On the Ball

Last Editorial Review: 1/30/2006


Score big on Super Bowl Sunday with this low-fat spread.

WebMD Feature
By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD

The anticipation builds. Never mind which two teams will face off -- what will you serve on Super Bowl Sunday?

For most football fans, finger-licking food is the play of the day. The traditional winning spread usually includes chicken wings, barbecue ribs, pizza, nachos, creamy dips, and plenty of beer. Want to bypass the extra calories? It can be tough. Super Bowl feasts have progressed from simple chips and dips to blow-out spreads that can sink those of us watching our weight -- in other words, 65% of U.S. adults.

If you're the host this year, here are some winning plays sure to score with pigskin aficionados who may prefer not to know that they are eating nutritiously. Your game-day strategy is to sneak "good" ingredients into familiar foods without detection.

Lean Cuisine Use lean ground turkey instead of beef when making chili.

Fat-Free Buy fat-free versions of sour cream, plain yogurt, and cream cheese to knock out fat without sacrificing flavor in the majority of dips and casseroles.

Bean Town Add beans to pump up fiber and protein, making dishes satisfying without adding animal fat.

Veggie Might Toss in vegetables-whole, grated, or pureed-to boost nutrients and flavor with minimal calories.

Liquid Assets Remember that alcohol has plenty of calories. Stock up on light beer, white wine for spritzers, and diet soft drinks. Be sure to provide zero- and low-calorie beverages so that your guests can alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones throughout the day.

Below, find recipes for Goat Cheese, Fig, and Basil Pizza, Light Seven-Layer Dip, Chicken Satay Salad Wraps, Game-Day Spicy Popcorn.

Goat Cheese, Fig, and Basil Pizza
Makes 8 servings (2 pieces each person)

4-oz package dried figs, chopped
1 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp water
1 large pizza crust or 4 round pita breads
1 cup crumbled soft goat cheese (a 4-oz package will yield 1 cup)
3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp pine nuts
1/2-1 tbsp olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine the figs, balsamic vinegar, and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Place the figs in a small bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  4. Top the pizza with the goat cheese and figs, and sprinkle with the basil and pine nuts. Drizzle the olive oil over the top. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cheese melts.

Per serving: 168 calories, 6 g protein, 26 g carbohydrate, 5 g fat, 2.3 g saturated fat, 7 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 215 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 25%.

Light Seven-Layer Dip

15-oz can fat-free refried beans with jalapeños
8 oz fat-free sour cream or plain yogurt
1-oz packet taco seasoning mix
8 oz guacamole
2 cups finely shredded reduced-fat cheese
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1/4 cup sliced black olives
Baked tortilla chips

In a 13x9x2 clear dish, layer each of the following and serve with baked tortilla chips:

  1. Refried beans
  2. Sour cream mixed with taco seasoning
  3. Guacamole
  4. Shredded cheese
  5. Tomatoes
  6. Scallions
  7. Olives

Per serving (dip only): 83 calories, 5 g protein, 6.1 g carbohydrate, 4.5 g fat (1.9 g saturated fat, 1.9 g monounsaturated fat, 0.3 g polyunsaturated fat), 7 mg cholesterol, 0.6 g fiber, 324 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 46%.

Chicken Satay Salad Wraps
Makes 8 servings

1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed, meat pulled
1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 large yellow pepper, chopped
1 tbsp sugar + 1 tsp sugar substitute
1 tbsp minced, peeled, fresh ginger, or 1 tsp dried
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp creamy peanut butter
2-3 tbsp water
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
8 (8") fat-free whole-wheat flour tortillas 8 large lettuce leaves

1. Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Place the chicken, cucumber, carrots, and bell peppers in a large bowl.

2. Make the dressing by adding the sugar, ginger, lime juice, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and garlic in a blender until smooth. Add the peanut butter and water; process until smooth. Add the peanut dressing to the chicken, stir in the cilantro, and mix well.

3. To assemble, place a large lettuce leaf on each warm tortilla and fill with the chicken mixture. Roll it up and enjoy.

Per serving: 209 calories, 17 g protein, 27 g carbohydrate, 6.5 g fat, 1.3 g saturated fat, 37 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 273 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 25%.

Game-Day Spicy Popcorn

16 cups air-popped popcorn
Chopped almonds, pecans, or walnuts (optional)
2 cups shredded sharp jalapeño cheese
1/4 cup butter (optional; can replace with trans fat-free margarine)
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika


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In a large bowl, combine the popcorn, nuts (if using), and shredded cheese. Melt the butter in a microwave, add the spices, and stir well. Pour the butter-spice mixture over the popcorn and toss.

Per serving: 209 calories, 17 g protein, 27 g carbohydrate, 6.5 g fat, 1.3 g saturated fat, 37 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 273 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 25%.

Source: WebMD Weight Loss Clinic

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