Called Pigskin -- Not Pig-Out -- Season
eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource
Like many things in life, there's a right
way and there's a wrong way to eat. Unfortunately, many of us have chosen the
wrong way. And what better way to pull a dietary end-around than to belly up to
a tailgate party buffet and eat like there's no tomorrow?
Chicken wings... fried chicken... ribs...
pizza... chips... dips...The latter could refer to you and me when we insist on
overdoing it week in and week out in the name of football. If eDiets employed
referees they'd be tossing flag after flag our way and slapping us with a plate
"piling on" infraction. Face it folks, finger foods washed down by beer or soda
will foul up many a diet this season.
While strolling through the local Sam's
Club last week I grabbed a bag of Tyson chicken wings and checked the label. At
first glance, the news isn't all that terrible: a serving of Buffalo Hot Wings
has 140 calories and 9 grams of fat (2.5 grams are the stick to your blood
vessels saturated variety). The Honey BBQ version was slightly worse at 160
calories and 10 grams of fat (2.5 saturated). However... we are talking
TWO WINGS per serving. When was the last time you attended a party and had just
two wings? Never? Me too...
Far be it from me -- a Penn State
University grad and a lifelong New York Jets fan -- to tell you to pull the
plug on your pre-game partying. Ain't gonna happen anytime before you-know-what
freezes over. I am going to ask you to digest the revealing numbers (culled
from the info-packed eDiets archives, mind you) I am about to serve up and then
give our just-as-tasty alternatives a try. Yes, it could involve cooking rather
than running to the grocery store deli or neighborhood fast food joint, but in
the long run your belly and heart will thank you.
Oh, one more thing: I know it may sound
blasphemous to some of you, but why not give light beer a try this year? I was
a die-hard Bud fan for many years. No real man drinks a light beer, I
told myself time and time again. Heck, I even teased friends who reached for a
Miller Lite rather than a full-flavored, full-calorie brew. Guess what? A few
years ago I pulled a reverse play (I admit... it was waistline-induced) and
became a fan of light beers. Now, on those rare occasions I imbibe in a regular
Bud, I cringe at the taste. So give it a try. The calories you save really do
Are You Ready For Some
And now ladies and gentlemen, here are
the starting players for your football party spread. First we give you the
"player" and its stats, then we provide the numbers for the replacement
players. Playing wideout...
FRIED CHICKEN: Sorry Colonel...
you can do your silly little dance somewhere else. Remember, just because its
all-white meat, doesnt make it lean. One 6.5-ounce extra-crispy breast from KFC
has 470 calories and 28 grams of fat. KFCs drumstick will set you back 195
calories and 12 grams of fat, and even that little wing manages to cram in 220
calories and 15 grams of fat!
It'll take a little work but you'll be far
better off to "fry up" your own chicken, using this great recipe:
4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken
1 cup fat-free buttermilk
1 cup crushed corn flakes
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
Heat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with
aluminum foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray. Rinse chicken breasts in
running water and pat dry. Pour buttermilk, crushed corn flakes, and flour
seasoned with salt and pepper into three separate shallow bowls. Dredge each
chicken breast in buttermilk, then in flour, back into buttermilk, then into
corn flakes. Arrange corn flake-coated chicken breasts on baking sheet and
bake, about 8 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cooked
Makes 4 servings. Nutritional values per
serving: 250 calories, 2g fat, 31g carbohydrate, 27g protein, 4g fiber and
CHICKEN WINGS: How bad could they
be? Theyre chicken, after all, right? That may be true, but wings are
considered dark meat, which is more fatty than its lighter counterpart. And
once you drench them in oil and dip them in blue cheese, they might as well be
any other meat.
So get cookin' and enjoy our Better
1 Tbsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. hot sauce
tsp. olive oil
3 (4-oz.) skinless, boneless chicken breasts, sliced into
3/4 cup fat-free blue cheese dressing
Combine paprika, hot sauce and olive oil;
add chicken and toss well to coat. Marinate chicken in refrigerator, about 1
hour. Heat broiler. Arrange chicken on broiler pan and cook, five minutes or
until chicken is cooked through. Serve with dressing for dipping.
Makes 6 servings. Nutritional values per
serving: 120 calories, 2g fat, 13g carbohydrate, 14g protein, 500mg sodium, and
1 grams fiber.
RIBS: A typical 8-ounce restaurant
serving of barbecue pork ribs has 645 calories and 43 grams of fat. That's even
more fat grams than youd get from an order of Chicken Tenders, a regular-size
French fries and a vanilla milk shake from Burger King.
So if youre following an
1,800-calorie diet plan, an order of ribs will give you more than 70 percent of
your recommended daily limit for fat in one meal!
We recommend you head down your
supermarkets frozen food aisle and grab a box of Gardenburger Meatless
Riblets (they're made from soy protein). Pop a riblet in the microwave for
about three and a half minutes and you can get your flame-broiled fix for just
210 calories and 5 grams of fat.
If you're up to a little pre-game kitchen
work, you can try this recipe:
These saucy sandwiches can get a little
messy, so serve em up with a stack of napkins. If you prefer, substitute
chicken breasts for the turkey.
4 (4-oz.) turkey breast cutlets
1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth
1/2 onion, sliced
4 whole-wheat rolls
Marinate turkey cutlets in barbecue sauce
in the refrigerator, about 1 hour. Heat grill and cook cutlets, about 4 minutes
on each side or until cooked through. Coat a nonstick skillet with nonstick
cooking spray; add chicken broth and heat. Add onion and mushrooms and
sauté until browned. Shred turkey by pulling apart with a fork; serve on
toasted rolls topped with mushroom and onions and additional barbecue sauce, if
Makes 4 servings. Nutritional values per
serving: 290 calories, 5g fat, 33g carbohydrate, 29g protein, 4g fiber and
NACHOS: It thickens us to
know that an order of beef 'n cheese nachos can have as much fat as 10 glazed
doughnuts at Dunkin' Donuts. Rather than opt for restaurant recipes that are
nacho cup of tea, try this great alternative courtesy of Forbidden Foods
Diabetic Cooking (American Diabetes Association)...
When topped with cheese, tomatoes and other
healthy ingredients, these hearty nachos are the perfect way to stay on the
ball while losing weight.
4 cups low-fat baked tortilla chips
cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp. canned chopped green
1/2 medium tomato, finely chopped
1/4 cup sliced pitted black
1 green onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
pickled jalapeno peppers, sliced (optional)
Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a large
heatproof platter or baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Scatter the
tortilla chips evenly over the platter. Sprinkle them evenly with the cheese
and green chilies and broil until the cheese melts (2 to 3 minutes). Top nachos
with tomato, olives, onions, cilantro and jalapeno peppers. Serve
Makes six 3/4-cup servings. Nutritional
values per serving: 172 calories, 9 grams of fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 20mg
cholesterol, 319mg sodium, 7 grams protein.
For more information about Forbidden
Foods Diabetic Cooking, visit www.diabetes.org.
If you want to keep some more
traditional football party fare, opt for low-fat versions. Some
ideas from your plan include low-fat nachos, snack pizzas, picante potato
wedges, hummus dip with crackers, crackers and cheese, sour cream dip with
carrots, tortilla chips with salsa, baby carrots, popcorn, pretzels and cheesy
pita chips. Just dont forget to pay attention to portion
And now for some great advice for serving
other game foods that'll score big with your guests.
The Tip Off...
Before kickoff, serve dinner so you and
your guests won't be famished, which can lead to going overboard on snacks.
Prepare our favorite filling pre-game meals -- they're sure to make fans of the
Turkey Chili: Substitute lean ground
turkey breast or red and black beans for ground beef in your favorite chili
recipe (use cooking spray instead of oil, too). Top with chopped tomatoes and
peppers for a crunchy, hearty texture.
Mushroom Burgers: Look for these
cheesy, meatless burgers in your grocer's freezer section. Pile them along with
sandwich-style pickles and all the usual burger fixings on whole-grain rolls,
or slice them up and layer on mixed greens.
Tofu Hot Dogs or Turkey Sausages:
You'll feel like you're right in the stands when you bite into one of these
smarter alternatives to beef or pork hot dogs and sausages. Load them up with
deli mustard, relish, onions and peppers, or sauerkraut to boost the "fill you
Boca Nuggets: These soy-based bites
taste just like fried chicken nuggets (see if the family can tell, we dare
you!), but they're much lower in fat. Serve them with barbecue sauce or honey
mustard for dipping. Also look for boneless, skinless hot wings -- a terrific
stand in for Buffalo wings alongside fat-free blue cheese dressing and crunchy
Baked Potato Skins: Bake potatoes,
then slice in half and scoop out the center, leaving about a quarter-inch of
potato flesh inside each skin; spray with butter-flavor cooking spray and
broil, potato side down, 5 minutes or until browned. Turn and broil a few
minutes more; top with imitation bacon bits and chives.
Spicy Popcorn: Spray air-popped
popcorn with butter-flavor nonstick cooking spray and sprinkle with cayenne
pepper or Old Bay seasoning.
Pita Chips 'n Mexican Dip: Cut pita
bread into triangles and spray with olive-oil flavor cooking spray; broil until
golden brown and crisp. Mix black bean dip and salsa; serve as a spicy pita
And here's a great tip to prevent yet
another yellow flag from the eDiets referees (the infraction: too many beers or
alcoholic drinks on the field):
Call a time-out from alcohol. If
youve been drinking alcoholic beverages, alternate with something
non-alcoholic, like sparkling water with lime or diet iced tea. This will cut
back on calories and prevent the loss of inhibition that can lead to
overeating. Better yet, reach for water to keep you hydrated and aid in weight
One regular beer ranges between 150 to 200
calories, while a light beer has only about 100 calories. A 5-ounce glass of
wine has about 100 calories, as does 1-ounce of alcoholic spirits such as
vodka, gin or scotch.
Dont forget: substituting juice for
regular soda is like substituting regular sour cream for mayonnaise.
Youre not saving calories! An 8-ounce glass of juice, unsweetened, has
about 120 calories.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Special thanks go out
to my favorite team, the eDiets editorial staff and director of nutrition Susan
Burke, for their help in putting this special football issue together.
I have just read both columns on the
Center for Consumer Freedom and I have to say that I agree with the folks who
point out the rising costs of health care, prescriptions and insurance as a
significant and often ignored side effect of poor eating. We have for too long
been absolved of the responsibility for our actions and our actions are the
result of the freedom to choose. The bottom line is always the bottom line. We
should know by now that no one will ever be able to legislate behavior
(alcohol, tobacco, prostitution, drugs). All attempts have failed miserably.
So, give an insurance discount to people who don't eat "bad food," make all
food delivery organizations post the nutritional content of the foods they
sell, and exclude obesity and obesity-related conditions from payment by
medical insurances. Since we seem to have the will to spend our money on things
that can harm (and possibly kill) us over time we can also have the will to
save money to pay for the medical costs.
I work for Starbucks as a lowly barista. At
my position I have access to all the varied diet-busting drinks we sell and
their nutritional info. It should not be difficult to obtain the nutritional
info for all our products including pastries. I work at a store in Houston
("the heaviest city in America") and we keep our nutrition info binder by the
register where we can answer those questions quickly. It contains all our drink
info and most pastries. Always ask the store employees first, then ask for the
manager. If they don't know or aren't able to locate the info in the store they
should not be a manager -- it is one of the first things I was taught as a
I have been troubled by the excessive
weight gain in this country and the reasons given by the experts as to why so
many people are gaining. It seems to me that about the time there was so much
emphasis placed on the smoking habit and many people attempted to stop smoking,
that the weight gains became so pronounced. I think that many people who
stopped that horrible habit substituted eating for smoking. I do not hear the
experts mention this very often. It seems to be a logical if not plausible
reason or excuse for this serious problem.
Just to let you know you can get the
nutritional info for all of those tight-lipped franchises at
www.calorieking.com. Just type in their name and you're on your way to a big,
LEAVE 'EM LAUGHING
Reader Erin Johnson supplied these
one-liners on our favorite subject... food!
The snack bar next door to the nuclear
plant is called "The Fission Chips."
A couple of kids who tried using pickles
for a Ping-Pong game found out they were in the "volley of the dills."
The four food groups: Fast, Frozen, Instant
A friend of mine got some vinegar in his
ear -- he now suffers from pickled hearing.
Overweight is something that just sort of
snacks up on you.
Until next week, the kitchen is closed. But
if you have any questions and/or comments -- or a tasteful joke to share --
feel free to write me, eDiets editor-in-chief John McGran, at