Nutrition: Taking Superbowl snacks to a healthier level

Carol Berg Sloan RD

Football season means parties and snacks with the big kahuna on Super Bowl Sunday. Don’t dread the tables piled high with chicken wings, fatty dips, fried jalapeno poppers and plates of brownies or football-shaped crispy treats next Sunday. Suggest, serve or bring these lightened versions.

Chicken wings with dip
I prefer chicken tenderloins sliced into “finger size” pieces, breaded and baked. Serve with Sriracha sauce or a creamy ranch-style dip made with 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt, a tablespoon of dry parsley flakes and dried onion flakes, ½ teaspoon of onion powder and garlic powder with black pepper to taste.

Jalapeno poppers
Who invented these greasy, fat-laden (but delicious) hors d’oeuvre? No matter, here is a lightened-up version that will go over just as well.

Skinny, baked jalapeno poppers
Makes: 12 servings

12 jalapeno peppers, sliced in half lengthwise
4 1⁄2 ounces light cream cheese
2 ounces shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
5 medium scallions, green part only, sliced
1⁄2 cup panko bread crumbs
1⁄8 teaspoon paprika
1⁄8 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄8 teaspoon chili powder
1⁄2 cup egg white, beaten

• Preheat oven to 350°. Wearing rubber gloves, cut peppers in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and membrane.
• Combine cream cheese, cheddar and scallions in a medium bowl.
• Combine panko, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper in another bowl.
• Fill peppers with cheese with a small spoon or spatula.
• Dip peppers in egg beaters.
• Place pepper in panko mixture, using a spoon to make sure all the seasoning doesn’t fall to the bottom of the bowl.
• Spray a baking pan with oil spray. I lined my pan with parchment for easier cleanup. Lightly spray the peppers with a little more oil spray.
• Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until golden and cheese oozes out.

I always see one end of the table laden with brownies (usually dried out) and some type of football-shaped cookie. Add some fruit to the mix with a simple fruit platter with cut-up apples, pears, bananas (all dipped in orange juice to prevent browning), pineapple and strawberries. Put fruit on skewers or have sturdy toothpicks for dipping.
Dips can include hot fudge or chocolate if you have a small crock pot to keep warm or this fun marshmallow dip which, while a bit high in sugar, a little dab on the fruit will do ya!

Lighter marshmallow cloud fruit dip
1 7 ounce jar of marshmallow fluff (425 calories!!)
1 8 ounce block of Neufchâtel cheese
1 tablespoon dark rum
Blend together and serve next to fruit.

I hope the team you support wins. I’m at the party for the commercials and halftime show! Happy, healthy eating!

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