delicious nourishment

Keep Your Nutrition Goals This Sunday. Make it a Paleo Super-Bowl.

As you probably know, this Sunday is the Super Bowl. It is an American tradition to watch the event with friends, while foods like chicken wings, overloaded chips and beer are consumed in rather large quantities between shouts and cheers at the TV. Even non-football fans like to participate, if at the very least, to watch the halftime show and the multi-million-dollar commercials. While its all in good fun and a great excuse for a party, how can you join in the revelry of Super Bowl Sunday without de-railing your fitness and nutrition goals? Make it a paleo Super Bowl! Here are a few ideas on how:

Offer to host the party. If you host the party, you are more in control over what foods are on the table. Let guests bring a favorite food, if they insist. But if their dish doesn’t fit your diet, at least you will have healthy options to choose from. Maybe you will even inspire your friends to eat a little better.

Bring a dish to the hosted event. If you can’t host the party, at least offer to bring a dish (or two), and make it something that will satisfy your hunger cravings throughout the duration of the event.

Eat ahead of time. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but if you have a hearty meal before you show up for the event, then you won’t be tempted to dive into of those bad-for-you foods. And if you do bring a dish, then you can casually nibble here and there, party-style, without the need to make a meal out of all the other offerings.

Skinny Margarita

Choose low-sugar, grain-free alcohol. Let’s face it, if you’re going to a party, there is a high probability that booze will be flowing. If you are going to imbibe, steer clear of beer. It is loaded with carbs, so definitely not good for the waistline. Those gluten-free beers, by the way, are no better. In fact, we can’t even be certain they are completely gluten-free (a discussion for another time). Wine is also pretty caloric, unless you can find the drier wines without added sugars. Otherwise, you could opt for potato vodka and enjoy a dirty martini (James Bond style) or shake it up with fresh squeezed Meyer lemon.

You could also serve up a skinny Margarita, with silver tequila (no Cuervo Gold!). These grain-free, clear alcohols will still give you an enjoyable relax, without that fuzzy sugar-brain or bloated mid-section. Maybe abstaining from beer isn’t the all-American tradition, but why not start a new one?

Have fun! No matter how you spend the day, I hope you enjoy it! These days our relationships with food are becoming more and more personalized. If your diet doesn’t fit in with the rest of the crowd, then don’t let food be the focus of your participation in the event. Remember that you are there to enjoy the good company of your friends. Everything else is secondary.

Whether you host, or bring a dish, here are a few party food ideas that are grain-free and paleo friendly, so you can enjoy a “paleo Super Bowl”, and not have to sacrifice your nutritional goals:

Kale Chips. If my kids love these, you will too. They are best served fresh from the oven. Your kids can make them while you put together other dishes (watch the video to see how easy it is).

Guacamole. Served with crudite (the fancy word for cut vegetables). Full of good fat, and very satiating, it will keep you from craving all those carbs.

Plantain chips. Good for dipping, or just on their own. I recommend Turbana brand. They were my “junk” food in Texas, but since I moved to New England, I could no longer find them. So I buy them in bulk from Amazon. There’s nothing junky about them, though. Just plantains, palm oil and salt. They are both a “resistant starch,” (meaning good fiber) and a “pre-biotic” (meaning food for your beneficial gut microbes), but it feels like you’re junking out when you munch them by the handful, because they are salty, crispy and just the right amount of oily. Of course, even though they are healthy carbs, they are still carbs, so if you’re trying to lose weight, make sure you don’t eat too much of them!

Sweet potato “fries.”  A healthy carb, that can also satisfy your sweet tooth.

Assorted nuts. Just make sure they don’t have any funky oils like corn oil or soybean oil. If kids will be at the party, you can add raisins and chocolate chips to the mix. Enjoy Life Foods makes gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free chocolate chips. They are not sugar-free, though, so not too many!

Deviled eggs.  The perfect morsel of cool, creamy & piquant.

Beef or lamb sliders. I don’t have a recipe for these, but they really don’t need one.  I love the lamb sliders from Bishop’s Orchards. They are super-fatty, which is just what you want when you’re cutting your carbs. They’re pre-formed so just cook them on a pre-heated pan at medium/medium high until browned on both sides.

For even smaller beef bites, you could serve cocktail meatballs instead. No HFCS, no bread crumbs. Just pure love.

Stuffed mushrooms. Stuff with chopped up mushrooms stems, as well as crumbled (pre-cooked) sausage spinach and sprinkle the tops with a little bit of almond flour. Bake until the mushrooms are softened and the almond flour has browned.

Carrot Pudding. I know this is a little out of the ordinary, but this is a super- easy dish to make and fills a whole 9×11 pan. Cut it into squares and you’ve got enough servings for a crowd. Its “creamy” (yet dairy-free) and naturally sweet from the carrots, so a good substitute for some of those more carb-y dishes out there. This is another recipe that my kids love.

If you need to add a little more fruit & veg to the table, try Waldorf slaw “boats” or this Jicama coleslaw.

Dips and sauces. Many sauces, such as those used to slather onto chicken wings, contain gluten and High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), among other things. Many dips are also suspect, and if you’re cutting out dairy, may be even more problematic. Try making this super-fast and simple paleo ketchup, which can be used as a base for your wings sauce or cocktail sauce. Also, this “primal” mayonnaise (another product I order in bulk) is made from avocado oil, whereas most are made from soybean oil. Use it in your deviled eggs or artichoke dip. Of course, you could also make your own mayonnaise, which is always the best, and much cheaper.

I’m cheering you on, as you make sticking with your diet your end goal this game day!