We’re halfway between our New Year's resolutions and Super Bowl Sunday, and as a physician and nurse, husband and wife, and avid football fans, we’re already planning our Super Bowl party spread to help our family, friends, and patients maintain a nutrient-packed diet along the way. The good news is that these five quick dishes are also delicious, healthy, and easy-to-make. Follow them, and you'll be the MVP of your party.
Carrots and guacamole
Instead of chips, pair carrots with a pulse-based dip such as Green Pea Guacamole. Throw a cup of protein-packed peas, an avocado, a 1/2 cup of your favorite salsa, and a handful of seasonings, lemon juice, and cilantro in the blender and serve with a fresh bag of carrots. The beta-carotene in the carrots supports a strong immune system, while the peas add texture and fiber, letting you concentrate on the game—instead of hunger pains. By opting for a handful of carrots with a 1/4 cup of guacamole instead of chips and dip, you’ll save approximately 150 calories, 100 grams of sodium, and seven grams of saturated fat while adding three grams of fiber. You’ll also consume more than 100 percent of your daily need for vitamin A.
Lentil chili bowl
Serve legumes to your family and friends to show them a bold take on fresh chili. Spice it up with onions, garlic, leafy greens, and natural prebiotics that win points with your taste buds and your microbiome, which, as more research comes out, might act like the starting quarterback for your body’s natural response to hunger, insulin function, and inflammation. Even better? Choosing beans over beef cuts calories in half, doubles the fiber, and saves nearly 300 milligrams of sodium for each one-cup serving.
Keep blood pressure, cholesterol, and the numbers on the bathroom scale in optimal range with fresh vegetable wraps. We like to design our own wraps based on what’s in season or what’s in our refrigerator, and top them with hummus or a bean-based dip. If you’re short on leafy greens, use whole-grain tortilla wraps, and if it’s a younger crowd, pair veggies with easy-to-grab pita pockets. Compared to traditional hoagies and grinders, a plant-powered veggie wrap slashes a day’s worth of sodium, 700 calories, 40 grams of fat (20 of which are saturated), and provide an ample dose of vitamins A, K, folate, and calcium.
Jicama pizza with chickpeas
Cheese might have the same addictive qualities as chocolate thanks to high fat content and casomorphins that bind with receptors in our brain. The good news is you don’t have to give up pizza altogether. Create healthier versions with chickpeas, your favorite sauce, and top with veggies. To achieve that “pizza look,” add fresh herbs, jicama, and bean sprouts, which provide added flavor, texture, and fiber.
Fresh fruit kebabs
Celebrate your team colors with fruits of the same shade. Compared to cupcakes and ice cream pops, fresh fruit kebabs will save you prep time and calories while satisfying your sweet tooth. If you’re impartial to either team, opt for fruit that’s easy to thread such as fresh strawberries, cantaloupe, and grapes. Your guests can take any leftovers home as party favors. Compared to an ice cream pop, one minted fruit kebab saves 35 calories, three grams of sugar, and 13 grams of sodium, and, depending on the fruit you serve, add immune-boosting lycopene, anthocyanins, and resveratrol.
Dr. Stephen Neabore and nurse practitioner Emily Kasmar are members of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and work for Barnard Medical Center, where they write nutrition prescriptions for complete primary medical care.