FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. - Thanksgiving is just a memory, but in Fairfield County and around the country, Super Bowl Sunday ranks second only to that day for food consumption -- and over-consumption.
Game day parties are notorious -- and popular -- for "bad" food, from fried chicken wings to high-fat dips, but profusions of caloric game day food notwithstanding, a Super Bowl gathering doesn’t mean you have to eat super unhealthy food.
Katina Loomis, a spokesperson for Stew Leonard’s in Danbury and Norwalk, said in general customers are making lighter choices, even on a traditionally calorie-heavy day.
“Shoppers are definitely more conscious about what food they’re eating, starting with looking for nutritional information on labels. We are definitely responding to that demand with healthier options.” Those, she said, include foods with less sodium and sugar.
Michael Luboff, the director of culinary operations for “Stew’s” -- where last year more than 40,000 pounds of chicken wings and 10,000 pounds of barbecued ribs were sold ahead of Super Bowl Sunday -- suggested some healthy alternatives to traditional party fare.
“Grilled or roasted Mediterranean vegetables are gaining popularity,” he said, illustrating a lower fat option than the more than 60,000 pigs-in-a-blanket sold by Stew’s before last year’s game day.
And, he said, substituting hummus for high-fat and high-calorie sour cream-laden onion dip is another effective -- and painless -- way of feeding a hungry room of fans. Couple that dip with pita in place of potato chips and you’ve got a lower fat snack, he said.
Healthier options, said Luboff, are simple to prepare as well.
“The provolone salad on crostini is easy: throw together aged provolone diced with roasted peppers, carrots, red onions, parsley, basil, olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, white vinegar and a touch of brown sugar on pieces of fresh, crusty bread," he said.
But there are always those fans for whom high-fat gastronomic Super Bowl tradition will be just that.
“I’m always on a diet,” said football fan AJ Simms of Stamford. “But not on Super Bowl Sunday. Never on Super Bowl Sunday.”