Smart Super Bowl Snacking

Learn how to snack smart during your Super Bowl party.

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Here are a few healthy makeover recipes from the California Walnut Board. Walnuts are the only nut that provide a significant amount of alpha linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid proven to help cardiovascular health.

Popcorn Walnut Delight

This American favorite is easy to make at home using walnuts and a light caramel. This version contains half the sugar per serving than the stadium-bought alternative and the walnuts provide nearly 10 times the amount of ALA omega-3s than of any other nut. Be sure to make enough because this deliciously smart and fun treat will go quickly when served to hungry football fanatics.

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1 tablespoon unsalted butter

3 tablespoons canola oil

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar or cider vinegar

Pinch baking soda

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

4 cups popped corn

3/4 cup walnut halves or pieces or a mixture

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

2. Combine butter, oil, sugar, vinegar, baking soda, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring just until butter has melted, approximately 3 minutes. If it starts to bubble, remove from heat to complete stirring.

3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Put on popped corn and walnuts and mix them. Drizzle butter-sugar sauce all over and toss and turn well.

4. Place in oven and bake 15 minutes. Remove, and using a wooden spoon or spatula, turn several times. Return to oven, and repeat turning process 2 more times at 15-minute intervals. After 1 hour, remove corn and turn several times. Let stand at room temperature to cool. When cool, store in plastic bags or containers and store in a cool, dry place. It will stay fresh up to 10 days.

Makes 4 cups — about 8 servings

Caramel Corn Popcorn Walnut Delight
Total Fat17g13g
Saturated Fat5g2g
Total Carbohydrate54g9g
Dietary Fiber2g1g

*Source for original: Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary edition, copyright 2006

Guacamole Chicken Salad

Take a football snacking classic, guacamole, and add chicken to create this unique spin. Replacing the mayonnaise in regular walnut chicken salad with avocado reduces the saturated fat and spices up the flavor. For a lower-fat snack, leave out the tortilla chips and serve on a leaf of butter lettuce.

2 avocados, halved, pitted, and peeled

3 tablespoons lime juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

4 cups diced, cooked chicken breast meat*

1 cup toasted, chopped California walnuts

1 cup finely chopped onion

3/4 cup finely chopped celery (about 3 ribs)

3 plum tomatoes, halved, seeded, and chopped

6 (or more, depending on size) whole leaves of butter lettuce or radicchio

Serves 8

*Note: Use home-cooked roasted or poached chicken, or deli-roasted chicken.

Put avocado in a large bowl and mash it with a fork until almost smooth. Stir in lime juice, garlic, salt, pepper. Add chicken, walnuts, onion, celery, and tomatoes, and stir to coat with avocado. To serve, place a leaf or 2 of lettuce on each plate, and mound salad in center.

Chicken Salad with MayoGuacamole Chicken Salad
Total Fat22g19g
Saturated Fat3.5g2.5g
Total Carbohydrate17g10g
Dietary Fiber1g5g

*Source for original: Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary edition, copyright 2006

Walnut, Black Olive, and Sun-Dried Tomato Spread

Spice up your vegetable platter with Mediterranean flavor while taking care of your heart. Health professionals suggest a Mediterranean diet supplemented by olive oil, fruit, vegetables, and nuts, especially walnuts, can be smart for your cardiovascular system. Serve this savory spread with fresh veggies, whole wheat crackers, or pita bread. The amount of oil you will need to puree the mixture to a spreadable consistency will depend upon how much oil is in the olives and the tomatoes.

1 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

3/4 cup jarred sun-dried tomatoes, in oil, coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons tomato oil from jar

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1/4 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Coarsely chop olives and place in a blender or food processor with walnuts, tomato, tomato oil, and fresh thyme. Blend or process until mixture is well mixed. Slowly add olive oil, pureeing or processing until mixture reaches desired consistency for spreading.

Makes about 3 cups — 2 tablespoons/serving, 24 servings

Pesto Cheese Dip with Sun-Dried Tomatoes Walnut, Black Olive, and Sun-Dried Tomato Spread
Total Fat12g8g
Saturated Fat5g1g
Total Carbohydrate3g2g
Dietary Fiber0g<1g

*Source for original: Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary edition, copyright 2006

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