What are you eating while watching the playoffs? We have some healthy and not so healthy ideas

It’s easy to find something to eat at Busch Stadium because they have so many choices, but when looking to serve something special at home it sometimes take a bit of planning.

Make your own nachosAt Busch there are hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken tenders, pizza and all the usual ballpark fare, but when it comes to nachos, fans have lots to choose from.

There are the traditional nachos with cheese and peppers on top or in some areas such as the Redbird Club they have “make-your-own-nachos,” shown left and in the photo above.

cooking stir fryAnother unique dish served in the Redbird Club are the stir-fry dinners. Fans who order a stir-fry will stand and wait as a chef prepares it right in front of them. They have a choice between noodles and rice and then can choose between steak, chicken, and shrimp and the various other items  added.

Unfortunately most of us at home do not have the luxury of having a chef prepare our meals so we have to do it ourselves.

This week, Cardinals fans will be spending more time on the couch watching games than usual and special sporting events call for special food—but who has time to prepare big meals when the big game is on. We’ve compiled a few ideas, some you can prepare ahead of time. Whether you are eating healthy, or just chowing down, check out these recipes and you are sure to find something you will like.

We’ve put together some relatively healthy choices that will make your playoff-season more like a holiday.

munchiesMunchies

Everybody likes chips and dip when watching a game, but for those who are trying to keep the calories or carbs down, we found two good products.

Everything and More Partners are a fun snack, 70 calories for 3 crackers, 4 % carbohydrates and 0 sugars and 9 trans fats. The crackers are good size and if you break them up it seems like you have more.

Boar’s Head simplicity Organic traditional hummus was also a healthy choice and a good find as a dip. Two tablespoons is 80 calories, and that is a good amount. You can dip veggies in it or try the above-mentioned crackers. If you set it out in a pleasing manner your family or friends will dig in.

One tip on setting up a “healthy” buffet is the presentation. If you set out chips and dip and a bag of sliced carrots, guess what is going to be eaten? But if you look around and find snacks that could fit your eating plan you can still make them look appealing. Rather than rippled chips, you could substitute rippled carrots. Instead of nacho chips, how about trying these new crackers with hummus?

watermelon slushyWatermelon Slushy (smoothie)

Looking for a refreshing, fun change of pace type drink that is Cardinals red? Look no more than the watermelons you see in the produce section of the grocery store.

Ingredients:

Seedless watermelon

Ice cubes

WatermelonsSlice the watermelon in half and then fourths to make it easier to slice. Slice it and remove the rind. Cut into fairly small cubes and put in blender with ice. Blend it up and you have a refreshing drink.  (Note: You can add a little water or even a sprig of mint)

There are many health benefits of watermelon. According to WebMD.com Watermelon is very healthy. The cheery red color comes from lycopene, an antioxidant. Studies show it may help curb your risk of cancer and diabetes as part of a healthy lifestyle. Watermelon has more of this nutrient than any other fruit or veggie — even tomatoes.

Watermelon in mixerWebMD.com lists many other healthy aspects of watermelon including that it can help with inflammation and is rich in an amino acid called citrulline that may help move blood through your body and can lower your blood pressure. Your heart also enjoys the perks of all the lycopene watermelon contains. Studies show that it may lower your risk of heart attacks.

For low-carb people, a cup of watermelon has 4% carbohydrates, for those looking for low calorie, that amount is about 46 calories.

For a celebration, vodka can be added or even watermelon flavored vodka. We found a recipe with watermelon that added limeade and lemon-lime soda:

  • frozen watermelon chunks (about 8 cups)
  • 12 oz frozen limeade
  • 12 oz lemon-lime soda
  • 12 oz watermelon vodka

Mix in blender. Enjoy.

Hamburger on sesame seed bun with friesBurgers

Burgers are always a go-to item for sports fans. You can choose from regular sized burgers to mini- burgers (sliders). Cook the burgers ahead of time and warm them up in the crock pot earlier in the day. That way when you want your burger it’s ready for you.

Burgers can be anything—good old beef, turkey, or even vegetarian garden burgers.

Keep the buns and the condiments nearby. What kind of buns does your family like? You can go with the economy buns, sesame topping for the party atmosphere or for our low carb friends, we found a low carb bun that will actually work.

burgerWe order the low carb buns (shown in photo, right) online from the Great American Low Carb Bread. Co and keep them in the freezer for the days we want to have a burger. Nothing can beat a good hearty hamburger bun but if for health reasons you are keeping your carb numbers down, these buns do the trick.

Healthy Side Dishes

Are you going to just buy bags of chips or are you going to plan ahead and have some healthy choices on hand? It’s really not that tough if you think ahead. Some of the local grocery stores even have bags of vegetable side dishes you can warm up—even on the grill or in the oven. You don’t even have to take them out of the bag, just set the bag in the oven or on the grill to warm them up.

Fresh vegetables are always the best choice health-wise.

jicama fries in panJicama “French Fries”

(Or Sweet Potato Fries)

There are a couple of alternatives to the traditional French fry: Sweet potato fries or Jicama fries. Both are tubers or root plants. They are both fairly good if you are looking for a healthy side dish. One medium sweet potato contains about 112 calories and 26 grams of carbohydrate. One cup of Jicama is 46 calories and  11 grams — 5% carbohydrates.

Jicama friesGet out the cutting board and cut off the peelings, then slice the vegetable in half and begin cutting into “fries.”  We’ve been told both work in the air fryer, but since we don’t have one we tried baking it. Bake until golden brown.

jicama-fries-sqWhat are your favorite spices? You can explore with what spices to put on your fries, and you can also do them in the broiler. It’s not french fries but worth a try.

Sweet Treats

fruit cupReady-Made Fruit Cups

You hear it all the time, “grab a piece of fruit” if you are hungry. Let’s be honest, an apple is not the most fun snack to be eating during the big game—but if you are creative you can make fruit look fun!  Depending on how much time you have you can buy fruit already cut up a the grocery store or pick up some fruit and cut it up. Get those little clear wine glasses and fill the glass with several types of fruit. Cover and put in the refrigerator. If you set out a buffet they look great on the table or you can leave them in the fridge, covered, for a quick grab during the commercial.

Low Cal Fruit Dip

Sugar free Swiss Miss hot chocolate mixed with either just a little water or some sugar free syrup makes a great low-calorie chocolate dip. Speaking of apples, this is where they shine. Cut up some apple slices and set out the chocolate dip and your family won’t even know they are eating a healthy fruit snack.

Apple Cobbler — 2 versions, Bisquick and Low-Carb

Bisquick Apple Cobbler

Ingredients

  • FILLING:
  • 1 c . sugar
  • 2 tsp . cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp . cinnamon
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp . allspice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp . butter
  • 5 c . apples sliced
  • 1/2 tsp . grated lemon peel
  • TOPPING:
  • 1 c . homemade bisquick mix
  • 1/4 c . milk
  • 1/4 c . sugar
  • 2 tbsp . butter melted

Instructions

  1. FILLING: In a sauce pan, blend sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add butter, apples and lemon peel. Pour into a buttered baking dish.
  2. TOPPING: Mix Bisquick with milk, sugar and butter until well combined. Drop by spoonfuls on top of apple mixture.
  3. Bake Bisquick Apple Cobbler at 350 F (175 C) for 35-40 minutes (fan oven 25-28 minutes) or until golden brown. (Recipe courtesy Bisquick)

Low Carb, Low Calorie Apple Cobbler

pieIngredients:

Fresh apples

Almond flour

Cinnamon

Stevia sweetener

Peel, cut, and slice the apples and put them in a large mixing bowl. (make as much as you need. For large baking dish use six apples)

Sprinkle cinnamon and sweetener on them and stir to mix it all together.

Topping: Cut small pieces of butter up and sprinkle with sweetener and cinnamon. Using a fork, cut into little crumbles.  (Note: Instead of butter we use Brummels and Brown, a buttery spread, made with yogurt. It’s advertised as a smart and delicious choice with 50% less fat and calories than butter: one serving (1 tbsp.) of butter contains 100 calories, 11g total fat, 7g saturated fat, while Brummel & Brown contains 5g fat (1.5g saturated fat) and 45 calories per serving.

Take a baking dish, the size needed based on how many apples you used. Spray with Pam and dump the apples in the dish. Sprinkle with the topping.

Bake at 350 for at least 30 minutes, until golden brown. Tastes great with low-fat whipped cream on top.

Crock Pot Meals

Make it easy on yourself, prepare it ahead and have it waiting for you during a commercial.

ChiliChili with Toppings

What’s better on a nice fall evening than a pot of chili? Everyone has their own family favorite recipe for chili, but what’s great about it is you could make it the day before and put it in the crock pot on low all day. It’s fun to add toppings. We use onions, peppers, and cheese

Crock Pot Lasagna

Spray the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground Italian sausage (could also use ground beef)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 24 ounce jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 cup water (divided)
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (divided)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 9-12 lasagna noodles (uncooked) 
    Brown the hamburger and Italian sausage in a pan over medium heat. Drain grease and then add Italian seasoning and onions. Cook until onions are soft and then stir in the sauce with 1/2 cup water. Let simmer for 5 minutes.
    While the sauce is simmering, mix together the ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and egg.
    Scoop about a cup of the sauce onto the bottom of the crock pot. Then top with 3 noodles (you may need to break some noodles to fit). Then spread about 1/3 of the cheese mixture. Repeat with 2 more layers, or until all the ingredients are used. Add 1/2 cup water around the sides.
    Sprinkle remaining cup of mozzarella cheese on top. Cook on low for 4-5 hours, or until noodles are tender. Top with fresh basil, if desired.

Crock Pot lasagnaCrock Pot Low-Carb Lasagna

Ingredients:

Ground meat (browned)

Red sauce (We use Prego Garden)

Skinny Girl Pasta Konjac Noodles

Ricotta cheese

Parmesan cheese

Large can of diced tomatoes (optional- 9 grams carbs)

Add the ingredients by layer. First put a little ground meat, then some noodles, pasta sauce, ricotta cheese and parmesan cheese; then repeat several times.

Pot Roast in the Crock Pot

Ingredients

Approx. four pound roast

1 packet dry onion soup mix

1 cup water

3 carrots, chopped

1 onion, chopped

3 potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 stalk celery, chopped

Add all to crock pot.

Cook on low for nine hours.

Season the roast with salt and pepper to taste. Brown on all sides in a large skillet over high heat, about 4 minutes per side.

Postseason gear.pngPlace the roast in the slow cooker and add the soup mix, water, carrots, onion, potatoes, and celery.

Cover and cook on Low setting for 8 to 10 hours.

18 carbs

For a lower carb pot roast– eliminate the potatoes and add another side-dish.

 

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For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out STLSportsPage.com. Rob Rains, Editor.