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Fun. Fast. Fabulous gluten-free football food
2011-02-03
By Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP


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It's that time of year again. Football fans are gearing up and getting ready for the big game. Do you know what you're making?

Better yet, do you know what you'll be eating? Chances are probably not. Chicken wings. Nachos. Chips. Beer. Sound familiar? No need to fret. There's always a way to enjoy yourself with healthier options so that you're not kicking yourself on Monday morning for polishing off that 10-layer dip.

I've got some easy strategies for healthy, winning menus that will make your life easy and keep your guests in the zone whether you're throwing a Super Bowl bash for you and some friends or heading out as a guest at a get-together. The key is to keep things simple and take advantage of healthy, finger-friendly and easy to serve foods that will please the crowd.

Try whipping up a batch of chili. Serve with gluten-free croutons and a dollop of Greek plain yogurt. Present this in a buffet style with bowls, spoons, napkins, the batch of chili, a bowl of croutons, Greek yogurt and a few fresh herbs and chili powder to top off every bowl.

Start with a shrimp cocktail platter which is a lean protein snack that's easy to eat and serve.

Deviled eggs are always a hit. Boil eggs, set aside to cool. Slice in half and gently remove the yolk. Instead of using mayo, combine the egg yolks with hummus, a squirt of fresh lemon, scallions and a teaspoon of ground cashews. Then, fill each empty half of the hard boiled egg with this mixture and top with a touch of paprika and freshly ground white pepper.

Pizza, anyone? Sure you can make it easy. Have your guests create their own pizzas by serving corn tortillas, black beans, grilled chicken, zucchini, squash and tomato slices along with hummus for a tasty spin on the classic pizza. Top with fresh basil and serve with organic tomato sauce.

Mini Bean Burgers. Everyone loves a burger. Especially when they're bite-sized and adorably healthy n' delicious. In a food processor combine chickpeas, fresh cilantro, chili powder, sea salt, pepper, spinach and gluten-free bread crumbs; pulse until smooth. Form into golf-ball size shapes and pop onto the grill for 3-5 minutes per side or until golden brown. Serve with Greek plain yogurt, hummus and mustard dipping sauce.

Need some snacks for in-front of the TV or around the home?


Try baked blue corn chips served with homemade guacamole and salsa. Simply take blue corn tortillas, slice into triangles using a pizza cutter and place on a baking sheet in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-13 minutes or until golden brown. For the guac, slice up those ripe avocados and toss with sea salt, freshly ground white pepper, red pepper flakes, roasted garlic, dulse sea vegetable flakes and diced yellow and orange bell peppers for some popping color.

As for the salsa, dice a mixture of Roma, cherry and grape tomatoes; combine with chili pepper, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, green bell pepper and grilled corn kernels.

Got a sweet tooth?


How about creating a cinnamon baked chickpea and edamame dish that can be tossed into small bowls and nibbled on throughout the evening. Simply combine chickpeas, edamame, extra virgin olive oil, cinnamon, agave nectar, sea salt and black sesame seeds in a large bowl; toss to combine. Spread mixture on a baking sheet; bake for 20 minutes at a 350 degrees Fahrenheit pre-heated oven. Remove from oven and sprinkle with additional cinnamon and freshly chopped basil. Set aside to cool before serving.

Yearning for that brew or glass of vino?


Why not create a pitcher of freshly brewed apple cider cinnamon tea made from cinnamon tea bags, apple slices, cinnamon sticks, agave nectar and fresh lime wedges. This can be served hot in mugs or chilled over ice.

There you have it! Whether you're planning on entertaining 20 rowdy men in front of a flat screen TV larger than your kitchen (hehe) or simply enjoying the evening with some close friends, these yummy nibbles are sure to please your taste buds.



Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP, is a culinary nutritionist and health and food Buffalocoach with certifications from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and SUNY Purchase. She is also certified by the Drugless Practitioners of America. In addition to her blog, The Healthy Apple, she is the culinary nutritionist for the NBA Fit Program and writes the column, Healthy Corner, on the NBA website.

For more information: The Healthy Apple





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