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Tips for healthy options at party for the big game

You won’t find chips, pretzels or heavy dips a week from Sunday at Patricia Salzer’s Super Bowl party.

“I don’t think they’ll be missed,” said Salzer, a registered dietitian and health and wellness consultant with Univera Healthcare.

Salzer is on the fence this week about whether she’d like to see the New England Patriots or Seattle Seahawks win the big game. She’s been much more definitive about how she plans to mark the day.

She’s invited friends for a 45-minute run in the hours before the Super Bowl, and a shindig during the game that will include plenty of fruits, vegetables and water. The party plan will tie together her philosophy when it comes to health and nutrition.

“It’s all about setting up that environment to have healthy choices available,” she said.

Here are some tips Salzer provided to help you make your Super Bowl experience a healthier one:

1. Pay attention to what you eat “Your Super Bowl guests should be mindful of what they eat as they scream at the big screen,” Salzer said. Those distracted by the game tend to eat more mindlessly – and eat more, period, she said.

2. Cut calories Salzer recommended serving baked tortilla chips instead of the traditionally fried version. They can be stacked with cilantro, shredded lettuce, beans, fresh avocado and diced tomatoes and jalapeños. Those who add ground beef, turkey or chicken should make sure it’s 90 percent lean, she said, adding, “be sure to drain away the grease.” It doesn’t matter if salsa comes from a jar or is freshly made, Salzer said. She also plans to make both chicken and lean beef chili, with beans.

3. Substitute Salzer plans to serve baked “cauliflower wings” at her party. “You still get that great flavor with the hot sauce,” she said. To go with it, she will make blue cheese dip from blue cheese crumbles and plain, low-fat Greek yogurt. Baked chicken breast strips dipped in hot sauce also are a better alternative to deep-fried traditional wings, she said.

4. Make fruits and veggies the stars “For some people, the vegetable is kind of an afterthought when someone is making a meal,” Salzer said. “Some people might even consider it that parsley garnish that’s on their food at the restaurant. I’m talking a lot more than that. Half of your dish should be fruits and vegetables. You still have a full plate of food but the composition may be tweaked.” She plans to serve both roasted and fresh, crunchy veggie trays at her party, along with a fruit salad that contains seasonal citrus. “They’ll all be low in calories,” she said.

5. Watch what you drink Beer will be the beverage of choice for many who watch the big game, but Salzer advised making sure you add water to the mix. “I would have pitchers of water available,” she said. “Use them with some fruit: lemon, lime or orange slices, or some berries. This is a way for people to keep hydrated. If people are drinking mindlessly, at least have that water for them. Slow down that alcohol consumption.” Also, if you drink alcohol, don’t drive.

Cauliflower wings


• 1¼ cups milk (fat free is fine)

• 1 tsp white vinegar

• ¾ cup all-purpose flour

• 1 tsp garlic powder

• 1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite-size pieces

Buffalo sauce

• ½ cup cayenne pepper sauce such as Frank’s Red Hot

• 1 stick butter

• ½ tsp white vinegar

• ¼ tsp kosher or sea salt

Garnishes and dip

• Baby carrots and celery

• Make dressing by blending blue cheese crumbles with plain, low-fat Greek yogurt


1. Preheat oven to 450 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or foil (spray if foil) and set aside.

2. In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine the milk and vinegar. Let sit for five minutes. Add the flour and garlic powder and stir to combine.

3. Dredge the cauliflower pieces in the milk/flour mixture and place on the baking sheets, leaving a little room between each piece. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

4. While cauliflower is baking, combine hot sauce, margarine, vinegar and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a low simmer. Remove from heat and set aside.

5. Remove cauliflower from the oven and cover with hot sauce mixture. Toss to coat completely. Bake for another 6 to 8 minutes.

6. Serve with celery, carrots, and blue cheese dressing.

– Recipe from Patricia Salzer