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March madness with diet stability

Published 10:12am Sunday, March 23, 2014

It’s March Madness which means it’s the perfect time to get together with family and friends, fill out a bracket and cheer on your alma mater. But you don’t have to dribble your diet away if you’re hosting or attending a “March Madness” party. Why not add healthy dips to your menu?

 1. Incorporate produce into your dips in fun new ways.

Turn Brussels sprouts (the March dietitian pick of the month) into something that tastes decadent.

Cheesy Brussels Sprout Dip — Sauté 1 minced shallot and 2 minced garlic cloves in 1 tablespoon olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add 2 and a half cups coarsely chopped Brussels sprouts, one-fourth teaspoon salt and one-fourth teaspoon black pepper and cook for three minutes. In a separate bowl, mix together a half cup Hy-Vee light sour cream, 4 ounces Hy-Vee light cream cheese, 1 cup Hy-Vee shredded mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Hy-Vee shredded Parmesan cheese. Add to Brussels sprouts mixture and stir to combine. Add 1 more tablespoon of olive oil to the pan so the dip won’t stick. Preheat oven to 375 degrees; place skillet in oven for 12 minutes or until bubbly. Serves eight.

Calories 132, Total fat 9.5g, Saturated fat 3g, Cholesterol 30mg, Sodium 205mg, Carbohydrates 4g, Fiber 2g, Protein: 7g

Make salsa with seasonal ingredients for ultimate freshness.

Strawberry Avocado Citrus Salsa — In a large bowl, combine 1 cup diced strawberries, 1 diced avocado, a quarter cup finely diced red onion, 1 diced jalapeno (seeded or not), 1 handful of chopped cilantro, juice of half an orange, juice of half a lemon and a pinch of salt. Serves eight.

Calories 62, Total fat 5g, Saturated fat 0.5g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 76mg, Carbohydrate 3g, Fiber 3g, Protein 1g

2. Boost the protein content.

Save time by using Hy-Vee rotisserie chicken — it’s juicy, fresh and ready to go.

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Dip — Shred the meat from one rotisserie chicken (discard the skin) and place in a crockpot. Add an 8-ounce package Hy-Vee light cream cheese, 1 cup Hy-Vee shredded 2 percent sharp cheddar cheese, a half-cup Bolthouse Farms yogurt ranch dressing and a half-cup Hy-Vee buffalo wing sauce; stir to combine. Cook on low until hot and bubbly, stirring occasionally. Serves 10

Calories 187, Total fat 12g, Saturated fat 5g, Cholesterol 59mg, Sodium 315mg, Carbohydrate 5g, Protein 13g

Use the tried-and-true dietitian favorite – Greek yogurt – to add the perfect creamy texture.

Corn and Red Pepper Ranch Dip — In a medium bowl, combine 1 diced red pepper, 1 diced jalapeno (seeded), a 4-ounce can Hy-Vee sliced black olives (drained), 1 cup Hy-Vee frozen corn kernels (thawed), a 0.4-ounce packet ranch seasoning, an 8-ounce package Hy-Vee light cream cheese and 1 cup Hy-Vee plain fat-free Greek yogurt. Keep cold until ready to serve. Serves eight.

Calories 114, Total fat 9g, Saturated fat 2g, Cholesterol 25mg, Sodium 181mg, Carbohydrate 6g, Fiber 1g, Protein 3g

 3. Make sure your dippers are also nutritious.

Boost the nutrition content of your snacks by pairing them with “skinny dippers.” Keep fresh fruit and vegetables (like baby carrots, sliced cucumber and red pepper strips) close to your guests so they’ll be more likely to choose those items first.

Also, browse your Hy-Vee HealthMarket for healthier snack options like Beanitos (which have 5 grams of fiber and 4 grams protein per 12-chip serving) or Way Better Snacks Sweet Potato tortilla chips which contain 190mg of omega-3 essential fatty acids and are a great source of vitamin A.

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