Super Choices for Super Bowl Eating

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According to the US Department to Agriculture, “Super Bowl Sunday is American’s
second largest food consumption day—right after Thanksgiving.” It’s estimated that
Americans will consume approximately 300 million gallons of beer, 28 million pounds of chips and over 1.2 billion (with a B) chicken wings this Sunday. The World Food Program USA estimates that the total spending on food and drink for Super Bowl celebrations is expected to reach $85 per person.

Yikes! All of this eating and drinking can be a challenge for those trying to make good food choices. Remember those New Year’s Resolutions made just five weeks ago?

Extension colleagues from Ohio State University Extension shared some thoughts and ideas in their Live Smart Ohio blog on how to enjoy the food, the game and still take care of yourself.
1. Maintain a normal meal schedule that day. Ensure you eat breakfast and lunch
at the times you typically eat. This will help prevent overeating when it’s time to
enjoy the Super Bowl snacks.
2. Work in some activity. Take a walk, throw a football with friends or play a game
of pickle ball before the big game starts.
3. Use smaller dishes, plates and serving utensils. A published study found that
college students consumed 56% less calories during the Super Bowl when they
were served snacks in a medium-sized bowl compared to folks where were
served snacks in larger bowls.
4. Serve fruits and vegetables. Have trays of assorted fruits and vegetables for
guests to fill up on before serving the higher fat and more calorie-dense food
such as chicken wings.
5. Limit alcohol consumption. Try to consume water between drinks or for fun try
an alcohol-free mocktail.

Our Med Instead of Meds program focuses on the Mediterranean Diet. The website has a great collection of recipes that can help you prepare foods “the Med way.” I went there looking for a more healthful snack or appetizer recipe to share for Super Bowl.

I found a recipe for Simple Stovetop Popcorn. I had to smile because I realized that
there may be a whole generation (or two) that have only made microwave popcorn. It is easy on top of the stove. Lots cheaper than microwave popcorn and you have control of the additional ingredients and flavorings.

Popcorn fits into the Mediterranean diet because it is a whole grain. Popcorn is
cholesterol free, sodium free, a good source of fiber and low fat. It also contains B
vitamins and minerals magnesium, phosphorus and manganese

To keep with the Mediterranean diet theme, be sure to use olive or canola oil when
making the popcorn. To help herbs and spices stick, drizzle 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil
over the popcorn, toss, season, and then toss again. (Med Tip: Season your popcorn
while it’s still warm so it will better absorb oil and spices.)

Flavor your popcorn to your liking – some possible flavor combinations include:

  • paprika, black pepper and salt
  • oregano, thyme, parsley, black pepper and salt
  • shredded parmesan and black pepper
  • cinnamon and nutmeg

Simple Stovetop Popcorn

  •  2-3 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons popcorn kernels – about enough to cover the bottom of your
    sauce pot with one layer of kernels. (Note – Popping kernels grow a lot during
    cooking, more than you’d expect, so if you’re in doubt of whether you’ll have
    enough room in your pot or pan for all the popped corn, start with fewer
  • Herbs and spices to taste

Put a medium sauce pot on high heat. Coat the bottom of the pot with a thin layer of oil. Add three popcorn kernels and put a lid on the pot. Once one or more of the
kernels has popped, cover the bottom of the pot with a single layer of the remaining popcorn kernels and replace the lid. Gently shake the pot over the heat source to prevent the kernels from burning. Continue shaking until most kernels have popped.

Turn off the heat and continue to shake for a few seconds to pop any final kernels.
To season popcorn, choose your preferred flavor combination.

Nutrition Information per Serving (using 1/4 teaspoon of both salt and black pepper):
Serving Size: about 1 cup of popcorn. Calories: 131 calories. Carbohydrates: 5 grams. Fiber:  1 gram. Protein: 1 gram. Fat: 12 grams. Sodium: 156 mg

Sources: Med Instead of Meds and Live Smart Ohio

Syracuse is a Family and Consumer Science team member and can be reached at N.C. Cooperative Extension, Brunswick County Center 910-253-2610 or by email at