Football Food Substitutions

Football season is here!  And with that comes the parties, and of course the grub.  According to a Times News article, Super Bowl Sunday comes in second for most calories eaten on a single day, only second to Thanksgiving.  Now you may be thinking, “The season just started, we have MONTHS until the Super Bowl.”  Well, depending on your company, each Sunday may end up more like a training session for your belly than just a casual get together.  A little beer, Uncle Mark’s famous nachos and a secret family chip dip recipe can add up.  Fast. 

Here are a few easy substitutions you can use to manage the damage. 



Dairy is a really easy way to shave off a ton of calories and fat.  When making dips, try:

  • 1/3 less fat cream cheese  790 —-> 590 calories for 8oz
  • low fat shredded cheese   450 —-> 350 calories for 1 cup
  • reduced fat sour cream     440 —-> 330 calories for 1 cup


Choosing all non-fat options is usually too drastic a change.  It alters the flavor but can also be grainy or not melt properly.  Start by changing everything to low fat.  If you want to take the next step, make a portion of the ingredient fat free and the rest reduced.

Another option for sour cream is non-fat, plain Greek yogurt.  It has the same creaminess and tang but it cuts out 300 calories and adds 9 grams of protein per cup!


Spinach and Artichoke Dip Recipe


Ground beef has a lot of opportunities to pop up.  Hamburgers, chili, nachos, meatballs.  Now there is nothing inherently wrong with beef, but every reduction helps on game day.  The most popular ground beef type is between 80-90% lean.  The comparisons below are for 80% lean beef for a 4oz portion.

  • 90-95% lean ground beef     200 calories, 14g fat —->   145 calories, 6g fat
  • ground turkey or chicken     200 calories, 14g fat —->   170 calories, 9g fat
  • go vegetarian with beans    200 calories, 14g fat —->    145 calories, 0g fat

In mixed dishes, the substitution is barely noticeable, especially with the distraction of the game.  Bacon is another area to attack.  Trading turkey bacon for the regular stuff will save 50 calories and 4 grams of fat per oz.


Turkey and Bean Chili


Choosing baked and not fried is a great way to reduce calories and fat.  In addition, go for whole grains.  These items are not lower in calories, but do provide fiber, a nutrient frequently absent from these kind of festivities.  Fiber can help fill you up, potentially preventing you from grabbing that extra wing. 

  • Whole Wheat Pita    1g fiber—-> 5g fiber
  • Baked Scoops           140 calories, 7g fat, 1g fiber —-> 120 calories, 3 g fat, 2 g fiber
  • Whole Wheat Buns  1g fiber —-> 2g fiber

pita chips

By make some changes here and there, you can enjoy your tailgate or party with the piece of mind that you will still be able to fit into your jeans come February.

What is your favorite game day recipe?


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