Score a nutrition touchdown while enjoying the Big Game

Lanier Dabruzzi

The Big Game is approaching and for many of us this will be the ultimate test of our New Year’s resolutions to eat better. Americans throw more parties on Super Bowl Sunday than they do on New Year’s Eve and it is the second biggest food consumption day of the year — just after Thanksgiving. But don’t let that be an excuse to fumble those healthy eating habits. Instead, set up a winning eating plan.

Bench the foods and beverages that are high in fat and calories and low in nutrition. Instead, score big with nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy. These foods are loaded with key nutrients that most Americans are missing—vitamin D, potassium, calcium and fiber. And did you know, dairy foods, like milk, provide three of these four nutrients— vitamin D, calcium and potassium? That’s a touchdown food!

Here’s one suggestion: Keep those resolutions and kick off the party with chipotle pepper dip made with Greek yogurt, which offers twice the protein as regular yogurt. Serve it in individual cups accompanied by baby carrots, celery sticks and red pepper strips for bright flavor, color and fiber.

As a football fan, I know a strong defense wins games and as a Registered Dietitian, I know for a strong defense against hunger, you need two key players: protein and fiber. South of the Border Chili teams up with protein from lean turkey with fiber from vegetables. For a winning play, dish it up in a sourdough bread bowl in honor of the Big Game’s host city, San Francisco.

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And don’t forget the toppings. In addition to the classics like sour cream, avocados and chopped tomatoes, add shredded cheddar cheese, which is high in calcium for strong bones, and low in lactose for those who are sensitive to the natural sugar found in milk. Or try shaved dark chocolate. It offers a depth of flavor and surprising addition that will wow your guests.

Whether your team is winning or losing, end the game with a sweet treat— chocolate mint cheesecake bites. Not only will this recipe satisfy your guests’ sweet cravings, but the individual portions will reduce chances of “excessive celebration” penalty to your waistline.

Lanier Dabruzzi, MS, RD, LD, is senior manager of public relations with the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association Inc. in Atlanta. For more information, visit southeastdairy.org or follow Lanier on Twitter @TheDairyRD.

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