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If your favorite football snacks consist of potato chips and dip, buffalo wings, pizza, or other high-fat items, you may want to consider replacing them with something healthier for your heart. More research is needed, but one limited study found that fatal heart attacks increased in Los Angeles County in 1980 after a Super Bowl loss and decreased in 1984 after a Super Bowl win. While the emotional stress of watching your favorite team lose may tax your heart, switching to healthier snacks will benefit your heart over the long-term.
Try these healthy snacks in place of high-fat, high-sodium, or sugar-laden choices:
- Serve a selection of higher-fiber crackers with hummus, and raw vegetables with low-fat dressing in place of chips and dip or other foods that are high in saturated fat.
- A bowl full of unsalted nuts has heart-healthy unsaturated fat and couldn't be simpler.
- Limit soda consumption, or better yet, drink unsweetened tea or another sugar-free choice in its place.
- Drink alcohol in moderation. The recommendation typically is for no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks for men.
Planning and portion control are key when it comes to football snacking. In this video, Hungry Girl author Lisa Lillien tells what to look for in a healthy, salty snack.
The foods listed below are healthful and have at least half the calories and sodium (some contain one-third) of their traditional counterpart (which is part of being healthful), or simply are naturally low in calories. One thing my family does is serve things slowly during the first half, starting with soup and cut fresh vegetables with dip, because it helps fill you up with very few calories. This helps decrease the total snacks eaten and saves room for the grand finale -- the football dinner.
- Low-fat butternut squash soup
- Veggies (crudités) and/or fresh fruit slices with yogurt-based dip
- Baked tortilla chips with salsa
- Baked pita chips with hummus
- Shrimp with cocktail sauce
- Mini turkey meatballs in marinara sauce
- Low-fat turkey or chicken gourmet sausage links cut in ¼-inch slices, sautéed in pan with water until browned
- Array of dotFIT nutrition bars cut into slices for sweet eats. They taste great, are more filling than cakes or traditional candy bars, and they’re guilt free because they're low in calories and good for you.
- Higher calorie but healthy in moderation: array of nuts, guacamole
Final note: by preparing these items at home you have more control over the calories and sodium, and it's a wonderful part of the family experience as we prepare to watch football -- the greatest American game!
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.