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Healthier Eats at Super Bowl Parties

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.

Road to Super Bowl XLVII starts at

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."


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?


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.


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.


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


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.


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:


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:


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.


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.

Loaded Pizza
300 calories
14 g fat (6 g saturated)
780 mg sodium

Ordering a supreme pizza for delivery is an open invitation for caloric calamity. Best-case scenario, you're looking at 250 calories a slice; worst case, 500 or more. Here, we use Boboli's whole-wheat thin crust shell as a low-cal, fiber-rich base. We then load the pizza with a team of nutritional all-stars (red peppers, artichokes, fresh basil) and a good amount of turkey pepperoni. Torn deli ham or Canadian bacon would also work great here.

You'll Need:
12" Boboli whole-wheat thin pizza crust
1 cup tomato-basil pasta sauce (we like Muir Glen)
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella
15 slices turkey pepperoni
1/2 cup sliced onion
1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
1/2 cup chopped green olives
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 jar (6 oz) artichoke hearts, drained
1 cup fresh basil leaves (optional)
Fresh basil is a perfect pizza garnish, but unless you have other uses for it, it's probably not worth the extra $2 or $3 price tag.

How to Make It:
l. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cover the crust with sauce and then cheese. Sprinkle with the pepperoni, onion, peppers, olives, garlic, pepper flakes, and artichokes.
2. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Top with the basil (if using) and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings / Cost per serving: $3.07

Turkey Chili
330 calories
6 g fat (1 g saturated)
490 mg sodium

Though we've never been shy about professing our undying affection for chili, it's not without its dangers, namely soaring sodium counts and reliance on fatty ground beef.

Go lean by using ground turkey and build flavor with spices, beer, and a bit of chocolate.

You'll Need:
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup chili powder
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
2 bay leaves
2 lb lean ground turkey
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 piece (1 oz) dark chocolate or
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 bottle or can (12 oz) dark beer
1 Tbsp chopped chipotle pepper
1 can (28 oz) whole peeled tomatoes
1 can (14 oz) white beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 oz) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
Salt and black pepper to taste
Hot sauce or cayenne (optional) to taste
Raw onions, shredded cheese, chopped scallions, lime wedges, sour cream (optional)

How to Make It:
l. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the cumin, oregano, chili powder, cinnamon, and bay leaves and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes,
until the spices are very fragrant.
2. Add the turkey and tomato paste and stir with a wooden spoon until the turkey is no longer pink. Add
the chocolate, beer, chipotle, and tomatoes, squeezing each tomato between your fingers so that it's still chunky but not whole. Turn down the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
3. Add the beans and season with salt and pepper. Taste; if you like your chili hotter, add your favorite hot sauce or a few pinches of cayenne. Cook until the beans are hot. Serve topped with your choice of garnishes.
Makes 6 servings / Cost per serving: $3.65

Grilled Ceasar Salad
410 calories
29 g fat (3.5 g saturated)
610 mg sodium

Caesar salad may be the most misleading food in America-it's the type of dish you
order when you want to be good to your body, only to find out it's eating up half of your day's calories. This recipe transforms the high-calorie dressing into a lighter vinaigrette and adds substance, flavor, and nutrition in the form of sundried tomatoes and olives.

You'll Need:
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
2 anchovies (soak in milk for 10 minutes if you want to mellow the flavor)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Juice of 1 lemon
6-8 turns of a black-pepper mill
1/2 cup olive oil

4 hearts of romaine
2 English muffins, split
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6-8 oz each)
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup black or green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

How to Make It:
l. Preheat the grill. Combine all the dressing ingredients except the oil in a food processor and pulse to blend. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil.
2. Cut the romaine down the middle lengthwise, leaving the root end intact so the leaves hold together. Brush the romaine, English muffins, and chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. When the grill is hot, add the chicken and grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side until firm and caramelized. Remove the chicken and allow to rest.
3. Place the lettuce and English muffins on the grill. Cook the lettuce for 1 to 2 minutes, just enough to lightly char and wilt the leaves. Cook the English muffins until brown and crispy.
4. Slice the chicken into thin strips. Cut the muffins into bite-size pieces. Arrange both, along with the olives and sundried tomatoes, over the individual lettuce halves. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with cheese.

Makes 4 servings / Cost per serving: $3.76

For more recipes, go to Page 3.

Sliders Two Ways
320 calories
18 g fat (7 g saturated)
400 mg sodium
(average of both)

Unless it's dessert, never order anything on a restaurant menu with the word "mini" in it. Sounds counterintuitive, but so-called mini bites come with maximum fat saturation. These tasty burger bites, however, deliver huge flavor for a truly mini caloric price tag.

Mushroom-Bleu Cheese Sliders
You'll Need:
2 tsp olive oil
1clove garlic, minced
11/2 cups sliced mushrooms
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 lb ground sirloin
2 Tbsp steak sauce
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
4 small soft rolls, about 2" in dia-meter (Martin's mini potato rolls are perfect for the job)

How to Make It:
l. Heat a cast-iron skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Add the oil and garlic and sauté for 60 seconds, until fragrant but not brown. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mushrooms are nicely caramelized. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat a grill pan or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Season the sirloin with salt and pepper; form into 4 patties, being careful not to overwork the meat (which will create dense, chewy patties). Brush each patty with steak sauce. When the pan is hot, add the burgers and cook for 3 minutes on the first side, then flip. Add the blue cheese crumbles to the cooked side and continue grilling for another 2 to 3 minutes, until the patties are firm and the cheese has begun to melt.
3. Remove the burgers. While the pan is still hot, toast the rolls. Brush them with a bit more steak sauce if you like, then top each with a burger and mushrooms.

Makes 4 appetizer servings or 2 meal servings / Cost per serving: $1.17

Chipotle-Bacon Sliders
You'll Need:
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp chipotle pepper
½ lb ground sirloin
Salt and black pepper to taste
½ oz shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
4 small soft rolls, about 2" in diameter
4 strips cooked bacon
Caramelized Onions

How to Make It:
l. Mix the mayo and chipotle pepper. Prepare and cook the burgers as described to the left, omitting the steak sauce and subbing Cheddar for the blue cheese. Spread the rolls with a bit of the mayo mixture, then top with the burgers, bacon, and caramelized onions.

Makes 4 appetizer servings or 2 meal servings/Cost per serving: $3.01

Nachos with Chicken and Black Beans
330 calories
12 g fat (6 g saturated)
500 mg sodium

We've never found a nacho worth recommending in the restaurant world. The sad truth is that the tortilla chips are rendered a helpless vessel for thousands of calories of cheese, sour cream, and oily ground beef. And besides, who wants to dig through soggy nacho detritus in search of a chip crisp enough to bring from plate to mouth? This version ensures that every chip is evenly covered with protein-packed chicken and fiber-rich beans, plus enough salsa and lime-spiked sour cream to keep your mouth watering.

You'll Need:
6 oz tortilla chips (round chips are preferable)
(Want to boost fiber and lower the calorie content? Garden of Eatin' Black Bean are the best tortilla chips in America.)
1 can (16 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
11/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 red onion, diced
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup light sour cream
Chopped cilantro
Salsa (either fresh, page 174, or your favorite bottled salsa)
Pickled Jalapeños

How to Make It:
l. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Arrange the chips in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Spoon the beans evenly over the chips, then top with the cheese, chicken, and onion. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cheese is fully melted and bubbling. Remove.
2. Combine the lime juice, sour cream, and cilantro. Spoon over the nachos. Top with the salsa and jalapeños.

Makes 6 appetizer servings / Cost per serving: $2.65

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