1) Know it’s a special occasion day. It’s the Superbowl, [hopefully] a time for celebration with your friends! Food is of course going to be part of the event, and the traditional foods are going to be a little more indulgent than usual. Accept that, don’t stress over it. Just plan your week around it. If you have a get together to attend, try cooking something tasty and light at home on Friday and Saturday night and limit your booze consumption to one glass/beer/spirit per day.
2) Speaking of booze, make a (somewhat flexible, you can always decide to drink less of course) decision ahead of time about how many drinks you will be comfortable having on Sunday. If you’re trying to pace yourself (because let’s face it, it’s going to be Monday all too soon!), always have a tall glass of water in your hand. Aim to have at least two sips of water between each sip of alcohol. When you start to get low, and someone offers you another drink, tell them “I’m still working on the beer, but I’d love a little more water!”
3) Sit yourself as far away from the munchies. You’re here to watch the game, don’t forget, and even if the food tastes delicious (come on, when does deep fried ______ not taste good?), you may just be reaching for it in a mindless trance or because you notice that your buddy is going for it. The best solution to that is to simply sit (or better yet, stand) far enough away from the food that it’s no longer within arms reach. If you’re hungry (and you may legitimately be), you’re body will direct your attention away from that awesome pass in the screen towards the chip bowl, and you can move in for the kill.
4) When it is time to eat, survey your offerings. Not necessarily for the lowest calorie or the highest fibre, but for what will satisfy you the most. Let’s take me as a case study, for example. I’m at a Superbowl party and I see a platter of chips and store bough cheese dip, cut up celery and carrot sticks, frozen/reheated wings, delivery veggie pizza and my friend’s home made empanadas. I am going for the empanadas full force even though the veggies, guac and vegetarian pizza are probably the “healthier” choices. I know that if I eat the pizza, but really want the empanada, I am just going to sit and stare at those empanadas until I crumble in a fit of anxiety as the platter gets sparse. Then I’ve eaten both foods when maybe I was only physically and emotionally hungry for one. Bottom line, go for the item(s) that are truly unique, crave worthy and unforgettable.
Want your dish to be that unique, crave worthy and unforgettable dish that everyone is shunning the chip bowl for? Than this is the recipe for you. I developed this fun finger food at one of my own special occasion dinner soirees (aka. Christmukkah, the mother of all eating holidays in my books). It was actually inspired by a sandwich I had at the Friday Night Live at the ROM event made by my friend, Matt of Fidel Gastro. FG paired braised beef brisket with baked beans into a sandwich that was so delicious, I knew I had an idea to play with the moment I sunk my teeth in. Well, I saw the pork on sale and figured it was more economical than brisket so I went with that instead, but this could easily be done with any pulled meat (chicken, beef, veal) or even left vegetarian (just beans) if that’s more your style.
This is what I did:
Maple Bacon Pulled Pork Baked Bean Bites
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian, an avid food writer and blogger, a cookbook author and the founder of Abbey’s Kitchen Inc.