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EWG for the Win: Tips for Your Healthiest Super Bowl Yet

Friday, February 5, 2016

The big game is right around the corner and millions of Americans are making winning game plans for a Super Bowl party packed with quintessential football fare.

Super Bowl Sunday comes in second only to Thanksgiving when it comes to eating holidays, with some reports suggesting that the average football fan consumes more than 2,400 calories during the game! That’s a pretty big number, even by linebacker standards. If you want to stay clear of nutritional penalties while still scoring a touchdown for great snacks with your guests, try these plays.



Chips and dips are a classic first play for any Super Bowl shindig. Whether you’re going for potato or tortilla chips, a good rule is to keep the ingredient list short. If possible, avoid flavored chips like “hint of lime” or BBQ. Regardless of whether they’re natural or artificial, their flavoring chemicals aren’t what they seem. Keep an eye out for chips blitzed with salt and check the label for sky-high sodium amounts. Here are some keys to making a first down without tipping the scales:

  • Keep it simple and look for chips with a short ingredient list.
  • Stay clear of flavored chips like BBQ, cheddar or lime.
  • Watch the sodium: Aim for less than 80 mg per serving in corn chips or 120 mg per serving for potato chips.

Some chip options:


Salsas can be a great healthy dip if you know how to spot a few penalties. As with chips, you want to steer clear of those with a lot of salt. There are tasty salsas with NO added salt.

And don’t get blind-sided by another sneaky offender – sugar. Added sugars are often snuck into salsas to improve taste. Seeing “cane sugar” or the like on the label is a good reason to throw a red flag and look elsewhere.

  • Hold the line on sodium: look for 120 mg or less per serving.
  • Avoid added sugars, ingredients such as evaporated cane juice, fruit juice concentrates, agave, honey, molasses, sugars, syrups, dextrose, glucose, sucrose, or fructose.

Some salsa options:



Who doesn’t want to enjoy a cheesy slice of pizza halfway through the big game? But limit the heart pounding to the game-day excitement. Pizza is the number two source of artery-clogging solid fats in the American diet and the number three source of blood pressure-raising sodium. With a good game plan, though, you can eat a great slice that’s easier on your heart.

Make your own pizza if you can. As guests arrive, break the ice by inviting them to top their own pizza. Then pop them into the oven at kickoff and dance in the end zone when your home is filled with the smell of steaming fresh, personalized pizza.

Here’s a fun, fumble-free recipe.

If you’ve got to punt and go store-bought:

  • Do your best with sodium: 750 mg or less per serving is a realistic goal for this special occasion.

Steer clear of the worst pizza options and go with these instead:


Burgers and Patties

The game is over and so far you’ve held the line on nutritious game time snacks, but now it’s time to fire up the grill.

This may be the opportunity to call a trick play and substitute out the traditional beef patties. Opt for chicken, turkey or even a meatless option to keep your family healthy and protect the planet.

Some swaps to try:

If you’re looking to stick with beef:

  • Keep the serving small.  The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends no more than 18 ounces of red meat a week, as it’s linked to increased risk of heart disease and cancer.
  • Skip the cheese and dress burgers with fresh in-season fixings like lettuce, organic spinach, mushrooms, shredded cabbage or carrots instead.
  • Opt for USDA-certified organic meat to reduce the risk of serving your guests added hormones or “superbugs” – bacteria that can cause untreatable infections.
  • Try “pasture-raised” or “grass-fed” beef; it has a healthier balance of fats in general.



Don’t forget to make sure the whole team is hydrating throughout the game – but skip the sugary sodas and opt for filtered tap water instead.



No matter who you’re cheering for this Super Bowl Sunday, everyone wins when you serve healthier options that still satisfy all the fans at your gathering.

Whatever you’re looking for, EWG can help you find a better option in the store with our Food Scores mobile apps.

Here’s how EWG’s picks stack up against standard football fare:


See how all of your favorite foods match up by searching EWG’s Food Scores.


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