Super eats — shrimp and salsaScore a touchdown by pairing these two at Sunday’s party.
If you’re a football fan, this weekend is the one you’ve been waiting for all season long.
And even some people who aren’t enthusiasts of the game are looking forward to Super Bowl XLIV. It’s estimated that 125 million Americans attend some sort of Super Bowl gathering — whether it’s with family or friends. (According to Hallmark Cards, Inc., the Super Bowl represents the No. 1 at-home party event of the year, more popular than a New Year’s Eve bash.)
And aside from genuine interest in watching 22 huge dudes chucking a pigskin around, one of the biggest reasons is the party that goes along with the game.
And the centerpiece of most Super Bowl parties is the food.
Consider these facts from www.superbowl monday.com and www.nubella.com:
— Nearly one in eight or 13 percent of Americans order takeout/delivery food from a restaurant for a Super Bowl gathering.
— Most popular choices of takeout/delivery items on Super Bowl Sunday are pizza at 58 percent, chicken wings at 50 percent and subs or sandwiches at 20 percent.
— About 1 in 20 (4 percent) Americans watch the big game at a restaurant or a bar; that’s more than 9 million Americans.
n On Super Bowl Sunday, Americans will eat an estimated 20 million pounds of potato and tortilla chips and 80 million pounds of avocados.
n No less than $55 million is expected to be spent on food for the big game.
— Super Bowl Sunday marks the day on which Americans chow down the second-greatest amount of food. (It trails only Thanksgiving.)
As you can see, it’s generally no holds barred when it comes to the menu. I would guess that many a New Year’s diet has fallen by the wayside at past Super Bowl parties.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are loads of foods that are just as tasty as those aforementioned ones — and are healthy to boot.
A couple of foods that I would like to suggest are shrimp and salsa.
Shrimp is a good source of low-fat, low-calorie protein. It is high in selenium, vitamin D and vitamin B12. Also found in shrimp are cardio-protective omega-3 fatty acids — which have anti-inflammatory effects, prevent formation of blood clots and help decrease cognitive decline. To take it a step even further, 100 grams of shrimp are only 2 points for those familiar with the Weight Watchers food chart.
Salsa is a calorie watcher’s best friend. Most has only 4 or 5 calories per tablespoon and usually has no added sugar or fat (and is an excellent substitute for ketchup). And those made with tomatoes contain lycopene, a carotenoid that is being studied for its role in preventing various types of cancer, particularly prostate cancer as well as heart disease prevention.
And chili peppers in salsas have some amazing health benefits. The active ingredient in chili peppers, known as capsaicin, has been shown in studies to have anti-inflammatory effects, which may be helpful for people with rheumatoid arthritis. It also has anti-cancer, anti-ulcer and anti-bacterial properties.
If you really want to go all out, try combining shrimp and salsa.
I’m no stranger to this. About four or five years ago, I discovered a recipe called Firecracker Shrimp (see at www.grandforksherald.com/event/tag/group/Features/tag/food/) that contains both.
And recently, we had a dish called Salsa Shrimp that was paired with broccoli and brown rice.
Both recipes were very delicious.
To put this in terms that football fans will understand, you’ll score a nutritional touchdown with either.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at email@example.com.