Make your March Madness snacking a slam dunk

Published 7:01 am Sunday, March 26, 2017

There is a good amount of madness in March! Chances are you are going to munch on food while watching those games. Did you know there are some foods that you could choose that would benefit your health? Below you will find some tasty yet healthy tips for game days.

Typically, during game-watching parties we reach for high-fat foods. Chips, dips, fried chicken wings and many other popular game eats can pack a lot of empty calories. One rule of thumb to help you score a lot of points is to shoot for healthy fats. Foods like nuts and avocados contain unsaturated fats, which have been linked to helping lower LDL cholesterol levels. Plus, these foods also contain other helpful nutrients. Here are a few ideas to help you incorporate these nutritionally-packed foods:

•Fastbreak Trail Mix — Put out bowls of dried fruit, Kashi Heart to Heart Cereal, dark chocolate pieces and an assortment of nuts for your guest. Encourage guests to make their own trail mix.

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•Rockin’ Guac — Check out this website for an awesome guacamole recipe: Serve with carrots or pretzel thins for a great snack.

•Nuttin’ but Net Almond Butter Spread — Mix almond butter with a pinch of cinnamon for a healthy dose of protein and healthy fats. It’s excellent on sliced apples!

Another way to score is to choose foods packed with antioxidants. Fruits, vegetables and beans are all great examples. Antioxidants help prevent oxidation of our cells by unwanted free radicals. These free radicals may cause damage to our cells which may lead to increased aging, disease and/or cancer. A diet rich in antioxidants may help to prevent damage caused by free radicals. Here are a few ideas to boost antioxidant foods during the game:

•Chocolate Breakaways — Skewer cubed fruit and drizzle with dark chocolate.

•Slam Dunk Sweet Potato Chips — Cut the fat and calories and choose this chip instead!

•Half Court Hummus — Choose hummus as a healthier alternative to high-fat dips. Dip vegetables of all colors for multiple health benefits. Most yellow and orange vegetables contain beta-carotene, which is great for eye health!

Sometimes we are so focused on the game that we tend to eat too much. One way to prevent overeating is to be mindful of what you are putting in your mouth. Try to eat away from the TV or try strategies to help slow down the eating process like drinking water between bites. Another tip is to fill up with fiber. Studies show that people who eat more fiber in their day often consume fewer calories. Try these foods to increase your fiber score:

•“It’s Heatin’ Up” Edamame — Try sprinkling coarse salt and cayenne pepper on your steamed edamame pods for a fun and festive spin.

•Post Up Parfait — Fruit and granola are both loaded with fiber. Add them to Greek yogurt to make the “dream team!”

•Boomchickapop Popcorn — Popcorn is a great source of fiber that is also naturally low in calories.

For further assistance in finding healthy game day options, stop into your local Hy-Vee!

Avocado toast

Avocado toast

Avocado toast

Serves 1

All you need

•1 slice of whole grain bread

•½ ripe, Avocados from Mexico, mashed
Choose your own: toppings:

•Tropical: Mango + Coconut Flakes

•Berry Berry: Strawberries + Blueberries

•Chunky Monkey: Chocolate Chips + Banana

•Spicy Eggs: Fried Egg + Sriracha drizzle

•Miss Piggy: Honey + Bacon

•Surfs Up: Smoked Salmon + Tomato

•Pom Poms: Pomegranate Arils + Pineapple

•Power Melons: Watermelon + Cantaloupe

•Just Peachy: Peaches + Raspberries
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The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.