Super Bowl snacks need to be fun, but they don’t need to be unhealthy. Don’t believe me? These football food makeovers will convince you that heathier eats can score big, even with the most finicky football food fans.
Skip heavy mayo- and sour cream-based dips and play with hummus instead. Not just plain hummus, either—this is game day, after all! Season your chickpea dip with seasonal meyer lemon juice, add feta or roasted garlic, or stir in your favorite chile sauce. You can even skip the chickpeas all together and make your “hummus” with edamame or cannellini beans.
What do beef, bacon and beer all have in common? Yes, they all make chili taste delicious. What else? That’s right—they are super heavy and fattening. As it turns out, you can make a delicious chili using only 2 tablespoons of canola oil, ground turkey, cannellini beans and 3 cups of low-sodium broth. Don’t believe me? The proof is in the pudding, er, I mean chili: Turkey and White Bean Chili (pictured above).
The Other Vegetable Chips
Believe it or not, potatoes do not have the corner on the tasty chip market. Ever tried kale chips? Don’t knock ‘em till you try ’em! Tossed with salt and vinegar, kale leaves crisp up into a snack that will rival your favorite potato chip. Parsnip chips are also great: thinly slice, toss with olive oil and smoked paprika and bake until crispy. And beet chips might be my favorite. Tossed with sea salt they hit the spot, smack dab in the middle of the sweet-salty zone.
There are endless ways to flavor roasted chickpeas, each more delicious than the next. Start by draining the beans. Pat them dry—very dry—and toss to coat with olive oil. Roast in a 400 degree oven and, once out, shake them all about with salt and your favorite combo of dried spices and/or chopped fresh herbs. Or you can sweeten the pot by carefully coating hot roasted chickpeas with maple syrup or honey and your favorite spices (e.g., cinnamon or cardamom). Spread the sticky beans on a baking sheet to dry before serving.
Before you jump to conclusions, do not assume that I’m encouraging you to bake wings just to keep things healthier. Our serious food-loving friends at Serious Eats conducted a baked vs. fried buffalo wing taste test last year and found that BAKED WAS BETTER! The key was to marinate the wings for at least an hour beforehand to give them a good, strong flavor base. Fire up your oven to 400 degrees and bake for about 30 minutes, flipping the wings half way through.
Now this part is just for health reasons: consider skipping traditional buffalo wing sauce, which is packed with butter. Instead, go for a lighter marinade. I love the combo of sesame oil, soy sauce, mustard, garlic and ginger. If it’s spicy you crave, try a Korean style glaze: toss wings with flour instead of marinating before baking. Once the crispy wings come out of the oven, toss with a combination of rice wine vinegar, sugar, hot sauce (such as Frank’s) and soy sauce combined to taste.
What are your favorite healthy versions of beloved snack foods? Share the wealth and may the best snacks win!