Over the past few years, under the influence of my boyfriend and his family, I have become a Jets fan. With each game, I’ve grown to appreciate the screaming passion, nail-biting suspense, and never-waning loyalty to your team. But it’s definitely not easy being green. At last week’s game, we nervously, but mindlessly, ate to calm our nerves. Luckily, we were prepared with fresh vegetables and low-fat snacks to munch on. As watching football usually comes with endless eating, be prepared with healthier choices for your parties.
Why have you done a good thing?
Watching television, especially for long hours during a sports game, tends to be coupled with overeating on cheese laden, deep-fried foods. This can add up to thousands of calories, without even realizing it! Research by one of Your Secret Ingredient favorites, Brian Wansink, PhD, showed that people who watched TV for 60 minutes ate 28% more than those watching for 30 minutes, but reported eating about the same amount as the 30-minute watchers.
Basically, the longer we sit in front of the TV, the more we mindlessly eat. In general, the simple solution is to eat meals ate a table with other people (sans TVs, video games, blackberries, iphones, computers, ipads, etc) to keep the distractions away and prevent mindless eating. But with TV based parties, like the superbowl, we are in real trouble, especially when stress is running high!
Here are more tips to prevent mindless eating:
· Eat from a salad plate - Switching to a 10" salad plate results in 22% fewer calories consumed per meal, which leads to a weight loss of around 18 pounds per year for an average size adult.
· Use a smaller serving spoon - You can eat 30% less by switching to a smaller serving spoon.
· Drink from a tall skinny glass – People tend to pour 30% more into a wide glass than into a slender one
· Leave serving dishes in the kitchen - Place your serving dishes six feet away to give yourself a chance to ask if you’re really hungry before we grabbing for seconds.
For more mindless eating prevention tips, check more of Wansink’s research or pick up his book Mindless Eating
We can also make comfort food fake-outs that still taste like our classic football foods. Try these healthy spins on football favorites this Sunday and at your Superbowl parties!!
Spicy Hot Wings with “Blue Cheese” Dipping Sauce (4 servings)
1 ¼ chicken wings
Non-stick spray, for grilling
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
½ cup low sodium chicken stock
2 tbsp Cholula hot sauce or more to taste
1 clove of garlic, minced
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp cornstarch
“Blue Cheese” Dipping Sauce
1/3 cup nonfat buttermilk
1/3 cup low fat mayonnaise
½ cup crumbled blue cheese
2 tsp lemon juice
Pinch salt and pepper
Start by preparing the Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce. Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Heat a grill pan to high. Toss wings in salt and pepper. Spray grill with non-stick spray and place wings on the grill in single layers. Grill until golden brown on both sides and the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. **Note: if you don’t have a grill pan, you can still make this recipe by baking wings in the oven at 375 for 30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
For the hot sauce, combine the stock, hot sauce, garlic, salt in a small saucepan. In a small bowl, stir cornstarch with 1 tbsp of water. Bring hot sauce mixture to a simmer, and stir in enough of cornstarch mixture to thicken the sauce to consistency of heavy cream. Remove from heat. Taste and add more hot sauce if you want. Add the wings and coat completely with sauce.
Baked Mozzarella Bites (8 servings)
2 packets low-fat mozzarella string cheese (about 16 mozzarella sticks in total)
½ cup whole wheat plain bread crumbs (recommend Whole Foods 365 brand)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 carrots, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
½ tsp of salt
¼ tsp pepper
1, 32 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 dried bay leaf
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Start by making marinara sauce. In a large pot, heat oil of medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until onions are translucent. Add carrots and celery, salt, pepper. Saute until all vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and bay leave and simmer for 1 hour. Remove bay leaf when done cooking. This sauce can be made a day ahead of time. Rewarm before using.
For mozzarella sticks, chop mozzarella sticks in half. Prepare batter stations. Crack eggs into one bowl. In another bowl, combine bread crumbs, flour, garlic powder, salt, pepper. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dip each cheese stick first in egg mixture, then dry ingredients. Complete this process until all are coated, placing mozzarella sticks on baking sheet as you go. Bake until golden brown, about 20-30 minutes. Serve with marinara sauce.
A Slimmer Warm Spinach Dip (12 servings)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 (9-ounce) package artichoke hearts, defrosted, rinsed and dried
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, excess liquid squeezed out.
1 cup reduced fat sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Pita wedges or crudites, for serving
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until onions are light golden but not browned. Remove from heat and cool.
In a food processor combine artichoke hearts, spinach, sour cream, mayonnaise, mozzarella and salt and pepper. Process until smooth. Add cooled onion-garlic mixture to the food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
Spray an 8-inch glass square baking dish or 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray and add mixture. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through. Serve with pita wedges or crudites.
Turkey Chili (Serves 5, 1 cup servings)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
5 garlic cloves, diced
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 chipotle chile, seeded and diced
1 lb 99% lean ground turkey
1 (14 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, rinsed
Tortilla chips, carrot and celery sticks
Heat olive oil and add onion, garlic, peppers, chili powder, oregano, and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add chicken stock and let reduce by half. Add tomatoes and beans and bring to a boil. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips, carrot and celery sticks.
J…E…T…S Let’s go Jets!!!
--Amy Santo, MS. RD