Fall is football season for a lot of us, and it can mean indulging in some unhealthy foods. I know exactly how that is, I’m no stranger to the lure of fried chicken wings, nachos, pizza, subs, etc. There is no rule that says we have to eat like this when football comes on, it’s just a habit, something we’re used to. But living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean that we can’t have fun and indulge in some lightened up football food. It’s time to make some new healthy traditions.
Chicken Wings, Turkey Meatballs, Veggie Tray with Hummus and Shrimp Cocktail
I love chicken wings, but the greasy, fried, breaded chicken wings obviously have to go. Baked chicken wings are another story. There’s no need to be afraid of these. I know we used to pull off the chicken skin because of the fat content, but remember, fat doesn’t make you fat, so it’s OK to eat some chicken skin, as long as it doesn’t have any added, unnecessary oil. I bake my wings and toss them in some spicy wing sauce. That’s all they really need to be delicious.
Be careful of the sauce you buy though, sometimes these are full of oils and sugars as well. Frank’s Red Hot makes a really good wing sauce. The only bad guy in here is the sodium, so keep that in mind when you decide how many you’re going to eat and how much you’re going to use.
I also season the chicken with a salt free seasoning blend, so that this will be the only sodium they get. Smart huh? This stuff is really delicious, too. A little spicy, so it adds a great kick. I use it on my baked chicken breast as well.
I bought fresh wings, seasoned them up, cooked them on 400 F for about 45 minutes until they were nice and crispy, and then tossed them with wing sauce. Just add the wings and the sauce into a Tupperware container and give it a nice gentle shake until the wings are coated. (You could certainly buy the wings and drums separated as well. My little Kroger had these on sale, and I just froze them until I was ready to use them.)
I did use a little bit of light ranch for the wings. Fat free ranch is an option too, although check the label for weird chemical additives that may be in the fat free versions. I used about a tablespoon, so that’s half a serving, or 35 calories. These things add up, but they add us a lot less quickly when you are paying attention.
I also made some barbecue turkey meatballs. This is as easy as tossing the frozen meatballs in the slow cooker for a few hours on high with some barbecue sauce.
I used a mustard based barbecue sauce this time, which has a good deal less sugar than most barbecue sauces since it’s not as sweet. This one is Kroger brand and only costs $1. What a bargain!
Of course I served a veggie tray with some hummus. Hummus is better than creamy ranch and veggie dips since it actually has some nutritional value in the chick peas that it’s made from. There is still an average of 70 calories per two tablespoons though, so I try to be mindful of how much I’m eating and not get carried away. The veggies may be a free for all, but the hummus is not. 🙂
Plenty of veggies are the way to go for snacking. I take a little help from the store a lot of the time and buy the pre-made veggie tray. It’s really not that much more expensive, and it literally takes away all of my excuses.
One more easy, healthy option is shrimp cocktail. There’s some sugar in the cocktail sauce, so don’t go crazy with it, but a little bit won’t hurt. Shrimp are high in protein and low in calories. And it always feels like a splurge to me.
There you have it folks! Some healthy football food. So now, even if your team makes you feel like drowning your sorrows in a plate of chili cheese fries like mine often does, you’ll be prepared with some easy, healthy substitutions.
Let me know what you think! Of the food, not my team!!!