Using Mindfulness to Create a Healthy Half-Time Nosh

The game is on! According to some estimates, Super Bowl Sunday is the second-biggest eating day (after Thanksgiving) for Americans. That’s a LOT of wings, chips, guacamole, pizza, beer and brownies. But you don’t have to resign yourself to a day-long snacking binge—after all, we aren’t playing the game: we’re just sitting around watching it. Nevertheless, you can provide your guests with a tasty half-time spread that won’t require abandoning New Year’s resolutions or adding extra holes to belts. Maybe some of these recipe tweaks and tips for mindfully making your football party more healthy will work for your event.

Poblano Chili with Avocado Cream
Poblano Chili with Avocado Cream is a flavorful, healthy option for offering guests a meal instead of snacks.


Veggie-up your favorites

Take things beyond the crudité platter. Lots of favorite party foods can be boosted nutritionally just by increasing their vegetable content. This works great for things like meatballs, dips, potato skins and pizza. Shredded, finely chopped or pureed vegetables and beans add nutrients, fiber, texture and moisture to recipes.

Switch out your spreads and dips

Lots of dips and spreads call for sour cream and mayonnaise, but swapping those ingredients for an equal amount of fat-free or low-fat plain Greek yogurt is an easy switch that can save fat and calories. You’ll still get the smooth, thick texture and of course, the same color (this also works with salad dressings by the way). Another great option is to make dips that rely on pureed beans as the base, such as hummus or a flavorful white bean dip. These dips can be just as satisfying as more common dips and come with the added nutritional bonuses of fiber, protein and other nutrients that the typical onion dip doesn’t deliver.

Make your own chips

Chips are standard football party snacks, but more substantial, flavorful chips will certainly be welcomed (not to mention how impressed your guests will be by your party prowess). Pita, tortilla and potato chips are all easy to prep, and making them at home in your oven instead of frying them is what makes these more nutritious than purchased chips. You can go a step further and make chips from veggies, too. The best part? Seasoning your homemade chips the way you like, with herbs and spices, a little sprinkle of flavored salt—you name it—let your culinary creativity shine!

Position food out of the TV-viewing room

Your spread is amazing—it will be a draw for your guests, so there’s no need to plop everything right in front of everyone on the coffee table. A short walk to the kitchen or dining room for the snack buffet won’t deter people from eating, but does serve as a physical reminder for folks who may be trying to keep their consumption in control.

Go for quality instead of quantity

Certainly you’ll want enough food for your guests, but keep in mind that the focus of the day is the game and comraderie—not the food. There is no real need to have a huge buffet table packed with enormous quantities of lots of different food items. Your guests will likely be just as happy with a smaller selection of higher quality, flavorful foods. An artful presentation of carefully-prepared foods can be incredibly satisfying because it feeds all the senses.

Consider serving a meal instead of a parade of snacks

There are no rules about what must be served at halftime! A healthy pot of chili with a few veggie garnishes (jalapenos or green peppers, chopped scallions, a little finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese), some homemade cornbread, a crunchy salad or slaw and a fruit-based dessert would be an appropriate football-day meal, for example. I’m sure you can think of other tasty ideas that your friends would love.