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ODU Dietician Offers Food for Thought for Your Super Bowl Party

By Joe Garvey

If you're headed to a Super Bowl party Sunday, you better be prepared to hit the gym Monday ... and Tuesday ... and Wednesday ... and Thursday ...

The average American gorges on chicken wings, pizza, ribs, chili, nachos, dips and other traditional Super Bowl fare to the tune of 2,400 calories, according to the Calorie Control Council. And that's just during the game. When you take into account meals before the game, spoonuniversity.com estimates that the calorie count could hit 6,000 for Super-Sized Sunday.

But there's no reason for you to feel as big as an offensive lineman by game's end. Tracy Conder, campus dietician at Old Dominion University, has suggestions for tasty and healthy treats.

Here are her top picks (sources for the recipes are on the slideshow below):

  • Instead of pizza bites, serve cauliflower pizza bites. "I make this in a casserole dish and cut it into squares," Conder said. "It's a huge time saver!"
  • Instead of chips and dip, make kale hummus and serve with veggies.
  • Another alternative to chips and dip: a dip with apple slices.
  • For a BBQ dish, Conder likes "putting meatballs in a slow cooker with BBQ sauce. No high-fructose corn syrup - try Bone Suckin' Sauce or Stubb's brand."
  • In place of crackers like Cheez-Its, make no-bake peanut butter chocolate bars.
  • Instead of sweets and chocolate candy, serve dark chocolate cranberry bark.
  • Conder has two options to replace soda: A fun healthy drink like: https://www.marthastewart.com/313785/pomegranate-citrus-juice or combining a splash of fruit juice with sparkling water. "I like cranberry," she said.
  • Forget a creamy pasta dish. Substitute butternut squash mac and cheese. "I make it even easier by using baby-food butternut squash," Conder said.

    And here's one last tip to help keep the pounds off: Back the winning team.

The journal Psychological Science found that people who cheered for the losing team ingested 16 percent more saturated fat than they usually do. Folks who rooted for the winner, on the other hand, consumed 9 percent less saturated fat.

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