Jennifer’s Journal: Substitutions for the big game

How are those New Year resolutions going?

With the “big game” almost here, don’t let the celebration put you on the sideline. Since research shows Americans consume more calories on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day of the year, cooking or putting together more healthful recipes is no reason to give up your favorite game day recipes.

All you need to do is learn new “team plays” to adapt them to a healthier lifestyle.

An easy three-step “play” includes:

— Look for those “problem” ingredients that make a recipe high in fat, cholesterol or sodium.

— Find low-fat or low-sodium substitutions to replace these ingredients. You can reduce the amount of the ingredient or substitute a similar ingredient that is healthier for you. Sometimes you can eliminate the unhealthy ingredient completely.

— Change your method of food preparation. For instance, instead of deep fat frying, try grilling.

And, don’t forget the fresh fruits and vegetables. These always score winning points!

For this year’s Super Bowl try our Game Day Sloppy Joes and Veggie Pizza, both have substitutions but you’ll never notice!

Game Day Sloppy Joes

— 1 lb ground chuck or ground turkey

— 3/4 cup chopped onion

— 1/2 cup chopped celery

— 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce

— 2 Tablespoons quick cooking oats

— 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

— 1/2 tsp chili powder

— 1/8 tsp black pepper

— Dash hot sauce

— 1 pkg. hamburger buns

Cook ground chuck, onion, and celery until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain off excess fat.

Stir in tomato sauce, oats, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, pepper and hot sauce.

Simmer, uncovered, on a low temperature for 30 minutes. Stir often.

Spoon about 1/3 cup meat mixture onto each bun.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 189 calories; 4 g total fat; 1 g saturated fat; 0 g trans fat; 25 mg cholesterol; 549 mg sodium; 25 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 12 g protein.

Another great winning recipe, veggie pizza. This recipe come from the University of Nebraska Extension. They substituted low-fat cream cheese for regular and used a low-fat plain yogurt instead of mayonnaise or sour cream.

Veggie Pizza

— 1/2 cup plain, low-fat yogurt

— 8 oz low-fat cream cheese

— 2 Tablespoons ranch dressing mix

— Whole grain crackers

— Chopped or grated vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.

Blend softened cream cheese with yogurt and dry dressing until smooth. Refrigerate.

Wash and prepare vegetables.

Spread cream cheese mixture on crackers. Top with vegetables.

For more “game day substitutions” or ways to adapt recipes for a healthier lifestyle, contact the Clark County Extension Office at 744-4682 or visit us on the web at

Jennifer Howard is the Clark County Extension agent for family and consumer sciences.