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Game for good-for-you munchies

The Baltimore Sun

Are you hosting or going to a Super Bowl party this year? Should you "pass" on the pork rinds, call a "flag" on the fried foods and "run" past the potato chips?

These are some questions people might face during the game. Is it possible to avoid all temptations?

Probably not, but you can make a few smart choices to help reduce the caloric load andstill enjoy yourself.

Here are a few helpful hints to stay on track:

Aim for 30 percent. Most people do not think about eating fruits and vegetables at Super Bowl parties, but finding ways to sneak in a few and making them about 30 percent of your intake can help your waistline. Keep it simple by choosing cucumbers, baby carrots, red peppers, cherry tomatoes or any other favorite dipping vegetables. You can also bring a fruit salad as appetizer or light desert. Most people will find it hard to resist fresh pineapple, strawberries, kiwi or any other sweet fruits, and having them available will increase the odds of partygoers making healthful choices.

Choose good fats. High-fat cheese dips, greasy chili and sour cream with fried nachos, and many junk foods are often loaded with artery-clogging "bad" fats. Instead, choose dips such as guacamole, which has heart-healthy "good" fats from avocados, and nuts and seeds. Hummus, a great-tasting dip found in most major supermarkets and health-food stores, is also a source of "good" fats. Remember that even though foods with "good" fats are healthier, they are high in calories, so eat them in moderation. Other ideas include choosing baked and multigrain chips, vegetarian bean dips and a great no-fat option, salsa.

Mix your drinks. I don't mean include more mixed drinks, but rather switch between high- and low-calorie beverages. If you are going to drink alcohol, keep a cold bottle of water nearby and alternate between water and alcoholic beverages. By doing this, you fill yourself up while drinking less calories overall. Choose light beers instead of regular ones, and save another 50 calories per 12-ounce serving.

Kevin Grodnitzky is a registered dietitian and personal trainer in Baltimore.

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