Plan Your Low-Carb Super Bowl Party by Dana Carpender

Confession: I am perhaps the only person in the entire state of Indiana who will not be watching the Colts play in the Super Bowl next weekend. It’s partly that I simply find football – and other games – dull, and so does That Nice Boy I Married. It’s also because having worked with some pro-footballers in my career as a massage therapist, I know all too well just exactly what they’re doing to their bodies. I can’t watch all those 300-pound guys run sideways into each other’s knees. Ouch.

But I don’t write for me, I write for you. And the chances are excellent that a majority of you will be parked in front of a television on Super Bowl Sunday, watching the big game. The chances are also excellent that there will be food involved. A lot of food. Way too much food. Way too much high carb food. (My sister in San Diego emailed me to ask – for a colleague of hers – if there was an official Indiana food she could serve at her Super Bowl party. I replied yes, the pork tenderloin sandwich. I cannot, however, recommend these to low carbers.)

So here is a retread of the Super Bowl article I wrote extremely late last year – like the day before the game – with a few new suggestions thrown in:

A quick rundown of Low-Carb Super Bowl Sunday Snack Strategy.

First of all, sit far away from the chips. If the party is at your house, buy whatever salty, crunchy snacks appeal to you least. For example, potato chips are my kryptonite, but I don’t care about pretzels at all. Accordingly, were I having a Super Bowl party, I’d serve pretzels.

Secondly, make sure there are plenty of snacks that work for you. Your grocery store deli should be able to provide:

  • Chicken wings (watch out for breading and sugary sauces; if you have to pick one or the other, a small quantity of sauce is better than the breading.)
  • Cheese platter, cubes or slices
  • Cold cut platters
  • Shrimp platter! (Take up a collection.) You can make your own low carb cocktail sauce by spiking sugar-free ketchup with horseradish and lemon juice to taste.
  • Relish tray
  • Mixed nuts, peanuts, smoked almonds, all that stuff. Remember that peanuts and cashews are higher carb than the other nuts. Also keep in mind that while nuts are low carb and nutritious, they are also very high calorie. It is indeed possible to eat enough of them to gain weight. All too easy, in fact. You have been warned.
  • If you want something salty you can munch on mindlessly, I recommend either sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds in the shell. The shells slow you down, you see, and force you to eat them one at a time, rather than by the handful. Sunflower seeds are widely available in nifty flavors, by the way, though I personally prefer pumpkin seeds.
  • Antipasto platter – Kroger lists this on their website. It includes olives, peppers, artichokes, marinated mushrooms and fresh mozzarella with tomato Salad. Every bit of that works for us!
  • If the gang wants to order pizza, make sure one of them is extra cheese, and loaded with low carb toppings you love. When the pizza comes, snag your slices, put ’em on a plate, and stash them out of reach for five minutes, to cool. (If you just wait for the pizza to cool, you know someone will eat your slices!) Then peel off the toppings and eat them without the “edible napkin,” aka the crust.

Want to make something Low-Carb yourself? How about these

  • No-bean chili, or chili with black soy beans in it. Keep it hot in your slow cooker. This is one of the few ways I use soy. I don’t really trust the stuff, but we do like beans in our chili, and Eden black soy beans are super low-carb. I’ve never had anyone even comment on the unusual beans in the chili, they just eat! Find Eden canned black soy beans at health food stores, or in the health food department of particularly comprehensive grocery stores. (I can find these at both Kroger and Marsh here in Bloomington, Indiana, but then, this is a lefty-trendy college town with a big vegetarian population.)
  • Wings – you can do something a bit complicated, like the Heroin Wings from 500 Low-Carb Recipes, or you can make your own buffalo wings. They’re actually quite simple – just mix roughly equal proportions of melted butter and hot sauce, and toss your wings in it. The canonical hot sauce for this is Frank’s Original, but any Louisiana-style hot sauce should do. Originally, buffalo wings were floured and deep-fried, but we’re not going to eat that flour, and frankly, deep-frying is a pain in the butt. I’d just roast ’em crisp, toss ’em in the sauce, and serve ’em up with plenty of blue cheese dressing and celery sticks.
  • Stuffed mushrooms – stuffed with anything from spinach to tuna. Get creative!
  • Tortilla pizzas on low carb tortillas
  • Take toasted, salted pecan halves and spread a little Boursin or Alouette herb and garlic cheese between ’em. YUM!
  • Good ol’ stuffed eggs. Simple deviled eggs are great, and everybody loves them, but you can change ’em up if you like with deviled ham, Cajun seasoning, mashed smoked salmon, curry powder, Mexican spices, all sorts of things.
  • Quesadillas made with low carb tortillas
  • Burritos or soft tacos – set out meat burrito or taco filling, canned refried beans for the carbivores, shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, diced onions, diced tomatoes, chopped olives, salsa, and sour cream. Just make yours on low carb tortillas. Better yet, pile your filling and trimmings on a big pile of shredded lettuce, and have a taco salad.

Grab a bag or two of pork rinds, and make this simple and unusual recipe that I just love:

Herbert D. Focken’s Sweetened Jalapeno Bites

Our tester, Julie, called this, “really interesting, and surprisingly good!” (She also said it really improved low carb crackers, of which she is not generally fond.)

  • 12 ounce jar sliced jalapeno peppers
  • 3/4 cup Splenda
  • Cream cheese – plain, or onion-chive flavored
  • Pork rinds or low carb crackers

Dump out the jalapenos, including the liquid, into a bowl, and stir in the Splenda. Pack them back into the jar, put on the lid, and stick it in the fridge for a day or two.

When snack time rolls around, pull out the jar, and grab your cream cheese and pork rinds or low carb crackers. Spread some cream cheese on a pork rind or cracker, top with a slice or two of jalepeno, and stuff it in your face! Repeat.

Your whole jar of sweetened peppers has the following: 94 Calories; 2g Fat; 4g Protein; 18g Carbohydrate; 9g Dietary Fiber; 9g usable carbs. Working out the per-piece counts of this was just too darned difficult, so we gave up – but cream cheese is very low carb, and pork rinds are carb-free. If you’re using low carb crackers, read the label.

(Reprinted by permission from 500 More Low-Carb Recipes by Dana Carpender, 2004, Fair Winds Press)

You’ll want to have plenty of cold drinks on hand, too. Beer is the traditional beverage of choice on Game Day. You know Michelob Ultra is very low carb, as is Miller Lite. But consider, too, Milwaukee’s Best Light (which I am convinced is just Miller Lite in a cheaper can,) Rock Green Light, Corona Lite, or Amstel Light. You’ll want to have non-alcoholic stuff too – your favorite soda, some iced tea, or my favorite, sparkling water.

Last year I finished this article by saying “I hope your team wins. Whoever’s playing.” Can’t do that this year. Despite my not watching the game, I hope the Colts win. Do you know what kind of regional gloom I’m going to have to put up with if they lose?

© 2010 by Dana Carpender. Used by kind permission of the super author. What do you think? Please send Dana your comments or New Years greeting to Dana Carpender.

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