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Super Bowl Sunday: The Healthy and Easy Choice (recipes included)

The Super Bowl is approaching and it's time to gather with family and friends to enjoy the game, commercials, and of course, food!

How Do You Celebrate The Super Bowl?

That's the question I asked some co-workers and as you can imagine, the answers vary widely from, "I don't watch football," to "I have a good time at a local sports bar." Some people also reflected on this date from their experiences with their family. They recalled a fun time as children enjoying popcorn and soda with their families while cheering on their favorite team.

But, are you planning a health-promoting environment for your family, friends and yourself? I can see the eyes rolling now and I know you're wondering, "Can't we just have a good time?" To which I'd tell you, absolutely - but let's make the healthy choice, the easy choice.

Healthy Super Bowl Food

When I plan an event, my goal is to offer the four main food groups. That way everyone who attends the event can choose from a variety of foods. Vegetarians can enjoy the grain, fruit and veggies; and the meat lovers can enjoy a lean protein entree along with the grain fruit and veggies.

Menu 1: Chili, whole grain crackers and low fat shredded cheese, veggies and dip, fruit.

Menu 2: Sloppy Joes, whole grain buns, veggies and dip, fruit.

Menu 3: Make your own taco salad (buffet with ground meat or chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, shredded low fat cheese, black olives, pinto beans, salsa and baked Tostitos or low-fat tortilla chips from Trader Joe's), veggies and dip, fruit.

More Ideas for Super Bowl Snacks:

  • Popcorn, unsalted or lightly salted nuts or snack mixes provide extra munchies
  • Veggies and fruit trays can be purchased if you are in a crunch for time. Only the main entree requires some work. I like chili and Sloppy Joes because they can be prepared ahead of time and can be served from a crock pot
  • If you have more time, vegetable lasagna or spaghetti and meatballs make for crowd-pleasing entrees. Some people enjoy grilling steaks, chicken breasts, or pork chops for their entree. And with our great grilling weather right now, it could be a popular option this year
  • Hummus (garbanzo bean spread) and guacamole (mashed avocados) are tasty as dips with veggies or crackers. Both are nutrient rich compared to ranch dressings or dips made with mayonnaise and sour cream. However, if you prefer these dressings, choose light versions of mayo, sour cream or ranch to save on the calories from fat.

Tweaking Super Bowl Favorites for Better Health

Below, you'll find some healthy Super Bowl food recipes that'll help you prepare. But remember, if you have a favorite chili, Sloppy Joe or taco salad recipe, it can be modified easily to lower fat and sodium.

For the meat, purchase lean ground beef or lean ground turkey. For a vegetarian option, try frozen soy crumbles (caramelized defatted soy flour). Lately, I use half a pound of lean ground beef with 1/2 to 2/3 cup of cooked quinoa instead of soy crumbles.

To lower the sodium, I purchase reduced sodium canned beans then drain and rinse before adding them to the chili. Draining and rinsing reduces 1/3 of the sodium. I also use no-salt-added diced tomatoes and no-salt-added tomato sauce. Spices will then provide flavor without adding more salt.


I obtained this chili recipe from an American Heart Association event about ten years ago, but it remains my family's favorite.

  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) no-salt-added tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 can (8 oz) no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 clove garlic minced or 1/4 tsp dry minced garlic
  • 1 can (16 oz) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (replace with fresh, dried kidney beans to decrease sodium by nearly 75%)

Spray skillet with vegetable cooking spray. Brown ground beef, onion and green pepper. Drain. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, paprika, cayenne pepper, bay leaf and chili powder. Cover. Simmer over low heat for about one hour, stirring occasionally (add more water if the mixture becomes too thick).

Add the garlic and kidney beans. Heat thoroughly. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Makes 6 cups
Serving size: 1 cup

Nutritional Content:

Calories: 228
Carbohydrate: 17 grams
Fiber: 6 grams
Fat: 8 grams
Saturated fat: 3 grams
Trans fat: 0
Protein: 20 grams
Sodium: 228 milligrams

Sloppy Joe

This was a recipe I modified to taste similar to Manwich.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 (8 oz) cans no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • pepper to taste

Brown the meat and saute the onion, celery, and green pepper in a skillet until meat is cooked and vegetables are tender. Drain the fat. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 30 minutes.

Makes 6 cups
Serving size: 1/4 cup

Nutritional Content:

Calories: 131
Carbohydrate: 9 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Fat: 3 grams
Saturated fat: 1 gram
Trans fat: 0
Protein: 16 grams
Sodium: 115 milligrams

Salmon Appetizer

If you were requested to bring an hors d'oeuvre to a party, here is a recipe that is super easy to prepare. Salmon is a trendy food as it is high in omega-3 fats (a heart healthy fat).

  • 1 package (8 oz) reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 tsp Bouquet Garni (a salt-free prepared combination of spices, available at most stores)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 pouch (6 oz) boneless, skinless pink salmon
  • 2 (1.9 oz) packages frozen miniature phyllo tart shells (available at several local stores)

Beat cream cheese, Bouquet Garni, and lemon juice until smooth in a large bowl. Beat in salmon. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes. Can be refrigerated overnight for better flavor.

Spoon into phyllo tart shells. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes 30 tarts
Serving size: 1 tart

Nutritional Content:

Calories: 34
Carbohydrate: 5 grams
Fiber: 0
Fat: 2 grams
Saturated fat: 1 gram
Trans fat: 0
Protein: 3 grams
Sodium: 73 milligrams

Snack Mix

Finally, this snack mix is an easy-to-prepare treat that uses peanut oil, a healthy fat, for toasting in the oven.

  • 7 cups Crispix
  • 2 cups Cheerios
  • 1 cup dry roasted, unsalted peanuts
  • 1 cup mini pretzels (choose Snyder's of Hanover for lowest sodium)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tbsp peanut oil

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Spread ingredients in a large baking pan. Bake at 250 degrees for 60 minutes. Stir every 15 minutes while baking.

Remove from pan. Cool. Store in an air tight container.

Makes 12 cups
Serving size: 1 cup

Nutritional Content:

Calories: 173
Carbohydrate: 24 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Fat: 9 grams
Saturated fat: 2 grams
Trans fat: 0
Protein: 5 grams
Sodium: 185 milligrams

For more advice on how to add healthy foods to your diet, please visit our Nutrition services at CHI Health.

Original Publish Date: Feb. 3, 2012

Revised Date: Jan. 30, 2020

CHI Health Food and Nutrition Services Team
CHI Health Food and Nutrition Services Team

These blogs are written by members of the CHI Health Nutrition Services team.

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