Meghan Tiernan (MS, RD, LDN) is a registered dietitian with a passion for helping others achieve a healthy lifestyle. She strives to help others learn the most nutritious way to eat, in order to achieve good health. Meghan enjoys cooking and running and believes that with just some basic knowledge, you can gain the confidence in yourself to know that you can eat well.

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Dietitian Consult

by Meghan Tiernan, MS, RD, LDN

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When you think of the Super Bowl what comes to mind? For me it's friends, commercials, unhealthy foods and beer. While the first two don't contain any calories, the latter two can pack quite the caloric punch.
super bowl snacks
The key to not completely derailing your diet is the same as with any holiday or event: think your drink, don't skip meals leading up to the event, try and get some exercise earlier in the day, and be thoughtful in your food choices when snacking.

One of the things I always recommend is offering to bring a dish or two to the party so you know there's at least a few options that will be healthier. Here are a few ideas for lower calorie, healthier versions of your typical Super Bowl feast.

Boneless Buffalo Wings
- A healthy alternative to this would be to make grilled or baked chicken tenders. You can do this with or without breadcrumbs. Either way, marinade chicken tenderloins in buffalo sauce, skewer then, then bake or grill them until they're cooked through. Add celery sticks and low fat blue cheese or ranch dressing to dip and you've got a much healthier buffalo chicken dish.

Any kind of dip
- There are a gazillion different kinds of dip out there: taco dip, buffalo dip, pizza dip... the list goes on and on. Here are a few basic tips to make whatever your famous dip is a bit healthier:

  • Start with the base. You can sub out the regular cream cheese or sour cream for their fat free counterparts in these dishes and no one will know the difference. The texture is the same, and there's usually so many flavors going on that it will still taste like the original.

  • Use reduced fat cheese. The fat free versions of cheeses don't usually melt the same, so I would stick with the reduced fat or part skim versions for cheese. You can also shred string cheese or Baby Bell cheese for lower calorie options. Another option is to cut back on how much cheese you use in these dishes.

  • Load them up with veggies or use veggies as the vessel to eat the dip with. The calories in chips or crackers really add up pretty quickly.

  • If you're at a party enjoying a dip you didn't make, scoop a small amount onto a plate and grab a few crackers or chips and walk away. This way you're controlling the amount you eat.

    - Bulk up your plate with fruits and veggies. Offer to bring hummus or low fat veggie dip so you're not ruining all the good you're doing by enjoying veggies with all that high fat dip.

    Tortilla Chips
    - Make your own! Most tortilla chips only have 6 chips to a serving! Do you know how easy it is to eat 6 tortilla chips? Way too easy. So, try and make some of your own. Simply cut low carb wraps or pitas into triangles, spray with some cooking spray and top with whatever herbs/spices/salt/pepper you want. Bake them at 350 degrees until they're crunchy (usually around 10-15 minutes) and serve with whatever you like. They're delicious, easy to make and contain way fewer calories.

    - As usual, caloric drinks add up pretty fast. So try and alternate any caloric drink with a glass of water or other non-caloric drink. This way, you're staying hydrated and keeping calories low.

    However you celebrate the Super Bowl, remember the key is portion control no matter what food is available. So enjoy yourself and the foods that come along with any football festivities!

    Want personalized diet and nutrition advice from Meghan, our Diet.com Registered Dietitian? Upgrade your Diet.com account to Premium to have unlimited, one-on-one consultations with her!

    @ 8:50pm ET on January 28, 2013
    This is just what I need :) thanks

    @ 5:46pm ET on January 30, 2013
    I found a yummy chili cheese dip with the fat free cream cheese I am trying this sunday.

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