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Preventing Super Bowl overload: Tips for a healthier party

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ATLANTA -

When it comes to Super Bowl Sunday, a lot of us do it up BIG. Maybe a little too big.

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta registered dietitian Ashley Skorcz says, "Super Bowl Sunday happens to be the second largest consumption of food in the United States, right after Thanksgiving."

If you tend to overdo it on Super Bowl buffets, try filling up on high-protein, high-fiber healthier foods during the day. That way you're not arriving to the party hungry, which leaves you vulnerable to temptation. Skorcz recommends eating three meals on Sunday, and getting out for a little exercise before you watch the game.

If you're hosting a party, Skorcz recommends having a Super Bowl game plan. When you go to the grocery store, she says, look for foods that come with a lot of crunch and flavor  without a lot of fat and calories. She says, "You never want to think you're depriving yourself. You want to make sure you're having things that satisfy everyone, but that they're not going to feel guilty eating."

For crunch, Skorcz recommends baked tortilla chips because they're a whole-grain and full of fiber.  And they have less fat than fried chips.  If you crave crunchy foods, load up on fresh vegetables like carrots, and celery. And rethink your party dips. French onion and ranch dips can be pretty fattening.  So try something new. Skorcz says "Salsa is always a great option because it's full of fruits and vegetables and there are so many different types of salsa you can do. You can do more of a fruity salsa, you can do the traditional salsa with tomatoes and onions and cilantro."   She also really likes hummus. If you like ranch dip, try tweaking it, using greek yogurt instead of heavier sour cream.

Another great party food is popcorn. Skorcz says, "It's so easy. You can even get the kids involved. All you have to do is take about a fourth of scoop of popcorn, place it in this brown bag, fold it over and put it in the microwave for about a minute and a half."

Instead of serving it swimming in butter, Skorcz says, try sprinkling it with garlic salt and olive oil. Or melt dark chocolate chips and dribbled them on top of the popcorn. If you're craving something spicy, mix in a little tabasco sauce and chili pepper. You could try serving up popcorn several different ways, since it's always a popular party food.

The secret to a great Super Bowl party – is serving up a generous amount of food – while giving guests a choice of what to put on their plates. So, Skorcz says go for variety, and go for "fun" foods, "So, if you have like carrots, or celery, or the fruit slices, or if you make it fun, like fruit kabobs instead of those football shaped cookies, people are going to feel satisfied because they're getting that sweet and those savory options." With a little planning, your guests will leave your party full – without having to pay for it Monday morning!

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