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Wednesday, January 18, 2012 • Posted January 18, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest day for U.S. food consumption, after Thanksgiving Day, according to Wikipedia.

Develop a winning Super Bowl “food game plan” by thinking like a football player on the playing field. Only, instead of the opposing team, your field is filled with food and refreshments. Here are eight winning strategies:

1. HAVE A GAME PLAN

Plan a successful defense against food that is excessive in fat and calories:

• Equip yourself — include some lower-calorie drinks and munchies.

• Position yourself away from heaping platters.

• Go in knowing what you will eat. For example, choose to have the three choices you will enjoy the most. You don’t have to eat some of everything just because it’s there.

2. SIZE UP THE OPPONENT

• Look at the stats on different foods. Check for a Nutrition Label that tells how many calories per serving.

• Eat food from a plate versus directly from a bag or box so you’re not blindsided by the amount you’re consuming.

3. GET IN CONDITION

• Lift a weight — other than your own, preferably at least twice a week! Take walks to whittle your waistline. The sooner you start, the greater the benefits. Physical activity and added muscle boost your metabolism and burn calories.

4. WATCH WHAT YOU EAT BEFORE THE GAME

• Resist overloading on calories before the game. Keep a few calories in reserve so you can enjoy goodies later without guilt.

5. AVOID PENALTIES• Avoid later weight penalties from too many calories by choosing smaller portions.• Don’t let anyone get a penalty for drinking and driving. Remind your guests to have a designated driver and offer alcohol-free beverages.6. KEEP YOURSELF IN THE GAMEDon’t get taken out of the game because of food poisoning:• Follow the “two-hour rule.” Leaving perishable food at room temperature more than two hours is a big mistake. When food sits out for more than two hours, bacteria can easily multiply and cause foodborne illness. Set out small amounts of perishable foods and replace those with clean plates of food within two hours.

• Or, keep hot foods hot (140°F or hotter) with chafing dishes, slow cookers, and warming trays. Cold foods should be held at 40°F or colder. Keep foods cold by nesting dishes in bowls of ice or using party trays filled with ice.

7. KEEP ADVANCING TOWARD THE GOAL LINE

• Pace yourself by alternating between higher and lower calorie foods.

• Make a successful passing play by bypassing seconds at the buffet table — or take half as much the second time around.

• Take an occasional time-out to put a halt in your eating.

8. TOUCHDOWN!

• Plan an effective running (or walking) conditioning strategy — by-“pass” excessive food intakes and avoid penalties which keep you from moving toward the goal line — and you’ll score a successful Super Bowl “Game Plan for Healthy Eating.”

Need a quick dip recipe for Super Bowl Sunday? How about a dip that doubles as a nutritious snack or perhaps ... even a mini-meal? Enjoy these dip recipes made from items commonly found in your fridge or cupboards. They’re filled with nutrient-rich foods such as beans, fish, cheese, and salsa. Serve with vegetables and whole grain chips or cracker dippers.

Pinto Bean Salsa Dip

1 can (approx. 15 oz.) pinto beans, drained and rinsed or 1-1/2 cups cooked dried beans

1 cup shredded cheese

1/2 to 1 cup chunky salsa

1 to 2 tablespoons chopped onion (optional)

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chili powder or to taste (optional)

Mash beans with a fork. Mix in cheese. Stir in enough salsa until mixture is desired consistency for dipping. Add onion and seasoning as desired. Serve cold or cook, stirring, over medium heat until the cheese melts and the mixture is well blended and hot (about 5 minutes).

Source: UNL (University of Nebraska–Lincoln) Extension Food Reflections

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