Heart Healthy Super Bowl Snacks

— Jeannette Northern, guest blogger

It’s that time of year when football season reaches a fevered pitch —  Super Bowl is upon us! Whether you’re a San Francisco 49er fan or a Baltimore Raven loyal, I imagine many of you will be celebrating with friends, family and food this Sunday afternoon. It’s always a great opportunity to have a party and celebrate life in the name of football!

As you think about your favorite game-time treats, you might be surprised by a recent interview Dr. Oz conducted with the authors of The Great Cholesterol Myth. Being that Heart Health is the topic of the month for February, it only seems appropriate to bring this up now, just in time for the big game.

It seems that our concerns about the ill effects of dietary cholesterol may be mostly unwarranted and even untrue. Saturated fats don’t cause heart attacks, and dietary cholesterol is not to blame for the growing incidence of heart disease in this country, according to doctors Stephen Sinatra and Jonny Bowden. In fact, cholesterol is important to the health of every cell in the body, and excess sugars and transfats in our diets are actually the problem, causing inflammation — the real concern when it comes to cardiovascular health.

Homemade snacks that include healthy fat, protein and fiber-rich carbohydrates are actually healthier and more likely to satisfy the hungry ghosts within us. So, rather than potato chips and onion dip from the convenience store shelves, here are some simple-to-make heart healthy favorites to include at your Super Bowl Party this year:

superbowl dips 011

Creamy White Bean Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), drained
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Directions:

  1. Puree first 5 ingredients in processor until almost smooth
  2. Season with salt and pepper
  3. Mix mint, dill, and lemon peel in small dish and sprinkle over dip
  4. Cover and refrigerate

This dip makes about 2 cups. Serve with pita bread or pita chips.

Avocado Dip

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped(optional)
  • pinch of sea salt

Directions:

  1. Peel avocados and sprinkle with lemon juice
  2. Mash avocados with a fork until a lumpy mixture has formed
  3. Stir in cilantro
  4. Pinch of sea salt

This recipe makes 1 1/2 cups. If you are having a large group just double or triple the recipe. Serve with veggie sticks, like carrots and celery, or baked tortilla chips. You can also pair it with some freshly made salsa

Herbed Cheese Spread

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (8oz) organic cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons expeller-expressed flax oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, finely minced

Directions:

  1. Put cream cheese and flax oil in a food processor and mix
  2. Add in fresh herbs
  3. Place in a serving bowl
  4. Cover and chill well

Serve with thinly sliced sourdough bread or whole grain crackers. You can also add in garlic and cracked pepper for a spicier experience. Flax oil is full of omega-3 essential fatty acids and is one of those “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects.

Three heart-healthy, tasty dips for your Super Bowl party fun and enjoyment!!! May the best team win!

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