Thursday, February 4, 2010

Surviving the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl means different things to different people -- some are die hard football fans, some just like the commercials, some host annual parties and some just attend. But across the board, Super Bowl party food often ranks right up there with the game itself. And for many, Super Bowl equals super fattening!

Chips, dips, wings, nachos, BBQ, chili, burgers, potato salad, giant subs (or hoagies or grinders...whatever you call them where you live!) -- sound about right? There are ways to hit the Super Bowl parties without gorging on all the junk food. Sure, it's tough to pass up -- especially those once-a-year treats. So have a little of the bad (but oh-so-good!) stuff, then follow a couple simple rules to make it through the second half!

If you're the type who doesn't eat unless you're hungry (I'm not, I eat all the time, regardless!), then this is a great tip for you. Fill up before you get there! Eat a healthy meal of lean proteins and lots of fiber, which will fill you up and keep you feeling full longer. Or, if you plan to sample some of the fare, then have a snack so you don't arrive at the party famished. We all know what happens when we do that! We eat so fast that we've taken in a ton of calories before we realize it. At least I do. Maybe you're all a bit luckier, but my appetite gets me every time. So try this tip...

With my propensity to munch, I stay close to the veggie tray. The crudités might not sound all that appealing, but a handful of sweet sugar snap peas, a couple baby carrots and some tangy grape tomatoes later, I'm not hungry anymore. And I haven't taken in too many calories. I skip the dip unless it's light and go for the salsa on my veggies. You won't even miss the chips. (OK, maybe a little, but we're on a mission here!)

Moderation is key, of course, but if you're going to have that sandwich, take off the cheese. You'll save 100 calories per ounce (yes, OUNCE!) of cheese. That's about a slice. Ugh! Pile on the veggies and some mustard for extra flavor without the calories and fat. And if you have the option, use whole grain bread. It's higher in fiber, which again, will fill you up faster.

Yes, I have to go there...if you're watching your weight or simply trying to be healthier, don't drink your calories. A light beer has about 100 calories, but some ales are upwards of 350 calories EACH. Soda is loaded with sugar and calories. I have learned to love sparkling water with lemon, a splash of fruit juice, or as part of a wine spritzer. Yum! 'Nuff said.

Now, if you're hosting the party, the ball is in your court! Wrong sport, but you get the idea. Put out these healthy choices for your guests, and I'll bet they won't even know they're eating healthy! Options from The Svelte Gourmet Cookbook include Sweet & Spicy Chili (getting rave reviews nationwide!), Tangy Buffalo Chicken (make it as chicken fingers!) and Blue Cheese Burgers (try them with the Zucchini "Fries" on my favorite new blog, MelDabbles.com!). And here's what I'll do -- if you order the cookbook before Sunday, I'll email you these three recipes so you'll have them in time for your party!

This morning I was backstage at Lowcountry Live (ABC News 4 in Charleston) and had the pleasure of watching Louis Yuhasz, founder of Louie's Kids, share some of his healthy Super Bowl snacks during the cooking segment. Louie's Kids is a non-profit organization fighting childhood obesity, and I'm thrilled to be supporting them as part of the upcoming BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival. The Svelte Gourmet will be cooking live (!!!) on Lowcountry Live on February 18th at 10 a.m., and I am donating a portion of cookbook sales from the show and the festival to Louie's Kids. If you'd like to be a part of this donation, simply mention Louie's Kids in your cookbook order!

I'm still donating a portion of all sales to the Haiti relief efforts, too, through the end of February.
The Svelte Gourmet: A Month of Main Courses is available at www.thesveltegourmet.com/products.html.

Happy Super Bowl! Enjoy!

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