Super Bowl Food Touchdowns

Whether you are a football fanatic or a once-a-year football fan, there’s one tradition that nearly everyone looks forward to: the Super Bowl! Super Bowl parties often are fueled by food, booze and fun commercials. If you’re not a superfan, then you are probably most excited about the experience of sharing game-day food and drink with your friends.

Mindless snacking during game time leads to the excessive consumption of calories from Super Bowl party must-haves, like eight-layer dip, buffalo wings, pizza and beer. It is not uncommon for a fan to consume an entire day’s worth of calories during the game. And forget about the after party— calories galore! While professional football players may need the energy provided by higher-calorie foods, football fans watching the game can’t compare their sporadic jumping for joy (or frustration) to the non-stop intense workout that players get on the field.

Still, it is possible to enjoy the game without indulging in a crazy calorie-fest. Here are some easy swaps to turn your Super Bowl food fumbles into touchdowns!


Fumble: Buffalo Wings
Touchdowns: Chicken Tenders or Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

buffalo-cauliflower-wingsChicken wings tend to be a staple during the big game. Typically, wings are fried, doused in sugary sauce and dipped in fatty dressing. One wing can end up totaling 125 calories. Multiply that by 6 wings and you have consumed about half your daily recommended calories in wings alone. Save hundreds of calories by baking or grilling boneless, skinless chicken breast marinated in buffalo or bbq sauce.

Diane Kress’s buffalo cauliflower bites are an excellent substitution for chicken wings! They are low carb, gluten free, rich in fiber and help you to get some extra veggies in during the game!

Fumble: Pizza
Touchdowns: Homemade pizza using a cauliflower crust, whole-wheat English muffins or a high fiber tortilla

English-Muffin-Pizzas-Recipe-2Whole-wheat English muffins and tortillas serve as a healthier base for your pizzas.  They also help with portion control!

Nature’s Own 100% whole-wheat English muffins contain 120 calories and 3 grams of fiber.  Split the English muffin in half, toast and top with your favorite toppings (don’t forget the veggies!) for a delicious personal pizza!

La Tortilla Low Carb, High Fiber Tortillas are a great choice.  One tortilla is only 50 calories and is packed with 52% of your recommended daily intake of fiber. You can be creative with these tortillas when making your game day favorites like pizza, quesadillas and homemade chips!

Making your own cauliflower pizza crust is a guilt-free way to balance your carbohydrate intake during the game.  If you know that you will be eating other carbohydrate rich foods (chips), then skip the added carbs with the conventional pizza and make your pizza on a cauliflower crust!  One slice of cauliflower crust (if the pizza is cut into 8 slices) has only 50 calories, 2 grams carbohydrates and 5 grams of protein!

Fumble: Chips & Creamy/Cheesy Dips
Touchdowns: Homemade tortilla chips and raw vegetables with Greek yogurt based dips

11836931553_22ea8623f8_oIf you choose to get store-bought chips, opt for baked instead of fried to save you about 30 calories per ounce! My favorite brands of store-bought chips are Snikiddy’s Eat Your Vegetables sea salt veggie chips, Garden of Eatin’ blue corn tortilla chips and Food Should Taste Good tortilla chips. For an even healthier option, make your own tortilla chips at home! Slice whole grain tortillas into small triangles, place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes. Be creative and add seasonings as desired. Once baked, serve with hummus, guacamole, salsa or your favorite dip.


Of course, don’t forget to have some veggies along with those chips! Most veggies have fewer than 50 calories per cup compared to 150 calories in regular potato chips. Baby carrots, celery, snap peas, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, jicama, and bell peppers all taste great plain or with healthy dips!

Dips can be healthy (hummus, bean dip, guacamole, salsa) or they can be calorically dense and filled with fat (sour cream based, eight layer, cheesy dips). Hummus and bean dips can save you calories, but also provide protein and fiber. Sabra Classic Hummus has just 35 calories and less than a gram of saturated fat per tablespoon, compared to nearly two grams of saturated fat in a tablespoon of regular sour cream.

Here are my favorite dips to enjoy with veggies and chips:

Fumble: Pretzel bites and cheese sauce
Touchdown: Zucchini fries

zucchini friesZucchini fries are a great alternative to pretzel bites. This tasty snack will help you increase your intake of veggies. You can skip the dip since they already have such a great flavor!

Zucchini fries – Preheat oven to 425°. Cut 2 zucchini into 3-inch sticks. Whisk 1 egg white in a small bowl, and add ¼ cup milk. Combine ½ cup part-skim Parmesan cheese and ½ cup whole-wheat seasoned breadcrumbs in a separate bowl. Dip zucchini sticks into egg mixture, and then roll in breadcrumb mixture. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, and place zucchini on sheet. Bake for 25–30 minutes or until golden brown.

Fumble: Party mix or candy bowls
Touchdowns: Air popped popcorn, steamed edamame, raw nuts or roasted chickpeas

506afaf8dbd0cb30770014d3._w.540_h.500_s.fit_During the game it is easy to be consumed by the action. If party mix and candy bowls are out you may find yourself mindlessly munching throughout the day. Try to be aware of your hunger and fullness cues any time that you are eating. Here are some healthier alternatives to the bowls of party mix and candy:

  • Raw nuts
  • Roasted chickpeas are a crunchy treat with endless flavor combinations
  • Steamed Edamame – prepare a steamer and steam 1 lb whole edamame pods (defrosted if frozen) until hot or about 5 minutes. Once hot sprinkle with 2 tsp kosher salt. For some added flavor add ¾ teaspoon ground ginger, black pepper or other flavors as desired!
  • Air popped popcorn or store-bought popcorn can be a good snack to munch on. Angie’s Popcorn Boom Chicka Pop Lightly Sweet Popcorn has only 120 calories and 4 grams of fat for about 3 ¼ cups of popcorn.

These healthier substitutions for game day favorites won’t leave you feeling tired and guilty, but like a Super Bowl champion!

What are some of your favorite game day foods?


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About Gina
Gina Consalvo-Hassick, MA, RD, LDN, CDCES, NCC is a registered dietitian and is actively involved in various food and nutrition communities. She has counseled and assessed a wide range of patients and has experience in outpatient, inpatient, and consulting. Areas of specialization include weight management, eating disorders, and wellness nutrition.
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Gina Hassick,

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