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Fiftysomething Diet: 5 Super Healthy Bowls

Score a culinary touchdown this Sunday with these nutritious party foods!

By Maureen Callahan

If your pre-, post- and during-the-game festivities include nibbling on dips, snack mix or chili, check out our healthier versions of these popular party bowls. We’ve tweaked classic recipes with healthy mix-ins or complete overhauls. We’ve cut down on salt, sugar and bad fats — and kicked up flavor!
Even better: these five super bowls are super easy to throw together.

So whether you're rooting for the Baltimore Ravens or San Francisco 49ers, it’s a win-win.
Mango-Tomatillo Guacamole Place two tomatillos in a mini-chopper with 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt. (If you prefer to use fresh minced garlic, add 1/8 teaspoon of salt to recipe.) Pulse to puree. Place 2 cups chopped peeled ripe avocado and 1 cup chopped peeled ripe mango in a small serving bowl; stir in tomatillo mixture. Serve with homemade oven-roasted chips made from wedges of corn tortilla or whole wheat pita. Yield: 2 3/4 cups or 24 (2 tablespoon) servings.
Spicy Snack Mix Preheat oven to 325° F. Combine 1 teaspoon each of these flavorings: garlic salt, oregano, ground cumin, chili powder and brown sugar. Set aside. Place 3 cups (about 3 ounces) mini unsalted pretzel rounds in a medium bowl with 1 1/2 cups whole wheat waffle squares (like Wheat Chex), 1/2 cup unsalted cashews, and 1/2 cup unsalted pecans. Drizzle 2 tablespoons garlic oil (or regular olive oil) over pretzel mixture and toss to mix. Sprinkle spice mixture evenly over pretzel mixture and toss gently to coat. Bake at 325° F for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring once or twice. Cool completely. Yield: 5 1/2 cups or about 20 (1/4-cup) servings.

(More: Fiftysomething Diet: Healthy Food Swaps)
Curried Popcorn Combine spices: 2 teaspoons curry powder, 1 teaspoon each of ground coriander and ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add 3/4 cup popcorn kernels; cover and shake constantly for 6-8 minutes or until all kernels are popped. Immediately sprinkle spice mixture evenly over hot popcorn and toss well to blend. Not keen on Indian spices? Try store-bought salt-free spice blends, like Cajun or taco seasoning. Add small amounts of coarse or regular salt. Yield: 10 cups.
Caramelized Onion Hummus Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 3/4 cups chopped onion and cook until onion begins to caramelize, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. (Do not allow onions to “fry.” Cooking lower and slower caramelizes natural sugars in onions and turns them a golden color.) Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside to cool. While onion cools, place one (19-ounce) can chickpeas (rinsed and drained, no-salt added), 1/3 cup water, 1 tablespoon tahini, 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and one clove of minced garlic in a food processor and pulse to puree. Add onions and pulse to puree. Stir in 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves; cover and refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to blend. Yield: 2 cups. Serve with raw vegetables or homemade chips made from wedges of whole wheat pita.
Turkey and White Bean Chili Heat a Dutch oven (large soup pot) over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons canola oil and heat. Stir in one large chopped onion and one chopped and seeded Anaheim chili. Sauté for 4 minutes. Stir in spices: 2 teaspoons each of ground cumin and dried oregano, 1 teaspoon ground coriander and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook 1 minute. Stir in one pound lean ground turkey (no skin) and cook for 4-5 minutes or until meat is cooked through. Add 2 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth, two cups of low-sodium cooked cannellini* or Great Northern beans and one (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. While chili is cooking, mash 1 cup of cooked low-sodium cannellini beans in a small bowl. Stir in the juice of one lime and add mashed bean mixture to Dutch oven. Simmer 5 minutes; stir in 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro and 1/4 teaspoon salt and serve. Yield: 9 cups or 6 (1 1/2 cup) servings.

*No-salt-added canned beans and organic canned beans are low in sodium. If you can’t find either, cut back on salt in the recipe. Keep in mind that rinsing and draining regular beans helps remove some of the excess sodium.

Maureen Callahan is a registered dietitian, recipe developer and lead author of the diet book review series. She is a two-time James Beard Award winner. Read More
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