬– Italian style. You can also make a tomato salad with chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic and basil tossed in light vinaigrette and served over grilled bread.

Salsa with whole grain tortilla chips is an all-time favorite, as are stuffed mushroom caps!

Don’t forget the beverages
Smoothies can be a great hit at any party. Simply mix yogurt, a little bit of juice and fruit such as mango, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, bananas, etc. for a healthy and refreshing drink. Kids will love this!

Have pitchers of fruit-and vegetable-infused water. Earlier in the day, wash and cut up lemon in slices and place in a pitcher full of water. Cover and let stand. You can also use cucumber slices or orange slices.

Above all, remind your guests to drink responsibly if you plan to offer alcoholic drinks.

With some planning and creative thinking you can enjoy delicious and healthy offerings at any Super Bowl party.

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