Football and Futbol
"Goooaaalll!"– Andres Cantor
Gathering with friends around a TV every weekend in the fall usually means that some particularly unhealthy and unimaginative food is being mindlessly noshed as everyone watches a football or futbol game. A little creativity and planning can take the food from fatty nutrition free things like chips and dip that are so easy to eat without thought, to a menu that is eagerly anticipated and savored. Make your game food not only more nutritious and lower in calories, but one that has guests salivating in anticipating of the food for each game. How? A more creative menu.
Starting with the team you root for, choose a recipe based on a dish traditional to that city or country. Then, if you are making an entire meal, choose a side dish and select beverages based upon food typical of the cities for the opposing team. This approach works very well for nosh in front of the TV food as well as a full blown half-time meal. I do this every year for the Super Bowl. It has become a tradition so entrenched in the hearts and stomachs of friends that as we near the big game I am flooded with hopeful phone calls and emails asking if I will be cooking the Food of the Cities again.
I usually root for the New England Patriots to win. Not because I live there or because I follow the team. I root for them because I LOVE to make New England Corn Chowder. It accompanies most sandwiches or any city's dish very well, is simple to make, low in calorie, nutritious, and gets rave reviews every time. We very much enjoyed a marvelous football meal that featured a beautiful Shrimp Etouffee when the New Orleans Saints once made the big game. It was so delicious, I am pulling for them to win again.
Finding a food to represent a city takes a bit of research and creativity - especially if they are to be the side or snack dish, but the search can be fun and very interesting. A great place to begin is the websites maintained by the cities of each team. There is invariably a section about the local food specialties. If not, check to see what sort of festivals are common in the city – that will give you a great idea as to what sort of food is commonly served in the area. Then you just need to find a suitable recipe – one that you can plug into the Calorie Count Analysis to find out if it needs tweaking so that it fits the way you love to eat. If you are a vegetarian and a city's food is meat based such as a traditional Texan chili, all you have to do is make a knock their socks off multi-bean chili. If you are here to lose weight, you might pay attention to vegetables or fruit grown in the area and focus on fun new ways to prepare them. If you are here to gain weight, you might want to root for a team from Wisconsin so you can add plenty of Wisconsin cheese!
There’s no need for you to wait for the Super Bowl. This is a fun idea for any weekend game. Here are a few ideas and teams to get you started.
New Orleans Saints – are cheered on by a fantastic Crawfish Etouffee created by my good friend Aline.
New England Patriots – are supported by my take on New England Corn Chowder, a low calorie tasty addition to just about any traditional dish of the opposing team.
Houston Texans – ok, they will not likely be in any Super Bowl soon, but, if they did one can still take a typical Texas style Chili, make it healthier, and fill it with Texan flavor using my recipe for Texas White Chili.
AS Roma - what would be more Roman than watching a game of rugby while enjoying a pizza prepared in the Roman Style!
Chicago Bears – A Chicago style hot dog is loaded with veggies - a Chicagoan will ask for it "dragged through the garden". As many prefer a soy hot dog instead of a beef frank or a polish sausage, I used a soy dog for the nutrition facts in the directions for a great Chicago style Soy Dog.
The Swedish National Football Team - try my Americanized version of Swedish Meatballs with a serving of egg noodles! If you are here trying to gain weight, fill your plate with this wonderful meal. If you are here to lose, keep the serving of noodles light and make sure that 2/3 of the plate is filled with veggies representative of the other cities or countries!
Mexico National Soccer Team - Fish is a great choice to represent any Gulf Coast team. Try Crazypotato98's terrific oven fried tilapia!
You can still eat in a healthy delicious way at a football or futbol party if you know the nutrition facts. Not sure what to make? Join us at the CC Palate for the Football Futbol Challenge! If we get enough people offering ideas, we can use the page as a one stop guide for any game day. Ditch the chips, stay within your calorie range, and enjoy the party!
When you host a football party, what snacks or meals do you usually like to serve? Do you watch football or futbol? What teams do you root for? Will you give the Food of the Cities idea a try? How will you take your city's favorite food and make it lower calorie, healthier for everyone, and still make it the star of the game?