Contrary to popular belief, the year's biggest pigskin game doesn't necessarily mean your only low-carb option is a bowl of pork rinds. I have some excellent low-carb game day tips that will ensure that even if your team doesn't win, your waistline does!
If you're hosting, you're in control. Pick dishes that you can make ahead, that are self-serve and require minimal utensils—think finger foods, anything that can be speared with a toothpick or easily held with one hand on a paper plate.
You can order many of these options in advance and pick them up at your local grocery store on game day, or they make great options for your guests to bring:
• Cheese and meat platters
• Veggie trays
• Antipasto trays (olives, peppers, marinated artichokes hearts and mushrooms, fresh mozzarella and tomatoes)
• Relish trays
• Shrimp cocktail
You can whip up the following low-carb Super Bowl recipes from scratch. They, along with many other delicious low-carb recipes, are found in our Recipes section:
• Avocado Salsa
• Zucchini Crisps
• King Crab Dip
• Deviled Eggs
• Savory Popcorn and Nut Mix
• Mushrooms Stuffed with Sausage and Mozzarella
• Crockpot Reuben Dip
• Baked Brie with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pine Nuts
• Baked Meatballs
• Super Chili Bowl
Roll-ups are delicious low-carb party finger food, and the options are endless:
• Pick a protein (ham, turkey, roast beef or smoked salmon)
• Pick a cheese (Muenster, Swiss, cheddar, Gouda or more)
• Pick a spread (mayo, aioli, cream cheese or guacamole)
• Pick a veggie (wrap it all up with a lettuce or romaine leaf, or add a stalk of asparagus or slices of jicama)
• Layer the meat, cheese, spread and veggie, roll it up and spear with a toothpick.
Tip: If you have a crock-pot or two, you can cook the meatballs and chili in advance.
Tip: For your guests who aren't living a low-carb lifestyle, you can offer a Meatball Slider option. Simmer a batch of Baked Meatballs in spaghetti sauce and serve with slider buns and slices of mozzarella cheese.
If you're headed to a party, you still have plenty of options:
• Review your game-day strategy. If there is one food you simply can't resist, allow yourself one very small serving, and leave it at that. If you know even that one small serving will open the floodgates to a carb free-for-all, resolve to stick with low-carb options.
• Load up before the game. Have a filling low-carb snack or meal before you head to the party. You can try an Atkins bar, shake or frozen meal. This way you won't be starving, and it makes it easier to resist temptation.
• Play the offense. Offer to bring a veggie tray or meat and cheese tray, and/or prepare one or two of the tasty low-carb Super Bowl-friendly recipes listed previously. Knowing you will have a few low-carb choices that you love makes it much easier to enjoy the action without guilt or hunger.
On the Sidelines
Are you watching the big game at a bar or restaurant? Review the menu in advance so you can scope out some potential low-carb options. Some other tips:
• Avoid sauces. Order a dish prepared without sugar or starches. And watch out for gravy.
• Watch out for dishes that have the terms "breaded", "battered", "crispy", and, of course, "deep fried". Look for terms like "roasted", "grilled", "pan-fried" or "poached."
• Downsize your portions. Share a dish with a friend or take half home.
• Change up your sides. Request a side salad or extra steamed veggies instead of rice or potatoes.
• Avoid the bun. You can still savor a juicy hamburger; just ask for it without the bun.
• When in doubt, you can't on wrong with a large salad topped with salmon, chicken or another source of protein.