The Super Bowl is coming up this weekend, and it reminds us that there is often a nutritional irony to watching sporting events.
During these events, we, the viewers, are often seated on the couch, with eyes glued to the television screen and continually chomping on processed snacks* (cue visuals of cheese dips, chicken wings and
chips here!). Many sports fans are also gulping down
beer after beer, while watching in awe as athletes perform feats of strength, speed and endurance. Instead of inspiring viewers to move their bodies, watching sports most often inspires eating and drinking. Many of us will be watching the Super Bowl this Sunday as well, as we think about this bittersweet day/event. It signals the end of football season (which means we have to wait many months for more football), but it also signals an end to mindless snacking and drinking-which is a relief for many of us here at Nutrition Energy.
When we say football, most people immediately associate foods such as salty chips, and unhealthy snacks + guzzling beer. Our question to you: Is it possible to break some of these habits and still enjoy the game? Possibly even enjoy it more?
We say a resounding YES!
The most detrimental part of eating these sodium rich and saturated-fat heavy foods while watching a sporting event is the high quantity we tend to consume while eating mindlessly. Instead of focusing on our fullness signals, we're absorbed in the TV and fail to recognize satiety. After watching a game, rather than feeling like you'd be better off on the bench, wouldn't you like to feel like a starter?
There are ways to have your absolute fav's for Super Bowl snacks while also sneaking in fun, appetizing Super Bowl munchies that will not leave you feeling bloated or
guilty once fourth quarter ends. Here are some ideas and recipes to make your Super Bowl experience more enjoyable, and that will leave you feeling great!
*Harvard Health describes processed food as the following, "Processing includes canning, cooking, freezing, dehydration, or milling. The main concern is with processing that reduces a food's nutritional wealth or adds things, like sodium and sugar that you may prefer to avoid or limit."
Healthify Your Super Bowl Party
In your chip bowl: fill the bowl with ½ the amount of chips you'd usually use and the rest with air-popped popcorn. Popcorn is a whole grain, and also contains very little fat and no sodium-a perfect balance to the salty, fatty chips.
Use your LARGEST serving bowl to put our baby carrots and celery sticks (or any raw and crunchy veggies). These raw vegetables satisfy that desire for crunchy foods and are fiber-rich leaving us fuller for longer. BONUS: Raw vegetables are a great vessel for healthy and delicious dips!
Swap out creamy artichoke dip for homemade hummus (recipe below), or store bought bean dip. Garbanzo beans are high in both fiber and protein, meaning they are slowly digested and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose levels. And as we know, they will satisfy our hunger more then the usual snacks.
Set out half the amount of snack foods that you usually serve and only refill them at half-time. People tend to each as much as is presented to them.
Serve chili (recipe below) or a heartier entrée. You can make it with meat or vegetarian, and spice it to your liking. It will provide a very tasty, satisfying and filling meal -that will help you to limit snacking.
Make olives part of your snack display! They are high in monounsaturated fats, which help satisfy our fat and umami craving, and are considered "healthy" fats.
Roasted and unsalted nuts provide a perfect crunch and help us feel full.
yield: 8 SERVINGS (16 CUPS OF VERY THICK CHILI) prep time: 20 MINS
cook time: 55 MINS
total time: 1 HR 15 MINS
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic - minced
2 medium onions - diced
2 bell peppers - any color, cored and chopped
2 large carrots - peeled and diced
2 stalks celery - diced
1 medium sweet potato - peeled and cubed (optional-I added it!)
2 pounds ground turkey - I used 93% lean*
1 1/2-2 cups water - more as needed
1 can tomato sauce - (15 ounces)
1 can diced tomatoes in their juices - (14.5 ounces)
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes
Sliced fresh avocado
Thinly sliced jalapeño
Plain non-fat Greek yogurt - or sour cream
Freshly chopped cilantro
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, onions, bell peppers, carrots, celery, and sweet potato. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until soft.
Add the turkey and cook until browned, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often to break up the chunks.
Once the meat is browned, add 1 1/2 cups water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes in their juices, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a moderate bubble. Let cook, uncovered, until the chili thickens, about 45 minutes, stirring every so often so that the chili does not stick to the bottom. If the chili becomes too thick, add a little water to reach your desired consistency.
Toward the end of the cooking time, taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Add more cayenne pepper for an extra kick and more salt and pepper as needed. Serve hot with desired toppings.
2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) water
Dash ground paprika, for serving
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the tahini and lemon juice and process for 1 minute, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then process for 30 seconds more. This extra time helps "whip" or "cream" the tahini, making the hummus smooth and creamy.
Add the olive oil, minced garlic, cumin, and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the whipped tahini and lemon juice. Process for 30 seconds, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then process another 30 seconds or until well blended.
Open, drain, and rinse the chickpeas. Add half of the chickpeas to the food processor and process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl, then add remaining chickpeas and process until thick and quite smooth; 1 to 2 minutes.
Most likely the hummus will be too thick or still have tiny bits of chickpea. To fix this, with the food processor turned on, slowly add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water until you reach the perfect consistency.
Taste for salt and adjust as needed. Serve hummus with a drizzle of olive oil and dash of paprika. Store homemade hummus in an airtight container and refrigerate up to one week.
½ cup bell peppers (I used yellow, red and orange bell peppers)
½ cup red cabbage, shredded
½ cup scallions
½ cup mango, sliced
½ cup carrots, julienne
Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
¼ teaspoon sweet chili garlic sauce
½ teaspoon sriracha
¼ teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon canola oil
Place 1 spring roll wrapper at a time in a bowl of warm water for 5-10 seconds until it softens up a bit.
Place it on your work surface and add a handful of each veggie in the top center of the wrapper leaving enough space at the top to roll. (Do not over stuff) Fold the edge closest to you over the toppings and tuck the sides in and over the portion you just rolled. Roll away from you making sure to keep the spring roll tight.
Repeat until you have used up all of the filling. Should make about 6 rolls.
Serve immediately with the Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce. Cover with a damp cloth so they do not stick together if you won't be serving them right away.
Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce
Add soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, sriracha and honey to a small bowl.
Slowly whisk in oil in a slow and steady stream.
Serve immediately with the spring rolls. If the sauce separates give it a quick whisk.
1 16-ounce can vegetarian refried beans (Trader Joe's are already seasoned)
3/4 cup Vegan Mexican Cheese Spread + hot water (see instructions)
1 cup Favorite Guacamole (recipe below)
1 cup Favorite Salsa or Pico De Gallo (recipe below)
1/2 bell pepper (diced)
1/4 cup black olives (optional // diced)
1 handful fresh cilantro (optional // chopped)
2 ripe avocados
1 medium lime (juiced)
1 pinch sea salt
PICO DE GALLO
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes (diced)
1/4 cup red onion (diced)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 pinch each salt and pepper
To prepare the cheese layer, scoop out 3/4 cup of spreadable Mexican Cheese and whisk in very hot water until it resembles queso - about 1/2 cup (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). Alternatively, use Cashew-less Vegan Queso.
Next, prepare the guacamole by mashing all ingredients together in a bowl and adjusting seasonings to preference. Do the same with the pico de gallo (or just use your favorite salsa).
To assemble the dip: Spread out vegetarian refried beans, then top with cheese layer, then guacamole, then pico or salsa, then bell pepper, then black olives, then cilantro.
Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate. Can be made up to 1 day in advance.
Super Bowl Movement Motivation!
Rather than watching the ENTIRE game from your seat, vow to get up and move a bit this year. Let the amazing athletes you are watching on tv inspire you to move!
Tips for Moving While Watching the Super Bowl:
Stand and do a squat whenever the whistle blows. If squatting in public seems unrealistic (and you can't get your friends on board with this Super-Bowl workout idea), simply stand (feel free to pump your arms in the air or comment on the play if desired), then sit back down.
Unless you are someone who lives for Super Bowl commercials (and weather permitting), take a short walk outside after the first and third quarters. *walk quickly so you don't miss a minute!
Depending on where you're watching the Super Bowl, perform push-ups during commercials.
When your team scores a touch-down, get up and high-five everyone you're watching the game with.
You get the idea here.
Anything you can think of adding to your Super Bowl watching routine that involves getting up, jumping or squatting, going for a walk, or mixing in any other body weight activities you can manage is a big WIN for you!
Food For Your Bones...
When people think of eating healthy, topics mostly range from weight loss to heart heath, from fueling exercise to maintaining good digestive health. Often, we forget about the structure that keeps our body upright and supported - our skeletal system! Here are 5 surprising nutrition tips you need to know (and follow)-to keep your bones in top shape!
Eat enough protein- Protein is good for your bones in two ways. First, protein enhances Calcium absorption and retention. Second, the amino acids you eat become the building blocks of the proteins found in bone, such as collagen and osteocalcin. Include a good source of protein at every meal to get the maximum benefit. Good sources of protein include lean meats, fish, beans, lentils, Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. Don't overdo the protein though- a good starting point is to take your body weight and divide by two; aim for that number of grams of protein daily.
Eat fruits and vegetables- Fruits and vegetables pack a serious bone-benefitting punch. They provide micronutrients that promote bone health, including Vitamin C, K potassium, magnesium, manganese and boron. They also keep our blood pH alkaline, which helps prevent bone loss.
Be sure to make half your plate vegetables at meal time, and incorporate either a fruit or vegetable at every snack.
Eat omega-3's- Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and can suppress the production of cytokines, a protein that has been associated with bone loss.
Aim to eat an omega-3 rich fish like salmon, tuna or mackerel twice a week. Include other sources of omega-3s such as flax seed, flax seed oil, canola oil, walnuts and avocado daily.
Calcium and Vitamin D- Calcium is the major component of your bones and Vitamin D has many bone-promoting functions, including increasing calcium absorption. Foods rich in calcium include milk, yogurts, spinach, kale, collards, okra, soybeans, some fish (sardines and rainbow trout) Foods high in Vitamin D include fatty fish (tuna and mackerel), egg yolks and fortified products like orange juice, cereals, and some soy and dairy products. Double dip and get calcium plus Vitamin D from certain fish (such as salmon and sardines), and fortified foods such as orange juice, cereals, dairy and soy products. You can also get Vitamin D from sun exposure, so taking your workout outside can increase your Vitamin D levels! However, we often can't get enough sun exposure to make adequate Vitamin D in the fall and winter months, so it's important to focus on dietary sources during this time.
Weight-bearing exercise- Yet another reason to "pump some iron"!!! Weight-bearing exercise is a crucial part of bone health. By repeatedly exposing your bones to impact, you are stimulating bone growth and remodeling. Some examples of weight-bearing exercise include brisk walking, jogging, running and hiking; weight training with free weights or machines; sports such as soccer, baseball, basketball and tennis
We all know how important our bones are, and by following the 5 above simple steps you can rest assured you are doing all you can to keep your bones healthy and strong through your lifetime!!
A Note from Lauren...
The New Year is always an exciting time for reflection and new beginnings. Reevaluating goals from the last year and creating goals for the new year are on most peoples' minds. Change is always hard, but we've found the best place to start when changing habits is to make goals practical.
Now, practicality can be different for each person and it doesn't happen overnight. For example, if you haven't been exercising, a practical change would be to start exercising 2 days a week - not 6. Or if you eat takeout 7 days a week, a practical change would be to make home-made meals 2 days a week. Once you are successful with the first steps, you can then move on and add more goals.
We understand life can get in the way of your goals, but the RDNs at Nutrition Energy are educated, dedicated, and motivated to help you through the challenges and successes of change.
As always, find us on Twitter @NutritionEnergy, Instagram, or Facebook for fun updates, recipes, and inspiration!