Healthier Eats at Super Bowl Parties

Last Updated Feb 1, 2010 7:56 AM EST

In our "Countdown to the Super Bowl" series, Matt Goulding, contributing editor of Men's Health magazine and one of the lead authors of "Cook This, Not That" gave you advice on how you can graze the big game buffet table and make intelligent choices on what to eat.

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First of all, Goulding said, know that there are rarely any genuinely healthy options at Super Bowl parties.

"Relax, take the basic nutritional information you already know with you and try to make the best choices for yourself," he said. "If you are the one throwing the party, know that your guests will appreciate anything small you can do to give them at least some nutritional options. Know also that anything you can make at home is going to be a smarter option nutritionally than any prepared food you buy from a restaurant chain or grocery store."

Beer:

At most Super Bowl parties you are presented with a variety of options for beer. For those of you that like darker beers, we offer you this comparison. Which is smarter to indulge in for the big game?

GUINNESS V. BUD ALE
CORRECT ANSWER: GUINNESS


A 12-ounce bottle of Bud Ale has 182 calories and a Guinness 12 ounce bottle has 126. So if you pop the top off of the Guinness you are saving 56 calories. If you are planning on having more than one, that can add up. Stick with the Guinness.

A lot of beer drinkers with a mind for nutrition will attempt to stick to light beers this Sunday, so we have a little comparison for them, as all light beers are not created equal.

AMSTEL LIGHT V. SAM ADAMS LIGHT
CORRECT ANSWER: AMSTEL LIGHT


A 12-ounce bottle of Amstel light has 95 calories, while a 12 ounce bottle of Sam Adams Light is 124 calories. That's almost 30 calories a bottle. Again, if you plan on having more than one -- that adds up, Amstel is the smarter choice.

Food:

Chips and dips are a part of any great Super Bowl party menu.

SPINACH DIP V. GUACAMOLE
CORRECT ANSWER: GUACAMOLE


The serving size for both of these chip and dip bowls is about 10 to 12 chips. For spinach dip, that's going to come to about 325 calories and 22 grams of fat. The guacamole is a much more digestible 200 calories and 13 grams of fat.

Another must for the Super Bowl? Finger food.

MEATBALLS V. PIGS IN A BLANKET
CORRECT ANSWER: MEATBALLS


The serving size here is three of each goodies. Now if you chose meatballs you are correct, but make sure you skip the dipping sauces. For the meatballs, you are looking at about 240 calories, 12 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat and 650 mg of sodium. For the pigs in a blanket, it's about 400 calories, 25 grams of fat, nine grams of saturated fat, and 1,200 mg of sodium. Start off with protein-based bites like meatballs and you'll fill your belly quickly, saving you from senseless snacking the rest of the night. Hot dogs in a bun are one thing, but dogs wrapped in a buttery pastry blanket are a waistline expanding combination.

Soups and salads:

CHILI V. CAESAR SALAD
CORRECT ANSWER: CHILI


Obviously, Goulding said, this is going to depend somewhat on the restaurant the food is purchased from, or the recipe the host uses, but on average, you are looking at 400 to 600 calories for the chili and 900-1,200 for the Caesar. Stick the chili, but just like meatballs, stay away from the toppings. It's the heavy melted cheese and gob of sour cream that are going to get you into trouble. Filled with spices, tomatoes, beans and lean protein, chili will always trump Caesar salads, which, with their fatty dressings, deluges and parmesan flurries, are never a good idea.

Main events:

NACHOS V. SLIDERS
CORRECT ANSWER: SLIDERS


Consider the recipe and the toppings first, but the sliders are usually your best bet. For two sliders, it's about 320 to 500 calories, 18 to 24 grams of fat, and 400 to 750 grams of sodium. For the nachos, we are taking into account the average serving size of forty chips and 4 ounces of cheese. For that it's about 1,100 to 1,200 calories, 50 to 110 grams of fat, 18 to 41 grams of saturated fat, and 1,600 to 3,000 mg of sodium. Compared to the smorgasbord of saturated fat and calorie bomb toppings in the nachos, sliders will deliver huge flavor for a truly mini caloric price tag.

THIN CRUST V. PAN CRUST
CORRECT ANSWER: THINK CRUST


Our two pizza choices are the following, Domino's thin crust with ham, mushroom, green pepper and onion compared with Papa John's pan 12" Garden fresh pizza. The serving size is two slices a pop. For two slices of the Domino's thin crust you have 396 calories, 20 grams of fat with 7 grams of saturated fat, and 820 mg of sodium. For Papa John's, it's 760 calories for 2 slices, 40 grams of fat, 14 grams of saturated fat and 1,420 mg of sodium. Domino's crunchy thin crust is one of the lowest-calorie pies in America. Make sure to stick to the veggies when it comes to toppings, or at least have a couple of there. Always note that thick deep dish or pan crust slices like these from Papa John's will generally pack 40 percent more calories than regular or thin crust slices.

For recipes, go to Page 2.

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