Not long ago, I read that Superbowl Sunday is second only to Thanksgiving in terms of total calories consumed.  Wow!  I would have never guessed, but on thinking about it, it makes sense.  What foods are marketed?  Four hours of pizza, beer, soda, chicken wings, nachos, mini sausages, chips and dip… High calorie + low nutients + lots of time = overeating.

What to do instead?  Bulk up that table with vegetables, and don’t put anything out until halfway through the game.  Make sure no-calorie drinks are available, like seltzer and unsweetened tea or coffee.  Try some of the snacks below, and make a few items that pack some serious punch to up the macho factor.

1.  Thin crust veg pizza (okay, maybe with anchovies) OR English muffin pizzas.  Buy or make a crust high in whole grains and low in fat and top it with a thin layer of tomato paste, herbs, part-skim mozzarella, and roasted mushrooms and onions.  The thin crust cuts calories, as does going light on the cheese.  Using tomato paste instead of sauce helps prevent sogginess and ups the ante on flavor.

2.  Stuffed mushrooms.  Try some lighter ones, like http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Stuffed-Mushrooms-107963, instead of something logged down with cream cheese.

3.  Put ’em on skewer and grill.  Alternate different vegetables and perhaps some pineapple.  Whole garlic cloves, perhaps, with zucchini, onions, and peppers. 

4.  Wrap steamed vegetables in the thinnest ham you can find and set out with a good strong mustardy vinaigrette.  You’re aiming for a high vegetable: ham ratio.

5.  Serve warm corn tortillas (or whole wheat ones) with fajita veggies and a small amount of meat or spicy black beans.

6.  Make a really good spinach and artichoke dip.  Puree cooked white beans, add olive oil, herbs, and pepper to taste.  Chop steamed or defrosted frozen spinach along with marinated artichokes and add to the white bean puree.  Heat, and add some grated parmesan, pecorino romano, or blue cheese if you’re looking for a cheesy flavor.  Maybe even a few red pepper flakes?

7.  Sweet potato “fries.”  Roast sticks of sweet potato in olive oil with lots of thyme and a pinch of chili pepper.  Having dry fries and a hot oven help yield crunchy fries.

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