Who says Super Bowl parties are just for big kids? Quit fumbling and get the little ones involved this year.
But if ants on a log and carrot sticks haven’t scored at your house lately, a do-it-yourself open-face "sandwich" buffet might be your ticket to the hall of fame.
Its sweet and savory healthful options will tackle any appetite without unnecessary roughness, er, empty calories. The real touchdown? How easy it is for host and guest alike. Best of all, the good-natured competition in the creativity department earns the extra point.
Start with a Game Plan: Pick a spot with a heat-proof counter top near an electric outlet (if you choose to provide a toaster oven to melt cheese) that is the right height for big and little kids. Dress it up with colorful tablecloths, heat pads or kitchen towels, paper plates, napkins and utensils.
Pretoast the sandwich bases and place them in a serving basket. If you want to offer a warm option or to melt cheeses, provide a toaster oven and make sure little hands get adult supervision.
Next comes the fun part—the Plays. Spread the "sandwich" base of choice with low fat, low-salt peanut butter or low fat whipped cream cheese and get creative with the toppings.
The Hula and King are just two sweet options. Tuna or chicken salad will appeal to savory appetites. And the Italiano and Mexicano popped in a toaster oven for a few minutes will result in a Super melt.
Serve with bottled water or unsweetened 100 percent fruit juice and you’ve got the win.
Another option is to premake the sandwiches and cut them into bite-size pieces for an attractive hors d’oeuvres spread.
Anyway you slice it, these colorful, nutritious snacks have a life after the Super Bowl game and even can gain some yardage in a school lunch box.
What you need
• Small bowls to hold toppings
• Spreaders, serving spoons and forks
• Basket to hold "sandwich" bases
Whole-grain bagels, English muffins, waffles, low-salt rice cakes
Low fat, low-salt peanut butter, plain and flavored low fat whipped cream cheeses
Dried fruits: Raisins, cranberries, cherries, blueberries, apricots, dates, banana chips
Canned fruits: Drained crushed pineapple or pineapple tidbits, sliced peaches, mandarin oranges
Fresh fruits: Sliced red, green and yellow apples, strawberries, bananas, blueberries, raspberries, grapes
Nuts: Sunflower seeds, almonds, soy nuts
Veggies: Sliced Roma tomatoes, green onions, pickles, olives, carrot shreds
Cheeses: Low fat cheddar, mozzarella, American
Salads: Tuna, salmon, chicken or turkey made with low fat ranch dressing and green grapes, egg made with low fat mayo
Meats: Diced breast of chicken or turkey
Sauces: Pizza, salsa, marinara, low fat sour cream
PB&A: Peanut butter, sliced apples and other toppings of choice
Hula: Cream cheese, crushed pineapple or tidbits, coconut, mandarin oranges
King: Elvis would love this peanut butter and banana chip version
Italiano: Marinara or pizza sauce, sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, black olives
Mexicano: Salsa, sliced tomatoes, sour cream, cheddar, green onions
Clucker: Chicken salad made with low fat ranch dressing and green grapes, topped with cheese and veggies of choice
Cackleberry: Egg salad made with low fat mayo and toppings of choice
Sorry Charlie: Tuna salad made with low fat ranch dressing and green grapes with cheddar cheese and other toppings of choice
Just one more
Del Monte, StarKist, the YMCA of the USA and the Food Network’s Ellie Krieger are challenging American families to start living healthier, more energized lives with the Just One More Healthy Living program.
Created in 2006, the campaign encourages families to add just one more daily serving of fruits and vegetables, just one more serving of lean protein and just one more physical activity each day for a lifetime of good health.
While you’re at the site, consider having your family take the Just One More pledge and compare notes with other families who have already made the commitment.
Barbara Rolek is a freelance writer and the chef-owner of Babette’s Feast in Crown Point, Ind.