Snacking Smart for the Super Bowl
This is a guest post by: Marilyn Derr
It’s almost time for National Cheat Day aka the Super Bowl. It’s the day we ignore our New Year’s resolutions and chow down on high calorie bar food and drink lots of beer. It sounds so harmless: just one day of junk. However, exposing our taste buds to unhealthy foods will only kick-start the ab-killing cravings for days to come. To avoid falling off the wagon, I’ve got some appetizing and diet-friendly recipes that will keep your abs smiling while making your taste buds feel like they’re cheating.
To start off, let’s replace the greasy pizza with something more heart-friendly- Pita Pizzas! At the supermarket, buy whole wheat pitas, jar pasta sauce (I like Newman’s Own) and veggie toppings of your choice! It’s a fun way to mix and match different ingredients and personalize your pizza while staying in line with your diet. Once you lay out your pita, drizzle lightly with olive oil (this helps prevent the pita from getting soggy), add ½ clove of garlic and evenly spread out ¼ cup of sauce. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon of dried oregano and dried basil. You can add thinly sliced mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, onions, alfalfa sprouts or beans. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes at 300 degrees. Top with fresh basil and scallions and enjoy!
Next, let’s replace that beef hamburger. Full of cholesterol and fat, this is the one item you really want to cut out on the big day. Instead, try a black bean burger. Black bean burgers are so delicious, it will make you forget all about a beef burger, and you will skip the unnecessary calories as well in this simple recipe. What you’ll need: 1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed, ½ green bell pepper, diced, ½ onion, diced, 3 cloves of minced garlic, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 teaspoon hot sauce or Thai chili sauce (I like Sriracha), and ½ cup breadcrumbs (you can get gluten-free if you prefer). In a medium bowl, mash the beans with a potato masher until it takes on a paste-like consistency. Add diced pepper, garlic and onions to the mashed beans and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg, spices, and chili sauce. Slowly incorporate the egg mixture with the bean mixture. Add the bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Once fully incorporated, start shaping out your patties. Whether you want to make them slider style or burger size is your choice. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10 minutes each side at 375 degrees. Once they’re done, dress your burger with whatever toppings you desire! These make great leftovers too. They’re so yummy, your taste buds will be fooled!
Next, let’s replace that sweet snack you crave. A healthy twist on peanut butter cups, this is more decadent and fresh then you might think. What you’ll need: a mini muffin pan, coconut oil, cacao powder, sea salt flakes and maple syrup (the real kind). For the chocolate, mix together ½ cup of melted coconut oil, ½ cup of raw cacao powder, ¼ teaspoon sea salt flakes, and 2 ½ tablespoons of maple syrup and mix well. Spray your muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour 1 tablespoon of chocolate into the muffin pan, and put into the freezer for 5 minutes. Once the chocolate has hardened, add ½ teaspoon of nut butter of choice (I like almond butter), then top it off with 1 tablespoon of the chocolate mixture. Freeze for 30 minutes and enjoy! Remember, these are RAW nut butter cups, so if you aren’t eating them right away, keep them in an airtight container in the fridge.
Lastly, this is a cocktail recipe that even the boys will want to try. It’s not a pink girly drink but it’s low on sugar. I make this when I’m trying to avoid the calories in beer, but still want that fizzy factor. Mix Bacardi Pineapple Fusion Rum (or your favorite Bacardi flavor) with soda water. Garnish with orange and lemon slices. It’s refreshing and light! If you’re feeling fancy, add some mint leaves. You won’t miss the beer with this cocktail in hand.
So instead of filling your tummy with food guaranteed to make your abs lose their firmness, snack confidently and guilt-free this Super Bowl. Instead of worrying about how to avoid the junk, cut it out completely and bring your own dishes to the party. I guarantee your friends will want some of those delicious snacks as well, so bring enough to share! Kick back, sport your favorite team’s jersey and enjoy this Super Bowl season happy and healthily.