Super Bowl XLIX kicks off on February 1, 2015 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ. So what better way to chow down in front of your TV than on a finger-food menu with a Southwestern theme?

And since we’re all about great tasting food that is also good for you, here’s our playbook on how you can tweak the health quotient of five classic Super Bowl party pleasers.

Freshened Up Salsa: Add finely chopped fresh tomato, sweet pepper and/or red onion to ready-made salsa. Or, for a fruity salsa, add finely diced mango or pineapple. Freshly chopped cilantro wakes up the flavor of any type of salsa.

Better Buffalo Chicken: Instead of greasy wings, serve toothpick-skewered chunks of skinless roasted chicken breast meat with sriracha sauce (or other hot sauce) with a yogurt-blue cheese dip (see recipe, next).

Yogurt-Blue Cheese Dip: For every cup of low-fat plain yogurt, stir in ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese dressing. For best flavor, make the dip at least one hour before serving. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Use as a dip for Better Buffalo Chicken or with crudités.

Guacamole-Green Bean Mash-Up: Mashed avocado dip can be seasoned with lemon or lime juice, garlic, a little salt, pepper, and cumin, chopped cilantro and/or a spoonful or two of tomato salsa. Avocado is a high-fat food, but it contains healthful fats that won’t raise your cholesterol. If you want to reduce the fat, you can mash avocados with pureed cooked green beans, pureed cooked frozen lima beans, low-fat plain yogurt and/or mashed or pureed soft silken tofu. Add a little of these extenders at a time. Taste before adding more so that you don’t completely dilute the flavor of the avocado.

Tiny Taco Salad Bowls: Since you eat the “bowl,” there’s no clean up after the game!

  • 4 large, ripe plum tomatoes, halved, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 scallions (green onions), finely chopped
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 can (15 to 19 ounces) black beans, drained, rinsed, and drained again
  • ¼ cup plain low-fat yogurt or reduced-fat sour cream
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 bag scoop-style (bowl-shaped) tortilla chips (multigrain or plain)
  • 2 to 3 dozen small inner leaves of Romaine lettuce and/or endive spears.


1. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, scallions, cucumber, black beans, yogurt, cilantro, salt and pepper. Toss gently just until well mixed. Refrigerate up to one hour.

2. Just before serving, arrange the chips and lettuce spears on trays. Fill each with a spoonful of the bean mixture and serve.

Serves 12.

Susan McQuillan is a registered dietitian and author of several books, including "Breaking the Bonds of Food Addiction," "Low-Calorie Dieting for Dummies" and Sesame Street’s "B is for Baking" and "C is for Cooking." She regularly writes for outlets such as and