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4 Healthier Super Bowl Snacks That Won’t Super-Size You


Do you have a plan for what you're going to eat (and drink) at this Sunday's Super Bowl when the Baltimore Ravens face off against the San Francisco 49ers? Get yourself an offensive strategy! The average American consumes 1,200 calories and 50 grams of fat from just snacking during the big game on Super Bowl Sunday, according to the Calorie Control Council.  That may not sound that bad to you, but take into account that the Calorie Control Council wasn't counting calories consumed during breakfast, lunch, or dinner that day, only the snacks (and drinks) consumed during the three hours spent watching the game. Apparently, according to the USDA, Super Bowl Sunday is second only to Thanksgiving Day in the sheer number of calories consumed by Americans in one single day.

Collectively, Americans will eat 30 million pounds of snacks this Sunday. Potato chips, the most popular game day snack food, will account for 27 billion calories nationwide and 1.8 billion grams of fat.

Just because it’s the Super Bowl doesn't mean we all have to get super sized.  I don't know about you, but I don't want to bust out the elastic-waist pants just yet. So, let’s go into this with a plan to eat small portions of protein-and-vitamin-rich snacks. Skip the potato chips, and see below for 4 healthier Super Bowl snack recipes that will give you more nutrition than salty snacks out of a bag.

One pre-game strategy is to use's MyPlate to create a game day (eating) plan in advance of Sunday. If you input the food, snacks, and drinks that you think you’ll be consuming on Sunday, you can get an advance peek at the calories, macronutrient, and nutritional balance in the snacks and drinks you’re planning to consume.

On Super Bowl Sunday last year (Feb 5, 2012), many of LIVESTRONG.COM's dedicated MyPlate users tracked what they ate, and we saw some interesting behavior. While pizza and potato chips were most popular "Super Bowl foods" tracked among our MyPlate users, chicken wings consumption saw the largest increase on Super Bowl Sunday 2012 - 367% more chicken wings were eaten and tracked when compared to the prior Sunday! MyPlate users tracked 1.4 million calories of chicken wings that day. At 94 calories per chicken wing, that's just about 15,000 chicken wings eaten (and tracked) that day. Perhaps we shouldn’t find this surprising, as the National Chicken Council reports that more than 1.23 billion chicken wings will be consumed during Super Bowl weekend this year.

As for pizza, 3.2 million calories of pizza were tracked on MyPlate during the Super Bowl last year, which represented a 36% increase over the previous Sunday. Back to those potato chips, 2.2 million calories of chips were tracked on MyPlate during last year's game, which represented an 87% increase over the previous Sunday.

Beer consumption (and tracking!) increased 106% from the previous Sunday, and 1.5 million beer calories were tracked. As dedicated as some of us are with MyPlate tracking, I'm willing to bet that a number of people who indulged on beer never remembered to track it. (This conclusion is based on behavior observed at Super Bowl parties I have attended.)

MyPlate users' 2012 Super Bowl nachos consumption increased 198% over the prior Sunday. And chili consumption (and tracking) on Super Bowl Sunday increased 159% over the prior Sunday.

Can chili come up from behind and battle potato chips in MyPlate  popularity this year? I must admit I'm a slightly more interested in this "online food fight" than whether the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers.

To show my support for the chili team, I’m providing this healthy turkey chili recipe packed with protein. By the way, you can click on any of the linked recipe titles below to quickly and easily see the nutritional info and track these calories within MyPlate  if you plan to eat them.


Description:  This will take you less than an hour to prepare and cook, and each serving contains only 300 calories, 6 grams of fat, 39 grams of carbs, and a whopping 23 grams of protein. In addition to the punch of protein, the kidney beans are a good source of Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
Serving Size: 1 bowl

1 pound ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
2 cups water
2 large chopped tomatoes
1 (16 ounce) can canned kidney beans – drained, rinsed, and mashed
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Place turkey in the pot, and cook until brown.
2. Stir in onion, and cook until tender.
3. Pour water into the pot. Mix in tomatoes, kidney beans, and garlic.
4. Add chili powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt, and pepper.
5. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes.

  Rather than snacking on high salt, high fat nutritionally-lacking ranch dressing and potato chips, why not get some nutrition in your dip with this easy, tasty spinach and artichoke dip. One serving has 190 calories, 6 grams of fat, 25 grams of carbs, and 9 grams of protein. Plus, you'll be getting a significant amount of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E from the spinach, and a decent amount of folic acid and fiber from the artichoke hearts.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 6 hours in the refrigerator
Yield: 12 servings
Serving Size: 3 pita triangles with dip

1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (16 ounce) container nonfat plain Greek Yogurt
1 cup light mayonnaise
1 green onion (diced)
6 whole wheat pitas (cut into triangles – 6 triangles per pita)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


Artichoke Hearts – drain and chop
Spinach – thaw, chop and drain
Green Onion – dice
Whole Wheat Pitas – cut into triangles (6 pieces each)

1. Mix together mayonnaise, greek yogurt, onion, artichoke hearts, salt, pepper, and chopped spinach in a bowl.
2. Chill in the refrigerator 6 hours or overnight.
3. Pita bread triangles can be dipped in.

Description: 7-Layer dips are fun, flavorful and fairly healthy. Refried beans are a great source of good source of Protein, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Potassium. You'll also get potassium from the avocado - did you know that avocados contain more potassium than bananas? And you'll get antioxidants such as Lycopene from the tomatoes. One serving has 240 calories, 11 grams of fat, 25 grams of carbs, and 12 grams of protein.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 12 servings
Serving Size: 3 pita triangles with dip

16-ounces refried beans, fat free
2 large tomatoes, diced
2 cups romaine lettuce, shredded
2 avocados, mashed well
1 cup non-fat sour cream
1 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese
2 ounces black olives
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp minced garlic
¼ cup chopped white
non-stick cooking spray
2 whole wheat tortillas


STEP 1: Bake Tortilla Chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Slice tortillas into triangles (6 each).
3. Place triangles on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Spray the tortillas with a light mist of nonstick cooking spray and a pinch of salt.
4. Bake for five minutes or until crisp.
5. Remove from the oven and immediately squeeze the juice of half a lime over the chips.

STEP 2 - Chop, Shred, Mince, and Dice:
1. Chop onions
2. Mince garlic
3. Shred romaine lettuce
4. Green onions chopped
5. Dice tomatoes
6. Chop black olives
7. Shred Cheddar Cheese

STEP 3 - Make Guacamole:
Mix mashed avocado with lime juice, onion, garlic and salt (to taste).

STEP 4 - Create Dip:
1. Start by layering a dish with shredded romaine.
2. Next layer with refried beans.
3. Next layer in guacamole.
4. Next layer in sour cream.
5. Next layer in green onions.
6. Next layer in diced tomatoes.
7. Next layer in black olives.
8. Finally, layer in shredded cheese.

Enjoy with the zesty baked tortilla chips!



Description: I've been dying for an excuse to make Lorna Jane's cinnamon roasted sweet potatoes. One serving has 214 calories, 9 grams of fat, 26 grams of carbs, and 8 grams of protein. Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin B6 and are also a good source of Vitamin C, so these are better for you (and tastier) than your average French fries.

 Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Serving Size: ¼ of recipe

1 tbsp. fresh ground cinnamon
2 large sweet potatoes
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (you can choose any healthy cooking oil, but this recipe works best with olive oil as it give the fries that crispy texture)
Himalayan pink salt

Dipping Sauce Ingredients:
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 tbsp. tahini
1 clove garlic, minced
splash of lemon juice
drizzle of honey
salt and pepper to taste
sprinkle of paprika

1. Preheat oven to 392 degrees. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into French fry style sticks.
2. Place in pan and drizzle with olive oil.
3. Sprinkle on the cinnamon & a pinch of salt. Toss to coat evenly.
4. Bake for 35 minutes. Turn them over at half way. “Note all ovens are different, so keep an eye out – they should be golden colour when ready.
5.  Serve warm with dipping sauce.

Do you have a favorite Super Bowl food or recipe? Add me on Twitter, and feel free to send me a tweet to let me know whether you prefer chili or chicken wings.

-Jess Barron

Jess Barron is LIVESTRONG.COM’s Editor-in-Chief. A longtime foodie and fan of Farmer’s Market fresh food, Jess particularly loves heirloom tomatoes, fresh figs with burrata cheese, and anything with pumpkin or peanut butter in it! Her love for food fuels her desire to exercise daily. Some of her favorite workout routines include running, yoga, P90X, INSANITY, and mixed martial arts. Jess’s writing can also be found at She has appeared on MSNBC’s “The Most,” ABC News Now, and XM satellite radio and her writing has appeared on and Yahoo!

Follow Jess on Twitter @jessdandy. Also, you can add her on Google+, and follow her on Pinterest.


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