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Sharp Health News

Healthier snacks for the Big Game (recipe)

Jan. 30, 2020

Healthier snacks for the Big Game (recipe)

The Big Game is almost here, bringing visions of nachos, chicken wings, pizza and chips. But what if you changed things up this year and served something healthier?

We asked Dr. Sabrina Falquier, an internal medicine doctor with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group and a culinary medicine specialist, to share two of her go-to snack recipes.

Popcorn: 3 Ways

“The tradition of sharing popcorn in front of a screen has been around since the advent of movies,” says Dr. Falquier. “Our family took this tradition to another level while watching events as a family at home. The idea of a popcorn medley came from our family friend, Suzy. It is the perfect way to add flavors and combinations that you enjoy.”

She adds, “My daughter invented the Mexican chocolate flavor — it’s such a perfect sweet and salty combination. The spicy popcorn version is addictive, and the herbed choice has a wonderful fresh cheesy combination. All three are irresistible, fast and easy!”

Tip: Avoid salted, buttered or flavored popcorn for the most healthful snack.
Yields: 1 large bowl per flavor

1/2 cup dried popcorn kernels (for stovetop or air-popped) or 1 microwave bag popcorn, per flavor

Spicy Popcorn
1 1/2 teaspoons chili sauce
1 teaspoon lime chili powder

Mexican Chocolate Popcorn
2-3 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons finely grated Mexican chocolate

Cheesy Popcorn
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1-2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs of your choice, such as parsley, thyme, oregano, chives, basil, tarragon or chervil (or 1-1 1/2 teaspoons for dried herbs)
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2-3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil OR unsalted butter, melted

Make and separate popcorn into 1 bowl per flavor. While popcorn is still warm, sprinkle with selected flavors and toss to thoroughly coat before serving.

Cheesy Zucchini Sticks

“When I was a kid, I loved fried mozzarella sticks,” says Dr. Falquier. “That’s why I love this recipe. It is the same cheesy dipping goodness, yet it is really plant-forward and full of fresh herb flavor.”

Tip: Because the Parmesan cheese has its own salty flavor, no additional salt is needed.
Yields: 4 servings

4 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into 4 long wedges
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs of your choice, such as thyme, oregano, chives, parsley, basil, tarragon or chervil (or 2-3 teaspoons for dried herbs)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2-3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup ready-made marinara sauce

Heat oven to 350° F. In a medium bowl, combine cheese, herbs, garlic powder and pepper.

Place zucchini sticks evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and toss with your hands. If not quite coated, add 1 or 2 more teaspoons of oil; you need it only to get “sticky.”

Sprinkle zucchini with cheese and herb mixture. Bake 15 minutes on top rack of oven.

While zucchini is baking, in a small saucepan on low, heat marinara sauce.

When zucchini is done baking, switch oven to broil setting. Broil zucchini for 2 minutes or until golden. Serve with warm marinara for dipping.

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