Super Foods for Super Bowl -Dips with Benefits

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

In my home, the food served during the Super Bowl LIV will be just as important as the game.

My husband, who has a thing all things crunchy and chip-like, insists on what he calls “game food,” which he defines as a variety of finger foods, dips, and dippers to nibble on until halftime, when we serve something more substantial. 

Dietitian dilemma? Hardly. “Game foods” can be good-for-you too. I propose two party-tested dips to start your party:

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

Who doesn’t like warm, oozing cheese as in this Warm Herbed Cheese Dip? It’s packed with satisfying protein and calcium. Serve it with some fiber-rich veggies and some whole grain crackers to supply you with a smattering of vitamins, minerals and something most Americans don’t get enough of, dietary fiber. Make the dip ahead and then heat it when you’re ready to serve.

Take a break from ubiquitous hummus and make this Lemony Cannellini Dip. Italian Cannellini beans are especially creamy, and they whirl into a smooth dip packed with iron, fiber and protein.  One reason many weight management plans are built around plenty of protein and dietary fiber (vegetables, whole grains, beans and fruit) is that they help us feel satisfied longer, helpful when trimming overall food intake.  

Other crunchy, munchies you can purchase are roasted bean snacks made from chickpeas, broad beans and edamame – all rich in fiber and protein (1).

Three Tips to Eat Well:

  1. Be aware of the health halo around some gluten-free, whole grain and veggie-based snacks.  Most chips have about the same calories (120 to 150 per ounce) as traditional potato and tortilla chips. Those made from veggies and whole grains may contain some nutrients and fiber not found in classic corn and potato chips, creating a “health halo” implying that they’re “healthy” and we don’t need to consider portion size.
  2. Be mindful of mindless eating. Eating when your attention is on the game can leave you less aware and less satisfied with you’ve consumed. And stress eating, soothingyourself by eating more than you wish when anxious about the team you favor is losing.
  3. Super Bowl games can go on for hours and so can the buffet. If you want to avoid continuous eating for three or four hours, fill your plate with your favorite choices, include a nice pile of crunchy veggies, and situate yourself away from the buffet to enjoy the event. (And remember to keep food safe by not leaving it at room temperature longer than 2 hours.)

Does everything on the table have to be “healthy?” No. But including a lot of good choices with some more indulgent favorites creates balance. And you’ll feel better come Monday morning.  What’s on your menu?

Warm Herb and Lemon Cheese Dip

Serves 10, about 2 ¾ cups.

2 large eggs

½ teaspoon Kosher salt

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or oregano, a few more leaves to sprinkle on top

2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, from one lemon

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 container (15- to 16-ounce) fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese

3 ounces (3/4 cup) shredded fresh mozzarella cheese

2 ounces (1/2 cup) shredded fresh Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Oil a 3 to 4-cup baking dish.

2. Place eggs and salt in a medium bowl, whisk to blend.  Whisk in thyme, chives, zest and crushed red pepper. With spoon or spatula, stir in ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan. Blend well. 

3. Spoon mixture into oiled dish. Bake until top is golden brown, and dip is hot (An instant-read thermometer placed in center measures 160°F), 25 to 35 minutes.

4. To serve, place warm dip on a heat-proof board or platter and surround with your favorite dippers – raw veggies and crackers.  If you have leftovers, warm gently and use as an omelet filling or spread on toasted flatbread or pita.

Nutrients Per Serving (based on 10 servings without dippers).

Calories:130; Total Fat 9 grams (12% DV); Saturated Fat 6 grams (30% DV); Trans Fat 0 grams; Cholesterol 70 mg (23% DV); Sodium 180 mg (8% DV); Total Carbohydrate 2 grams (1% DV) ; Dietary Fiber 0 grams (0% DV); Total Sugars 0 grams; Added Sugars 0 grams; Protein 9 grams; Vitamin D 0 mcg (0 % DV); Calcium 185 mg (15% DV); Iron 0 mg (0% DV) Potassium 66 mg (2% DV) 

Calculated with The Food Processor, ESHA Research, 11.4

Lemony Cannellini Dip

Makes 10 servings, about 12 ½ cups.

¼ cup olive oil

1 clove garlic, smashed

3 cups cooked cannellini or other white beans (drained well if canned)

1 generous teaspoon lemon zest

3 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ cup water, more or less as needed

¾ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, more to taste


Toasted pine nuts or black olive tapenade

Fresh chopped thyme leaves

1.Combine oil and garlic in a small bowl. Heat in microwave on high for 30 seconds or in a small pot on the stove, just until fragrant. Cool.

2. In a blender or food processor container combine oil with garlic, beans, zest, juice and 3 tablespoon water. Whirl until smooth, stopping to scrape side of container once or twice and adding more water as needed.  Taste and add more salt and pepper, to taste.

3. Spoon dip into a container, cover and chill for an hour for flavors to blend.

4. To serve, spoon into a bowl and sprinkle with nuts and herbs or swirl in a spoonful of tapenade.  Serve with your favorite dippers.

Nutrients Per Serving (based on 10 servings without topping or dippers). Calories:180; Total Fat 6 grams; Saturated Fat 1 grams; Trans Fat 0 grams; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 260 mg; Total Carbohydrate 25 grams; Dietary Fiber 3 grams;Total Sugars 0 grams; Added Sugars 0 grams; Protein 9 grams; Vitamin D 0 mcg; Calcium 96 mg (8% DV); Iron 4 mg (20% DV) Potassium 461mg (10% DV) 

Calculated with The Food Processor, ESHA Research, 11.4


  1. High Fiber Convenience Foods, by Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN. Today’s Dietitian. January 2020 p. 20-24.

© Lorelle Del Matto 2020

lorelle About lorelle

Crazy about cooking, eating and sharing good food – my work and leisure revolve around the kitchen. As a culinary dietitian my professional life encompasses nutrition counseling and education, recipe development, product development, food and nutrition writing, marketing communications, corporate test kitchen and consumer affairs management, food styling and work as a product spokesperson.

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