Are you looking to celebrate the biggest day of football with family and friends? Did you know that you can prepare food that will be satisfying and nutritious and will not have you getting up on Monday morning wishing you had done things differently?
You can have your wings and eat them, too, if you do a simple marinade of hot sauce, such as Cholula (no preservatives). You can marinate them overnight in a ziplock bag. Bake your wings in the oven at 400 degrees until browned and crunchy. You don’t need to add more oil or salt—the natural deep flavor of the pequin peppers shines through, and the baking satisfies the desire for that comforting crunch.
Dips don’t have to be heavy in fat and salt either. Try one of our hummus dips—the traditional or the one made with freshly roasted beets—full of protein from garbanzo or cannellini beans—and flavor. Try Eleanor’s Bean Dip—one of the first Oaks’ recipes to gain a following during sporting events. Have some salsa, too; make your own or look for one that is not full of salt and corn syrup.
Have some chips, but consider baking your own. Corn tortillas or whole wheat pita bread cut into triangles and baked in a single layer on a baking sheet for 12-15 minutes have a great corn and whole wheat taste that you miss with overly salty and oily commercial chips. Consider making vegetable “chips” with jicama, celery, carrots and cucumber to share the space with the more traditional. They, too, make a great transport for a healthful, protein based dip.
Also, rice paper wraps are great finger food. You can fill and roll them with a kale or lettuce base, adding vegetables or fish or chicken with a little sesame oil and Bragg’s liquid aminos. They can be prepared the morning of the big game and stored in the refrigerator. This is also a great “job” for anyone who wants to be a part of the game but really doesn’t want to sit through the entire process.
Half-time? Consider a Caesar salad made from scratch—it’s a treat that everyone enjoys. You can add all types of protein to it to make a meal—nuts, beans, poultry, shrimp or fish. Homemade soups complement any meal and The Oaks at Ojai’s pumpkin chile or butternut squash soups are great choices.
Skip the heavy greasy pizza—delivery takes forever on big football days anyway, and construct your own toppings for The Oaks Cauliflower Flatbread. A simple topping of pesto is delicious, but you can add traditional toppings with tomato sauce as well. Feed your brain—not your waistline.
It goes without saying that cutting back on the alcohol serves everyone. Have plenty of sparkling water on hand or make an herbal tea based punch with sparkling water and pomegranate or cranberry juice. Save your “treat calories” for the piece de resistance as the game comes to a close: The Oaks Dark Chocolate Spa Bark—you can make it with whatever nuts and dried fruits you desire. It takes only moments and it has both major crunch and that dark chocolate nurturing that is lacking in commercial “chocolate” bars filled with added sugar, oil , salt and preservatives.
Everyone loves the tradition of the Super Bowl—it might be the only football game that some people watch all year. It’s important to establish that balance of one’s emotional and nutritional needs during any day of celebration. Have that buttered popcorn if that is your obsession for the day. Consider a sprinkling of nutritional yeast to boost the flavor and the food value. Then, balance your popcorn feast with some veggies and protein dip. Cover all of the colors and the food groups!
Besides all of the eating and the sitting, you might consider a planned short walk or the passing of a football for a while outdoors during some of the breaks in plays. Getting up and down a few times during the game will help your digestion and your metabolism. Keeping our bodies in movement is important every day of the year. Don’t forget to have a water pitcher within reach of all the viewers—it’s important to stay hydrated when you are arguing with a referee!
Have a Super Sunday and a Super Monday as well—plan ahead for a satisfying, nutritious feast that leaves you with a feeling of well-being.