Guard your health on Super Sunday

Becky Varner has tips and recipes for a healthy Super Bowl spread.
BY BECKY VARNER beckyvarner@cox.net Modified: January 28, 2014 at 6:00 pm •  Published: January 27, 2014
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It's day 28 for those New Year's resolutions. How are you doing?

Hopefully, if you resolved to eat healthier and set some realistic goals to eat healthier, you are still on track. If not, it's not too late to start by focusing on small steps that fit your lifestyle. Remember to start simple.

One step to consider is choosing healthier snacks. The majority of snacks are calorie-dense and nutrient-poor, meaning calories far outweigh any benefits from candies, pastries, cookies, brownies, cakes, pies, sweet rolls, doughnuts and sugared beverages. Some snack foods like chips, rich crackers and buttered popcorn are high in fat and sodium.

Choosing nutrient-dense options for snacks instead of nutrient-poor and calorie-dense options is a step in the right direction, but it may be easier said than done with Super Bowl parties on the horizon.

While snacks are intended to satisfy hunger between meals, the urge to munch can be triggered by boredom, frustration, stress, or, in the case of this Sunday, a social occasion.

It's not as hard as you might think to prepare snacks from the five food groups for a winning Super Bowl spread.

For starters, arrange fresh whole fruit like apples, pears, bananas, grapes, oranges, Clementines and pomegranates in a large fruit bowl or on serving trays. Serving a wide variety of raw vegetables like carrot sticks, cucumber slices, radishes, zucchini slices, yellow squash slices and celery sticks to name a few will be appreciated. A low-fat hummus or low-fat ranch dressing can be a healthy dip.

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Curried Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Recipe makes 8 servings

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 2-inch chunks

½ cup Greek fat-free yogurt

1 teaspoon curry powder

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup raisins

1½ cups grated or finely chopped Fuji or gala apples

40 fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried (about 1 cup tightly packed)

8 whole grain-bread slices

Place chicken in a medium pan and cover with water. Turn heat to medium and bring to a low boil. Simmer chicken until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Cut one of the larger chunks in half to be sure the chicken is completely cooked with no pink remaining.

Remove from pan and place on a plate until cool enough to handle.

Combine yogurt, curry powder, black pepper and salt in a large glass bowl and stir to blend ingredients. Add raisins and grated apple. Stir to mix.

Grind chicken in a food processer or chop finely.

Stir chicken into yogurt mixture and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to assemble sandwiches.

To assemble sandwiches, measure ½ cup chicken salad and spread on each bread slice. Arrange several spinach leaves on sandwich, placing the stem end of the spinach leaf between the bread and the chicken salad and one or two spinach leaves on top by pressing the stem end into the chicken salad. Arrange attractively on a serving platter. Provide tongs for serving.

Nutrition information: This recipe makes 4 cups of chicken salad for eight ½-cup servings. Each ½-cup serving of chicken salad contains approximately 117 calories and 2 grams fat. This nutrition information does not include the bread because that will vary with the bread you use.

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