Getting ready for the big game can be fun for the whole family, but it’s no reason to cut back on your nutrition. Some easy changes can help you enjoy the foods you look forward to and show your kids that healthy food is also fun.
“Many typical game day snacks are full of fat or sugar but low on fiber,” said Kim Iszler, RD, a dietitian at Samaritan Pediatrics. “That means you’ll eat more without feeling full.”
According to Iszler adding wholesome ingredients like spinach or chickpeas to dishes isn’t sneaky — it ups the amount of good-for-you stuff while maintaining the fun of football-watching food. Mix in some finger foods like a bowl of mandarin oranges and a veggie tray to go with other snack foods and you are off to a good start.
“Tasty food is a key part of any celebration but it’s important for kids to see that nutrition doesn’t go out the window on those days,” said Iszler. “Modeling healthful nutrition every day can help them have a better relationship with food as they grow up.”
Get in the spirit and coordinate with your crew!
To rev up Beaver fans, try these orange and black themed dishes:
Sweet Potato Skins
Sweet potato, Greek yogurt and spinach all combine to create a baked potato that’s full of flavor and doesn’t skimp on nutrition.
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 1 Tablespoon of butter
- 2 green onions, diced
- 12 oz fresh baby spinach
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- 2 oz reduced fat cream cheese
- 1 cup chickpeas
- ¼ cup grated mozzarella cheese
- Bake sweet potatoes until tender, about an hour at 350°F.
- Sauté green onions in butter until soft. Add spinach and sauté until wilted. Set aside.
- Cut cooked potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop insides out into a bowl. Mash together with Greek yogurt and cream cheese. Stir in spinach mixture, chickpeas, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Refill skins with potato mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 10 more minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Buffalo Cauliflower ‘Wings’
These spicy bites of cauliflower are a great way to reduce the saturated fat in traditional wings and eat more veggies.
- One head cauliflower
- ¾ cup flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Cut washed cauliflower into 1-inch florets.
- Whisk together remaining ingredients to create a batter. Toss the cauliflower in the batter to evenly coat.
- Separate cauliflower on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until cauliflower starts to brown.
- Cover in buffalo or barbecue sauce. Garnish with additional roughly ground pepper.
Mini Corn Dog Muffins
Cut out the deep fryer and make mini corn dogs at home.
- Follow the recipe on the corn meal box for corn bread muffins.
- Pour batter into muffin tins lined with black paper.
- Cut a hot dog into quarters and place one in the middle of each muffin tin.
- Bake according to corn bread muffin directions.
If your crowd is cheering for the Ducks, try these green and yellow snacks:
Cucumber Rollups with Pesto
Skip the tortilla and wrap up some delicious ingredients in a slice of cucumber!
- Slice a cucumber length-wise in strips thick enough to hold together ingredients, but thin enough to roll.
- Spread on a thin layer of pesto or hummus and add your fillings. Try spinach, bell pepper, carrots, red onion and sliced turkey breast.
- Roll the cucumber slice and secure with a toothpick.
Try these zucchini fries dipped in marinara.
- 4 large zucchini
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 egg
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Trim ends of zucchini and cut into 4” long sticks.
- Whisk egg in a small bowl and set aside. Mix together bread crumbs, Parmesan, garlic powder, salt and pepper and set aside.
- Dip zucchini sticks into egg wash then roll in bread crumbs to thoroughly coat. Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until crispy.
Spinach Artichoke Dip
Replacing some of the cheese and cream with cannellini beans keeps the creaminess while reducing fat.
- 12 oz frozen spinach, prepared according to directions
- 15 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed
- 2 Tablespoon of olive oil
- 14 oz artichoke hearts, drained and rough chopped
- 4 oz reduced fat cream cheese
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- In a food processor, combine cannellini beans and olive oil until smooth.
- Combine bean mixture and all other ingredients in a bowl and mix. Transfer to an oven safe baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes or until warmed through.
A light dessert like chocolate dipped strawberries can be decorated to please fans on both sides:
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
Chocolate dipped strawberries make a great dessert for when you want something light and sweet. Pipe on laces in the color of your favorite team to make a festive finish to your game day spread.
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 10 large strawberries
- ½ cup white chocolate chips
- Food coloring (for team colors)
Wash and allow strawberries to thoroughly dry.
- Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe dish that is deep enough for the melted chocolate to cover the strawberry, like a glass liquid measuring cup. Start with one minute in the microwave, stir, and then add 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each.
- Dip a strawberry in the melted chocolate and lay on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Allow to set for 20 minutes.
- Melt white chocolate chips using the same method as above. Add food coloring to tint to your chosen color.
- Scrape melted white chocolate into a piping bag fitted with a small tip, or a sandwich bag with a small corner cut off. Pipe a colored stripe across the top and bottom of the strawberry, and one down the middle with three or four cross lines to make the laces.
For more healthy meals, see our video recipes or visit Samaritan Diabetes Services.