Katie Lee goes long. (Photo: Instagram/katieleekitchen)
If you’re excited for the big game but less-than stoked about the extra calories that come with classic Super Bowl party foods, fear not dear sports fan. From chicken wings to nachos to jalapeño poppers, there are myriad ways to lighten up your favorite game-day dishes.
Celebrity chef Katie Lee, author of Endless Summer Cookbook and co-host of Food Network’s The Kitchen, is well versed in trimming the fat from her recipes.
“Super Bowl is the ‘Thanksgiving of junk food,’” Lee told Yahoo Food. “It’s a huge buffet and everything is bad for your waistline. But one of my favorite things to do is take familiar comfort foods and make them a little healthier.”
One way to avoid eighty-sixing your diet is by kicking the deep fryer to the curb, and grill or bake beloved dishes instead, she noted.
“Like jalapeño poppers! What I like to do is stuff the jalapeño with low-fat cream cheese, bread it in crushed corn flakes and bake it,” she said. “This way it gives you the crunchiness you want without all of the fat.”
Lee also doesn’t like to waste her Super Bowl calories on cocktails.
“Make a spritzer instead,” she said. “I take a carton of grapefruit juice, freeze it, then peel the carton away and place it inside of a large beverage dispenser. Then I add a bottle of white wine, a bottle of club soda and one cup of grapefruit juice. It’s a really light, easy way to cut your calories down.”
Chef Josh Capon, the six-time New York Wine and Food Festival Burger Bash champion and chef/owner of renowned restaurants including Lure, El Toro Blanco and Bowery Meat Company, is also a fan of offering light bites at his annual Super Bowl parties.
“I like to start by putting out various dips,” said Capon. “People like to pick, people like to nosh. So I’ll do a hummus cut with Kalamata olives and olive oil and offer it with pita chips and zucchini sticks. Guacamole is always a healthy option, too. Instead of offering tortilla chips, we do it with jicama rounds and cucumbers.”
For a low-calorie protein, Capon suggests marinating shrimp skewers in a few different flavor combinations like cilantro-lime or chile-garlic, grilling them up, and putting them out at halftime.
“Then toward the end of the game you can put out your desserts,” he said. “For something healthy, how about frozen chocolate-covered bananas? You can dip them in tempered chocolate, a few different toppings and everyone will be happy. Who wouldn’t like that?”
Rocco DiSpirito, whose most recent cookbook The Negative Calorie Diet focuses on filling dishes that won’t stick to your waistline, is somewhat of an expert on transforming comfort foods into healthy feasts.
The Grate Salad Bowl. Photo: Courtesy Rocco DiSpirito
“I have a recipe called ‘The Grate Salad’ that would be my version of a classic 7-layer dip but without the heavier ingredients,” he says, describing his multi-colored dish, including grated apple, broccoli, red cabbage, and carrots. “You could probably do a few layers of avocado in there too and it would be really delicious.”
You can even have your wings and eat them too, he said.
“Bake them with Frank’s hot sauce,” advised DiSpirito. “[Frank’s] make a low-calorie, low-sugar Buffalo sauce and if you toss the wings in that and bake them on high heat you cut the calories of a traditional deep-fried version by two thirds.
“The wings still have skin on, and that’s mostly fat,” he added, “but it’s Super Bowl—we don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
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