It’s March Madness time. “Bracket” talk is everywhere—on Facebook, around the office, and in the newspaper. I enjoy basketball but admittedly like it more when it’s accompanied by a good party and delicious food. Alas, according to the calendar, shorts and swimsuit season will also be here soon. If you’re like me, it might be wise to think about some healthy alternatives to some of those typical “sports party” dishes that can be high in fat and calories.
Dips: What party menu is complete without some type of dip? Instead of serving a cheesy dip, think of dips that are made with nutritious ingredients. Personally, I’m a big fan of hummus, which is high in fiber and protein. I like to serve it with whole grain crackers and raw vegetables. Another dip to consider is guacamole. It’s relatively high in calories and fat, but it’s the good-for-you (monounsaturated) fat found in avocados. Serving guacamole with a baked, trans-fat free chip can help it be a healthy choice. Another option is to make a home-made salsa. Check out “Baked Tortillas with Fruit Salsa” found on cobornsdelivers.com.
- Make an interesting salad: I love trying out new recipes, and one that’s become a staple at my house is tabouleh salad. Tabouleh is made from bulgur, which is a whole grain, and can be served with pita bread if you like. My tabouleh salad is made by whisking some pesto and lemon juice, adding sliced green onion, feta cheese, and cherry tomatoes, and tossing the mixture with cooked, chilled tabouleh.
- Fruits: You can’t go wrong with serving fruit at a party. This way, you can fill up on fruits and veggies and still treat yourself to small amounts of the higher-calorie party food.
- Rework favorites: Love cheesy potato skins? Great! But you might want to consider trading your usual recipe for a lighter version. Cobornsdelivers.com has a recipe for “Southwestern Potato Skins,” courtesy of mayoclinic.com. It’s full of flavor but lower in calories than usual potato skins. If you’re in the mood for pizza, skip the meaty, greasy kind and try “Simple Appetizer Pizza,” which features roasted red peppers, artichokes, and kalamata olives. Mmmm yummy!
The good news is that healthy food doesn’t have to be boring “diet” food. You can still have a great party with delicious food while strategically replacing a couple of dishes with lighter, healthier alternatives. You’ll be glad you did when March Madness is over and “pool party” season looms on the horizon.