"Not everyone is going to be satisfied with the salad bowl. If you're not ready to replace your entire plate with healthy alternatives, you can still significantly cut down on calories and fats by blending your favorites with some lower-calorie options and alternatives," says Lona Sandon, a clinical nutritionist at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Be realistic, she added. Fat free does not necessarily equate to lower calorie intake and the lack of flavor of some substitutes might actually lead people to want to eat more.
Offer taco salad bowls instead of burgers, substitute lean ground turkey and beans for beef or cold cuts, offer subs with lots salad-style fixings and use less cold cuts, or grill some vegetables to help fill the plate. In addition, pay attention to how much and how many portions you're taking.
Below are some nutritional alternatives for Super Bowl parties:
Chips: Try baked versions, lightly salted pretzels, unbuttered popcorn sprinkled with grated parmesan cheese, trail mix, unsalted nuts, pumpkin or sunflower seeds. (These options are not really calorie savers over chips, just alternatives with better nutritional value.)
Dip: Try salsas, low-fat sour cream dips or yogurt instead of traditional chip and vegetable dips, or low-fat versions of dressing instead of traditional ranch dressing. Substitute fat-free or lower-calorie ingredients such as vegetarian-style refried beans or whole beans, sour creams, low-fat cheeses and ground turkey to reduce calories for 7-layer dip.
Pizza: If selecting more than one slice, substitute a slice of thin crust, veggie pizza for a slice of three-meat pizza. Or make homemade pizzas substituting lean ground turkey instead of hamburger or sausage and use low-fat cheese and wheat pizza doughs.
Wings: For chicken wings, take the skin off, bake or grill instead of deep frying. Consider grilling chicken pieces instead of traditional wings. Make your own hot sauce without the butter and use low-fat versions of cream cheese, sour cream, and blue cheese or substitute plain Greek yogurt.
Chili: Try meatless chili with different types of beans. Substitute or mix with ground turkey or ground soy. Include rice in the bowl to help fill you up faster.
Beer/Soda: Try light wines and light beers. Drink a glass of water before grabbing the next beer or soda. Substitute flavored water for soda.
Nachos: Cut calories with baked tortilla chips, vegetarian refried beans or mashed black beans, low-fat cheese, peppers and tomatoes, fat-free sour cream, and lean ground turkey or ground soy.
BBQ: Try vinegar-based sauces instead of those with high brown-sugar content. Mix chicken and beef on your plate to help lower overall calories. Offer kabobs mixed with vegetables instead of traditional steak.
Ribs: Try leaner beef ribs instead of pork ribs, which are usually fatter. Try baby back instead of normal ribs. Consider brisket instead because you're likely to eat less.
Burgers: Try using your favorite spices and rubs on veggie, turkey, or soy burgers to give similar flavor with fewer calories, or blend hamburger with ground turkey or ground soy. Try beef jerky to get the beef flavor.
French fries: Try baked sweet potato fries.
Macaroni and cheese: Try low-sugar baked beans or rice dishes.
Bratwurst/hot dogs: Bratwurst usually has more calories than lean hotdogs. Look for 100 percent beef franks. Also try turkey or soy franks. Use wheat buns or tortillas.
Desserts: Cut up fresh fruit, serve over low-fat vanilla yogurt in parfait cups or topped with light whip cream and a sprinkle of granola.
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