5 Classic Super Bowl Foods That Are Surprisingly Healthy

by | Jan 28, 2013

Photo by Надя Антонова / Nadja Antonova

Healthy eating is important, but sometimes on special occasions you just don’t want to compromise. Luckily, sometimes you don’t have to.

Some of the most classic Super Bowl foods actually aren’t as bad for you as most people think. Just make sure that real, good-quality ingredients are used in all your recipes and enjoy.

5 Classic Super Bowl Foods That Are Surprisingly Healthy

1. Chili

Beans, tomatoes, onions, spices and grass-fed beef are the things healthy meals are made of—just don’t forget to eat some leafy greens at some point during the day.

Really good chili doesn’t require cheese, but if you can’t live without it just make sure you get real cheddar and not the processed fake stuff. Check the ingredients.

2. Chicken wings

Chicken wings are tasty, and depending on what you put on them they can be healthy as well. What’s important is that you avoid breading and sweet sauces. Traditional Buffalo wings are probably not the best option (they’re breaded and fried), but Chef John’s famous Super Bowl pastrami wings would be perfect.

3. Guacamole

I’d be lying if I said you didn’t have to watch your portions with guacamole—it’s easy to eat a lot and it is very high in calories. But fortunately it is very filling and all the calories are of the healthy variety. The monounsaturated fats in avocados are very effective at raising healthy HDL cholesterol, without negatively impacting other blood measures.

4. Salsa

Of course there can be no talking about Guacamole without mentioning his fiery little sister Salsa. On the health front, you can’t beat the combo of tomatoes, onions, chili, cilantro and lime, and it tastes good on pretty much anything. So go nuts, you can enjoy this one guilt free.

5. Bean dip

Black bean dip is a classic at Super Bowl parties. If you start with dried beans and soak them overnight before cooking and pureeing them for the dip, you can even avoid the digestive issues most people associate with legume consumption. If you’re tired of Mexican flavors (the ingredients are similar to those in salsa and guacamole) try using chickpeas in a Mediterranean-style hummus instead.

What are your favorite Super Bowl recipes?

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20 Responses to “5 Classic Super Bowl Foods That Are Surprisingly Healthy”

  1. Yeah, great … now what do I use to scoop up all that chili and guac and salsa and bean dip, now that I’m not eating chips? [grumble]

    • Darya Pino says:

      I can’t deny my Mexican heritage, I freaking love tortilla chips! 😉

    • Grok says:

      A spoon. A big one 🙂

      I second the corn chips. I’ve found lately that tostadas have a much shorter ingredient list and are really cheap.

    • Cathrine Burks says:

      For healthy scoops try slices of zucchini, carrot, celery, raddishes, almost any raw veggie might do, or how about rice cake type chips?

      • Darya Pino says:

        The veggies are a good idea but I don’t see the value in rice cakes. I agree with the above commenters that tortilla chips aren’t all bad.

      • Jason says:

        I’ve been serving smoked salmon mousse on a raw kohlrabi chips. You don’t miss the corn chips when you have a tasty alternative none of your guests have seen before. In regards to the shrimp cocktail, I recently made a ketchup free dipping sauce with roasted red pepper puree and grated black(Spanish) radish. It’s not the same but it’s hard to match the balance of sodium and corn sugar in the familiar American staple condiment. When I indulge in chips, I found a locally made gluten free brand that is about 10 calories a chip. They are made the traditional way with simply ground corn and lime water. Some how it makes me feel better than serving a brand of lesser quality that can afford to advertise during the sporting event.

  2. Anna says:

    When I make salsa or guacamole, I scoop it up with fresh carrots and/or cucumbers. Not sure if that would work with chili though!

  3. Helaina says:

    I LOVE this website- I just discovered it and I am kind of addicted to it now….

    re: guacamole – I make it with half salsa half guacamole to cut the calories- and it surprisingly still tastes like pure guacamole. 🙂 Also, personally, I think tortilla chips are just fine as long as you get the kind that only has corn + some form of oil + sea salt as the ingredients…

  4. Franz Obermeier says:

    This is really great Darya. I’ve just recently rediscovered mexican food as my cuisine of choice for the slow-carb diet (spending a month in Texas made that easy). For someone who never even considered beans as a part of regular meals, I eat them everyday. They are an excellent way to get more calories out of a meal (when you’re not eating rice/pasta/bread/ its difficult!). All of this motivates me more to stay slow-carb, all i have to do is ignore the tortilla chips!

  5. Chris Alta says:

    ahh gotta love that guacamole! I found your blog super random actually on the comments of Tim Ferris’ 4HWW.com. I like your blog layout, I’ll definitely come check out the blog later on whenever I want something healthy to eat. Well I can’t eat what’s on your site but I can go to the store, come home and make it 🙂

    Any who I just started blogging and I’m from central California (the valley) any feedback would be dope! My links in my name! Again loved the blog and I’ll definitely be back soon.



  6. Dave says:

    Great post! Thanks for the wings link. During the World Cup a Mexican friend of mine introduced me to a common dish down there that is very simple and healthy. Carrots and Cucumber sliced with fresh limon and tajin. If you don’t have tajin, just chili powder and salt (hot sauce works well too). Here is the closest recipe I have found online. http://www.figswithbri.com/?p=12

    The wife and I couldn’t get enough of it. Highly recommend.

  7. kelly says:

    Love all these party faves! We switched over to organic blue tortilla chips with flax seeds for our scoops. As long as we place a ration on a plate and not just keep eating from the bag or a bowl chips, we do pretty good on NOT gorging ourselves

  8. Ali says:

    Mm! Great list.

    Nuts and shrimp are also awesome.

    My Mom makes a really good crab dip with canned crab (real stuff), some melted cheese (also real stuff), a drop of milk and various herbs and spices. She likes to melt it on little English muffins, but for health reasons I prefer to dip it with veggies or natural tortilla chips!

  9. JonO says:

    The Trader Joes vegan organic blue corn tortilla chips are pretty solid and they go great with guacamole.

    There’s these things called ‘hot dogs’ that go really good with chili. hahahahahaha

  10. Jon says:

    Love Mexican food and that pastrami sandwich looks great!

  11. Meagan says:

    For me, the Superbowl is not the Superbowl without queso and chips! 🙂

  12. Liz says:

    Love these ideas…and I love tortilla chips! With only three natural ingredients, they are a “clean food” indulgence for me. I just tried the baked version of Frito-Lay’s Scoops and they are totally delish! Can you share your guac recipe?

  13. Great tips Darya. Further to your suggestion of swapping dip for hummus why not swap Black bean Mexican style dip for a Black bean hummus.
    Just use black beans instead of chickpeas. I also add some extra spice like Coriander and Fennel Seeds. Delish!

  14. Dylan says:

    I actually use SuperBowl Sunday as my one mega cheat day of the year. Then I usually feel so bad the next day, eating healthy is easy. The trick is to cook just enough food as to leave no leftovers. BTW, as someone from western NY, traditional Buffalo Wings are never breaded! They are unfortunately, always fried:)

  15. Justine says:

    Good list and I

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