Diet & Nutrition

The 5 Best Super Bowl Appetizers, According to a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist

The 5 Best Super Bowl Appetizers, According to a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist

Some people watch the Super Bowl to support their team, others to enjoy the halftime show, and still others do it simply to have a good time. What good is a party without delicious food? The true star players on Sunday are the appetizers, but if you’ve been trying to eat a more healthy diet, you might be wondering if the traditional spread is up to par.

Food for the Super Bowl is all about comfort. According to Bianca Tamburello, a registered dietitian-nutritionist at Fresh Communications in New York City, the appetizers tend to be more tasty and convenient, which typically results in food that is heavier in calories, fat, and sodium. This includes traditional foods like pizza, mozzarella sticks, and chips and dip. These meals also lack protein and fiber, which may be one of the reasons why people prefer to eat too much on this day.

You should nevertheless have fun, Tamburello advises. I believe in the 80/20 rule, which calls for consuming nutrient-dense whole foods 80% of the time and saving 20% for decadent pleasures. At a Super Bowl party, it is exactly how you should think about assembling your platter. Make healthy food the majority of your meal, but leave place on your plate for your standby favorites.

Here are Tamburello’s top five recommendations for the healthiest appetizers you’re likely to find at a Super Bowl party, as well as her top five suggestions for the least nutritious options. Create a winning plate using it as a guide.

Best Super Bowl Appetizers

1. Veggies and Guac or Tzatziki

Vegetables—yes, we said “veggies”—can help to balance out some of the richer-tasting appetizers because they’re cold, crunchy, and fresh. Tamburello adds that the fiber and water in these foods will fill you up and help you maintain a healthy portion of the other foods. According to research, increasing your vegetable intake helps you lose weight, possibly because nonstarchy vegetables are so satisfying. Dip those carrot sticks, pepper strips, or small cucumbers in a yogurt-based sauce like tzatziki, guacamole, or “yogamole,” which is prepared with healthy fats (a dip made with a combination of guac and Greek yogurt).

2. Cowboy Caviar

Use your culinary TikTok talents to create the hearty dip that gained popularity in 2022. Chopped tomatoes, onions, beans, corn, and bell pepper are combined with a sour sauce to make cowboy caviar. (You may purchase it readymade or in jars in the grocery store’s salsa area.) According to Tamburello, beans have excellent protein and fiber content. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a half cup of black beans has 8 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein (USDA). It’s delicious on its own, but you can also enjoy it with some chips.

3. Air-Fried or Baked Buffalo Wings

Wings are often deep-fried, covered in a sticky sauce, and then dipped in bleu cheese or ranch dressing, upping the amount of saturated fat in each serving. (The amount of sugar may vary depending on the sauce.) However, Tamburello argues that baking or air-frying wings are “excellent ways to conserve on calories compared to traditional frying.” You can get all the bold, acidic, spicy flavor you love by tossing them in a sauce with less sugar. Another choice, according to her, is to bake or air-fry buffalo cauliflower bits to add extra vegetables and the flavor of buffalo sauce, which may be what you’re truly after.

4. Roasted Chickpeas

In addition to being delicious to crunch on, roasted chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, or dry-roasted edamame, are a healthy source of plant-based protein and contain fewer calories per serving than chips. According to Tamburello, they are a good salty accent to a charcuterie board. They are also rather simple to build yourself.

5. Whole-Wheat Pita Chips and Hummus

Tamburello advises either purchasing a bag of whole-wheat pita chips or making your own by cutting whole-wheat pitas into triangles and baking them until crisp. Serve with hummus, a dip prepared from chickpeas, a legume that maintains a healthy body weight and is fewer in calories than many other dips. In addition, a variety of hummus flavors, including dessert hummus, are now available.

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