Dr. Russ: Hi! Im Dr. Russ and a member of Harris Teeters Your Wellness Team. Its an exciting time of year again when college basketball rules. Each March, we gather around the television and yell support for our local teams, all the while munching for hours on in.
Most of the food we eat during this time, however, is worthy of an offensive foul. Its typically very high in salt, sugar, calories and saturated fat. So lets talk about some delicious and healthy ways to celebrate as you host family and friends for this years madness.
As far as appetizers and table snacks go, you might start by putting out a big bowl of air-popped popcorn, sprinkled with seasoning. Other options include pita chips with hummus, bowls of fresh or dried fruit and unsalted nuts and chicken strips with barbecue dipping sauce. If its cold outside, a tasty cup of fresh lentil and squash soup will warm every one up.
Moving on to the main course, if youre making or ordering pizza, choose whole grain crust and add some healthy veggies as a topping. Many of you will serve burgers, but offer your guests a healthy twist on the theme by serving salmon or veggie burgers with all the fixings on a whole grain bun. Add a leafy green salad and some baked sweet potato fries as sides.
Another winning dish is pasta, tortellini primavera or a simple pasta dish made with extra virgin olive oil and fresh veggies is sure to please. To satisfy everyones sweet tooth, it never hurts to have chocolate around; all the better, if its heart-healthy dark chocolate. Choose products containing at least 70% cocoa and these small squares out for guests to nibble on.
Select your beverages wisely. Avoid the empty calories and high sugar of sodas and fruit juices; instead, serve your guests clean fresh water and flavored seltzers. Smoothies are quick and easy and can serve as a delicious and nutritious desert item.
If alcoholic beverages are on your menu for this years party, please, watch your guests to be sure theyre not overindulging. Plan ahead and have designated drivers available who can drive people home if theyve let the madness get to them a little too much.
Hosting a March Madness gathering with healthy food and drink will get you your own share of high fives. Have fun and be well this March Madness. I hope your team wins.