Healthy 'Super Bowl' snacks!

Get in the game!

“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” — Vince Lombardi

I suspect that there are many conscious cooks who absolutely love the Super Bowl. While intense team rivalry and spectacular half-time shows make for a highly entertaining event, culinary enthusiasts view Super Bowl as the perfect opportunity to “play with their food!”

Super Bowl foods are richly flavored and wonderfully textured. Whether grilled, slow-cooked, braised, melted, baked or pan-fried, the tastes of Super Bowl are crisp, crunchy, salty, warm and gooey, strong and spicy and even smooth and creamy. With such deliciously indulgent items, can you can keep a healthy aspect to your game day delights? There is a time and a place for all food selections and special celebrations can be tempered by truly savoring each bite and being mindful of portion sizes.

This is a time when it is permissible to enjoy sensational, sticky, spicy or sweet chicken wings. Baking marinated wings instead of deep frying will render out a bit of the fat, while a quick broil at the end will yield beautifully burnished results. Score a lower fat touchdown by replacing the mayonnaise in your blue cheese dipping sauce with non-fat Greek yogurt.

Super Bowl and chili are well matched team mates. In fact, there are perhaps, just as many chili variations as there are football teams! Beef-based chilis are muscular and meaty; perky green tomatillos, white beans, corn and chicken make a winning combination; or experiment with a veggie based batch, eggplant, tomatoes, plenty of onion and garlic enlivened with a bit of smoky chipotle pepper will score points with the crowd. Offer low-fat sour cream, a selection of salsas, chopped onion, cubed avocado, shredded sharp cheese and sliced jalapeno, so fans can customize their bowl. All that’s needed in addition, is a big batch of cornbread.

Set out plenty of colorful veggies and choice of zesty dips for a cooling, calorie conscious choice. It may sound so ordinary, but there is something so refreshing about taking a time out from the heavier dishes, to snack on baby carrots, grape tomatoes, sweet, crisp red and yellow peppers, stomach soothing fennel, naturally salty celery and pretty sugar snap peas. Adding half an avocado to a mixture of sour cream, yogurt, freshly chopped parsley, dill, cilantro, a bit of tarragon and a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice makes a marvelous dip. The avocado adds creaminess and good quality fat that is so satisfying.

End on a sweet note with skewers of fresh fruit and yogurt mixed with honey and cinnamon. Fresh strawberries, bananas, grapes, pineapple, mango, kiwi and blackberries arranged on wooden skewers are like a rainbow on a plate and a superbly simple way to offer just the right amount of sugary satiation.

Celebrations are a delectable part of preparing a delicious life — so go team!

Super Chicken Chili

Serves 10-12.

6 large chicken breast halves with skin and bones

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil (OK to substitute canola or vegetable oil)

2 large sweet onions

6 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced

¼ cup chili powder

3 tablespoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes in puree

1 12-ounce jar salsa verde (tomatillo salsa)

3 cups low-salt canned chicken broth

2 cans cannellini beans

2 cups frozen corn kernels

½ cup fresh chopped cilantro

sour cream and grated cheese

Arrange chicken in a large skillet. Add enough water to cover chicken, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 12 minutes. Drain chicken, cool slightly. Remove skin and bones. Tear off chicken meat into shreds. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until golden. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Mix in chili powder, cumin and oregano. Add tomatoes and salsa verde and broth. Bring to a simmer and let cook for about an hour, stirring ocassionally. Add more broth if seems too thick. Add beans and corn to chili and continue to simmer until chili thickens a bit, about 30 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and cook until chicken is heated through.

Serve chili with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro and offer sour cream and cheese alongside.

Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, “The Conscious Cook”, is a passionate food and wellness professional who earned her certification in holistic health counseling from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Columbia University Teacher’s College. She earned her cooking experience in the kitchen! Robin specializes in teaching healthy cooking classes to children and adults utilizing, fresh, natural ingredients and simple, delicious recipes. She conducts cooking demonstrations for many local organizations and is available for cooking parties and private instruction as well. For more information go to Robin’s blog is