March Madness is a great excuse to party with your friends. But cheering on your team can cost you, because—regardless of which team wins—you lose if the pounds keep creeping up when you stand on the scale. We are not suggesting you eat celery and carrots during the big game, but you can make simple substitutions and not feel deprived – all of theses recipes go great with beer!
Chips and Dips are a must while watching the game. Instead of using the normal dip, buy some hummus (or better still make your own, so you can lower the sodium content) – the main ingredient, chickpeas, (garbanzo beans) are high in fiber and low on the glycemic index, which will fill you up faster. Serve with some whole-grain pita bread, or even better – sliced fresh vegetables!
Buffalo wings are ‘double trouble’, not only do they have skin on, they are fried —one serving can pack in a lot of fat and calories. An easy and good substitution is boneless chicken breast strips; bake them in the oven, instead of frying. A great tasting buffalo sauce can be made by mixing together hot pepper sauce, cornstarch, white vinegar, and cayenne pepper.
Hold up on dialing for delivery! A six-inch meatball marinara sub can do a lot of damage. High in calories, saturated fat, and huge on cholesterol. Make your own meatballs using lean ground turkey and tomato sauce; then skewer each on a toothpick or between mini hamburger buns, or in whole wheat pita breads.
Eat your ‘must have’ French fries, but use delicious Vitamin A-rich sweet potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper; toss to coat and bake in a hot oven until crisp. Below is a recipe:
SMOKEY SPICY SWEET POTATO FRIES
Prep time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 15 minutes
Freezing time: 30 minutes. Cooking time: 10 minutes. Serves: 4
3 sweet potatoes (garnet yams)
2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
3 tbsp canola oil
Preheat oven to 325˚F. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into long ½ inch slices. Mix salt, sugar and spices with oil then toss sweet potatoes in mixture. Spread fries in single layer and bake till tender when pierced with tip of a knife (about 12 to 15 minutes). Let fries cool on pan, then transfer to wax paper on a second pan. Put in freezer until frozen.
Raise oven temp to 450˚F. Spread frozen fries in single layer again on bake pan and bake until golden brown and crisp, about 10 minutes. Rest fries on a brown paper bag (or paper towels). Serve immediately with a squeeze of lime juice.
SHRIMP, PINEAPPLE, AND CUCUMBER SALAD IN ROMAINE LETTUCE LEAVES
Prep time: 15 minutes. Serves: 4
2 lb cooked shrimp, shelled, deveined and chopped
4 cups chopped pineapple
2 cucumbers, chopped finely
1 cup finely chopped celery
4 green onions, finely chopped
12 medium Romaine lettuce leaves
Citrus Salad Dressing (see recipe below)
GARNISH: 2 hard boiled eggs, sliced; sliced strawberries and halved cherry tomatoes
In a bowl, mix the shrimp, pineapple, cucumbers, celery, green onions. Whisk together the below dressing and pour over salad mixture.
To serve: Place 3 lettuce leaves on each plate, fill with salad and garnish
CITRUS SALAD DRESSING
Prep time: 15 minutes. Serves: 4
2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp shredded fresh basil leaves
1 tsp dry mustard
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients. Mix well.