SUBSCRIBE

Super Bowl game plan for a healthier party

Super Bowl parties don’t have to get bogged down with lots of fat, calories or sugars. Kick your game day menu up a couple of points with healthier alternatives to some popular recipes. Go into it, too, with a game plan on how to eat smart whether you’re the host or guest because you know you’re going to eat and eat and eat.

“It’s the unofficial American holiday, and it’s celebrated by eating,” says Paul Kita, food and nutrition editor at Men’s Health. “There’s a difference between indulging and overindulging.”

Kita, author of Men’s Health cookbook “A Man, A Pan, A Plan” (Rodale, $15.99), admits he’s guilty of going to a party and overeating. Then there’s the Super Bowl, which he notes offers both a long game time and such traditional goodies as Buffalo chicken wings and brownies.

But take heart! You can work around it.

“Part of what the Super Bowl is about is variety,” said Jack Bishop, chief creative officer for America’s Test Kitchen. “People want to see options.”

Those options can include healthy, smart items. Here are some tips from Kita and Bishop to put your Super Bowl party into play.

Hit the veggies first. “Whenever you go to a party with a buffet, there’s a supermarket crudites platter out,” said Kita, noting you need to “appreciate it” as likely the only vegetables you’ll get all night. Go there first; the fiber may help prevent overeating later.

While guests can’t do much with the usual supermarket veggie tray but eat it, Kita said hosts can make their own tray stocked with “surprising and delicious” foods, including sugar snap peas, jicama, multicolored carrots from the farmers market, even kale chips fresh from the oven.

Smarten up your dips strategy. Kita dismisses what he calls the usual “crummy ranch dressing” (try the vegan version of this super-popular favorite below) in favor of more healthful dunks, like hummus, guacamole, tzatziki or baba ghanoush.

Bishop zeros in on dips, as well, suggesting ways to boost both flavor and nutrition from the new America’s Test Kitchen book “Nutritious Delicious” (America’s Test Kitchen, $29.99). Add pureed sweet potato to hummus, garnish guacamole with pomegranate seeds and roasted pepitas. Don’t forget your dippers — look to whole grain chips or raw vegetables, he said.

Sub healthier ingredients in favorite dishes. Bishop points to barbecue and notes you can substitute leaner pulled turkey for pulled pork. You’ll get the same flavors and textures, he said. And don’t stop there. Pair with a healthy slaw made with red cabbage and carrots and tossed with a vinegar-based dressing.

Watch the beer. And not just for the usual reason. Some craft beers are more caloric than others, and you may find yourself downing 300 to 400 calories per pop. How to tell which is the lighter brew?

“Look at the alcohol by volume,” Kita said. “Higher the alcohol, the more calories.”

wdaley@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @billdaley

Vegan ranch-style dressing

Prep: 20 minutes

Makes: 2 cups

This recipe from “Vegan Burgers and Burritos” (Page Street Publishing, $21.99) by Sophia DeSantis calls for a high-speed blender like a Vitamix. If you don’t have one, DeSantis suggests grinding all the ingredients in a coffee grinder to a fine powder, or soaking the cashews for at least 2 to 3 hours or overnight. (Boil the cashews for 30 minutes if you forget the soaking, she writes.)

1 cup unsweetened plain cashew or almond milk

¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons white vinegar

5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 ½ cups raw cashews

1 ¼ teaspoons sea salt

2 teaspoons dried parsley

1 teaspoon each: garlic powder, minced onion

½ teaspoon each: onion powder, dried dill

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon mustard powder

1. Place the nut milk, vinegar and lemon juice in a bowl; allow to sit while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.

2. Add the milk mixture, cashews and salt into a high-speed blender; puree until smooth.

3. Add the parsley, garlic powder, onion, onion powder, dill, black pepper and mustard powder to the blender; pulse until well mixed. Refrigerate the sauce to thicken. Serve as a dip for fresh raw vegetables.

Nutrition information per tablespoon: 32 calories, 2 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 2 g carbohydrates, 0 g sugar, 1 g protein, 113 mg sodium, 0 g fiber

Pumpkin turkey chili

Prep: 50 minutes

Cook: 2 hours, 5 minutes

Makes: 8 servings

A recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s new cookbook “Nutritious Delicious.” Use 93 percent lean ground turkey instead of 99 percent fat-free ground turkey breast to prevent toughness, the book notes. Serve with low-fat Greek yogurt, lime wedges, chopped avocado, cilantro and toasted pumpkin seeds.

1 pound 93 percent lean ground turkey

2 cups plus 1 tablespoon water

Salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

4 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, torn into 1-inch pieces.

1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons each: ground coriander, dried oregano, paprika

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes

2 tablespoons cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil

2 onions, chopped fine

2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree

2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed

1. Toss turkey, 1 tablespoon water, 1/4 teaspoon salt and baking soda in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside to rest, 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, toast anchos in a dry Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes. (Reduce heat if anchos begin to smoke.) Transfer to a food processor and let cool, about 5 minutes.

3. Add cumin, coriander, oregano, paprika and pepper to food processor with anchos; process until finely ground, about 2 minutes; transfer mixture to a bowl. Process tomatoes and their juice in now-empty food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds.

4. Heat oil in now-empty Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions, bell peppers and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add turkey, and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no pink remains, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in spice mixture and garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in pureed tomatoes, pumpkin and remaining 2 cups water; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, 1 hour.

5. Stir in beans, cover, and cook until slightly thickened, about 45 minutes. (If chili begins to stick to bottom of pot or looks too thick, stir in extra water as needed.) Season with salt to taste. Serve.

Nutrition information per serving: 282 calories, 9 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 35 g carbohydrates, 7 g sugar, 21 g protein, 445 mg sodium, 13 g fiber

Flavor-packed sausage sandwiches on roster for Super Bowl parties »

Chicago's best vegetarian, vegan and plant-based foods »

Why you should be eating conservas »

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad