Healthy snacks for Sunday football

Football season is upon us! Die-hard football fans have been waiting weeks for watching games with friends on Sunday afternoons, but so have serious snackers. Let's face it, for those of us who feel ambivalent about football, it's still a win-win situation – hang out with good friends and eat tasty foods. If you're a hardcore snacker but want to find some healthy options so you can eat to your heart's content, look no further. Here are some of the most delicious football snacks that won't leave you feeling guilty and that definitely don't lack in flavor:

Roasted edamame
Rather than getting your fill of veggies as a pizza topping or with a creamy, bad-for-you dip, one good way to enjoy them is roasted or baked, and slightly salted and peppered. Edamame is an immature soybean that is packed with protein and fiber and low in fat. It also contains vitamins A, C and E, as well as vitamin K and folate, which are good for heart health. The easiest and one of the most delicious ways to prepare soybeans is to buy them shelled and frozen. Give them a good rinse, pat dry with a clean kitchen towel and then spread them out on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet, making sure there is no overlap. Drizzle them with grape seed or olive oil, sprinkle with salt and a generous dose of pepper and toss them with your hands before sliding them into a 400-degree oven. Bake for 30 minutes until the edamame are slightly brown and crispy, and serve right away. Roasted edamame makes an excellent, easy party snack. You can also roast protein and fiber-packed chickpeas in the same way, using salt and drizzling them with honey.

Greek yogurt dips
If you can't imagine throwing a football get-together without having some sort of creamy dip, you can make a delicious and healthy one with nonfat or lowfat Greek yogurt. Here are three delicious dips you might want to try:

  • Something sweet: Mix Greek yogurt with nut spread, and top with a drizzle of honey and chopped walnuts. For an extra boost of protein, mix in Naturade Pea Protein (vanilla). Serve it with sliced apples and strawberries.
  • Something savory: Make an avocado dip to serve with whole wheat pita chips. Mash two avocados, stir in one 6-ounce container of plain Greek yogurt, some chopped cilantro one tablespoon of lime juice and chopped jalapeno and coarse salt to taste. If you want a smoother consistency, combine these ingredients in a food processor.
  • Something for veggies: A sun-dried tomato dip makes an easy, spicy addition to any football party, and you can serve it with sliced veggies or multigrain crackers. In a bowl, mix 8 ounces of softened cream cheese, 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup of chili sauce. In another bowl, pour 1 cup of bowling water over a 1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes and let them sit for 10 minutes. Then, combine the yogurt mixture with the tomatoes, 1/2 cup of diced red bell pepper, two to three chopped green onions, one clove of minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of celery seed and cayenne pepper to taste.

Mozzarella di bufala
Fresh mozzarella is incredibly delicious, high in protein and lower in fat than many other cheeses. Serve it with fresh tomato slices or cherry tomatoes, chopped basil and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a classic Caprese salad. For a twist, serve the mozzarella on top of a tomato slice with avocado on top. It's a bright, healthy and delicious snack that your football friends are sure to enjoy.

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