The "Big Game" is often known to bring along with it a big intake of calories. From deep fried boneless wings to gooey spinach artichoke dip, there is no shortage of comfort foods. Instead of throwing up your hands and assuming there is no alternative, try some of these ingredient swaps when choosing and preparing your favorite game-winning dishes. Many of these swaps can be used when cooking or baking, so keep an eye out for all opportunities. Most swaps do not result in a significant change in the flavor of your dish, which means fans won't notice a difference- unless you divulge your secrets.
Substitutes for butter, margarine, or oil
Applesauce or low sugar jam when baking
Oil spray when cooking
Low-fat broth when cooking
Dairy product substitutes
Nonfat ricotta cheese instead of regular ricotta cheese
Nonfat cottage cheese instead of regular cottage cheese
Evaporated skim milk instead of heavy whipping cream
Nonfat cream cheese instead of regular cream cheese
Nonfat/reduced fat cheese instead of regular cheese
Skim milk instead of whole milk
Nonfat yogurt instead of regular yogurt
Nonfat sour cream instead of regular sour cream
Nonfat, plain Greek yogurt instead of regular sour cream
Skinless, lean ground turkey instead of regular ground beef
Extra lean ground beef instead of regular ground beef
Skinless chicken or turkey instead of beef, steak or breaded meats
Sauces and condiments
Nonfat salad dressing instead of regular salad dressing (or go for olive/canola-oil based dressings)
Nonfat mayo for regular mayo
Nonfat Greek yogurt for regular mayo
Salsa instead of butter or dressing
Some other tips when preparing your dish:
-Consider skipping the added salt in a recipe. Most dishes are salty enough without it.
-Substitute 1/4 cup egg white substitute or 2 egg whites for each whole egg.
-Cut the amount of sugar in half or consider a sugar substitute, such as Splenda for Baking
-Cut smaller pieces or make smaller-sized cookies
Special note: Alcohol
If you choose to drink alcohol during the game, remember to follow the guideline of 1-2 drinks for men or 1 drink for women. If you choose to drink more, know that alcohol is detrimental to athletes. It acts as a diuretic, interfering with hydration status. It also interferes with recovery and suppresses the use of fat as a fuel during exercise. It not only adds additional calories, but also acts as an appetite stimulant, which may lead to even more intake. Finally, it interferes with sleeping patterns by reducing time spent in restful, deep sleep (important for proper recovery and facilitating weight changes or weight maintenance).
Here's to a great game!