Mitzi Dulan – America's Nutrition Expert
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5 Smart Snacks to Eat During the NFL Playoffs!
by Mitzi Dulan, RD, America’s Nutrition Expert®
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Many of you might already know how excited I am that my co-author, NFL Future Hall-of-Famer, Tony Gonzalez won his first NFL Playoff game last week after 16 years in the NFL! The thrilling game was an emotional one for me as me kids told me to stop screaming at the tv with all the roller coaster ride game. To see Tony overcome with emotion after the win made me cry, too. I know his incredible work ethic well. He never missed a call or meeting when we worked on our book. I’ve worked in pro sports for 15 years and trust me, that is unique. He always took extra practice catching passes which prepared him for the big catch he made to put them into field goal range to make it into the NFC Championship game this Sunday. I will be cheering for Tony and the Falcons!

Let’s now talk about how you can enjoy watching the NFL Playoffs without mindless munching? Try snacking like the pros. Although you’re not physically in the game, you can still fuel your body like NFL superstars. I tell my professional athlete clients that smart snacking is key to maintaining optimal energy levels.

Try these “5 SMART SNACKS” this Sunday while watching the NFL Football Divisional Championships:

1. HASS AVOCADOS: did you know that 158 million avocados will be eaten during Big Game gatherings this year but The Big Game is not the only event that brings out our passion for avocados. Last year Americans ate a whopping 1.5 billion pounds of avocados! Hass avocados provide nearly 20 vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and healthy fats. Football Snack Ideas: Here’s my delish guacamole recipe from the book I co-authored with NFL Future Hall-of-Famer, Tony Gonazlez, The All-Pro Diet.

All-Pro Diet Guacamole

Makes 8 Servings


3 Hass avocados

1 lemon, juiced

1 tomato, diced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp cumin

½ teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped


Cut avocados into halves. After removing seeds, scoop pulp out and place into small bowl; use fork to mash avocado.

Gently stir in lemon juice, tomato, garlic, cumin, sea salt, and cilantro. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour prior to serving.

Nutrition Information Per Serving, About: 116 calories, 2 g protein, 7 g carbohydrates, 10 g fat

Reprinted from: The All-Pro Diet ©2009 by Tony Gonzalez. Permission granted by Rodale, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098.

2. WHOLE-GRAIN PITA: skip the potato chips and Cheetos this Sunday and opt for whole-grain pita instead. You’ll taken in more fiber and feel full in less time! Football Snack Ideas: Make homemade pita chips. Just cut up the pita, sprinkle with olive oil, and bake in the oven until crispy. You’ll have delicious whole-grain pita chips without the tons of oil and salt used in store-bought products. Serve whole-grain pita or your homemade pita chips with hummus, black bean dip, guacamole, or salsa!

3. MINI CARROTS: when you’re looking to quickly satisfy a “munchie” during the game turn to your pal the baby carrot. This snack isn’t only for kids anymore. Sneak in a vegetable while you munch on this vitamin A filled snack. Serve fun baby carrots with hummus, black bean dip, or almond butter.

4. CLEMENTINES: football is not the only thing in season this time of year. Clementines are also. This is a great fruit to snack on during the game because it takes time to unravel, which equals less time of mindless munching! Set out a big bowl of clementines and it will be a fun snack to pass (or throw!) around to guests.

5. PISTACHIOS: satisfying, delicious,  nutritious, – these are one of the MVP snack foods! This is the perfect playoff snack since pistachios are known as the “Skinny Nut”. You get to eat 49 pistachios which provides 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber which will keep you satisfied throughout the games! Pistachios are one of the lowest calorie, lowest fat snack nuts per serving compared to any other snack  nut. Some preliminary reserach shows that pistachios may help slow consumption with the empty shells offering a visual cue which can reduce calorie intake. Football Snack Ideas: Very simple- a bowl with pistachios! Munching on these will be a hit with your guests!

Serve these snacks on game day and see how you’ve become a smarter snacker!

Disclosure: I’m a spokesperson for The Hass Avocado Board

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