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Healthy Snack Ideas for the Big Game by Fitness Together

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo., (February 5, 2016) – This Sunday, millions of Americans will be taking part in the second biggest day of food consumption behind Thanksgiving. It’s also a sedentary day with most Americans settling in to watch the big game. Weight loss centers around the country will be counseling clients about how to avoid gaining extra pounds this week, so Fitness Together®, a national franchise offering one-on-one personal fitness training and nutrition counseling, has put together some healthy food substitutions and recipes for the big day.

Protein-powered Dips Instead of Pre-made Veggie Dips

“Many dips that are found in the produce section of the grocery store can be super-high in calories and filled with unhealthy fats and un-pronounceable ingredients,” says Eric Goetsch, Fitness Together VP of Operations, CSCS®, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer®. “Substitute popular vegetable dips with the following recipe using yogurt.”

In a blender, throw in one cup of cottage cheese, ½ cup plain yogurt, some powdered ranch seasoning (found in little packets in the dressing aisle), a tablespoon or two of milk, and give it a whirl until smooth and creamy.  Fire it up with hot sauce, or stir in some salsa at the end, and serve with vegetables.

Turkey in Place of Beef in Chili

Goetsch warns consumers to pay attention to the nutritional stats on the labels of ground turkey.  “Much of the ground turkey in the meat department has nearly identical saturated fat content as ground beef does. I would recommend opting for all-white or fat-free, ground turkey to use in this tasty recipe.”

Turkey Chili:

2 1/4 cups finely chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 pound coarsely ground turkey breast

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce

1/2 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

Cook 2 cups of onion over medium heat; cover and cook until tender (about 5 minutes). Uncover and stir in garlic; cook for 1 minute.

Increase heat to medium-high; add turkey to pan. Cook 5 minutes or until browned. Stir in chili powder and the next 5 ingredients (through tomato sauce). Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until mixture thickens. Stir in beans; cook 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Add cheese or sour cream for a less healthy option.

Naked Chicken Tenders

Wings and potato skins are also popular appetizers to serve during the big game. However, each carries a lot of calories and fat that will sap the energy that the game is providing. Consumers can substitute store-bought platters with these healthy recipes:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken breast tenderloin

1/2 tsp season salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder

Salt and pepper

Cut chicken breasts into thin strips. Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with seasoning salt, garlic, salt and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Although less healthy, it is okay to add BBQ sauce or salad dressing for dipping.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes With Bacon and Sour Cream

Sweet potatoes are far more healthy and carry greater nutrients than the standard starch-filled potatoes. Sweet potatoes are great sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, fiber and much more. They also taste great with a little bacon, and still fit into the healthy category.

2 medium sweet potatoes (8 to 10 ounces each)

3 ounces Canadian bacon, diced

2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream

3 teaspoons chopped fresh chives

2 tablespoons shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese

Pierce potatoes with a fork and arrange on paper towels. Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Flip over potatoes after 20 minutes. Cut each potato in half lengthwise, and scoop out the pulp, leaving 1/4-inch-thick shells. Mash pulp with 3 ounces Canadian bacon, 2 tablespoons sour cream, and 2 teaspoons chives in a bowl. Spoon mixture into shells. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons cheese over tops of potatoes. Bake until cheese is melted.  Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon chives.

“We know Sunday will be a high calorie day for most Americans,” says Goetsch. “By making a few substitutions in some of your favorite recipes, you can limit the intake. Combine these recipes with a morning workout and you will have a super healthy Sunday.”

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