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Smart Game Day Snacks

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Cocoa-Almond Popcorn

(Family Features) - Even armchair quarterbacks can fuel themselves like the pros. Mitzi Dulan, co-author of "The All-Pro Diet" (with Atlanta Falcon's Tony Gonzalez), recommends keeping a bowl of almonds close by to provide sports fans with power throughout the game - whether on the sidelines or the field. A good source of energy, almonds can help keep fans going from kick-off to the final countdown, and they're a great way to snack guilt-free without sacrificing flavor.

"Almonds are ideal for snacking because just one ounce - roughly one handful - is a tasty treat that helps crush cravings and provides hours of sustained energy that athletes and fans need," says Dulan.

Game day snacks don't have to be loaded with grease and calories to be tasty and satisfying, Dulan says. Instead, whip up a batch of smart snacks before kickoff that cover the flavor bases: Dulan's Chocolate Almond Popcorn and Spicy End Zone Party Mix provide a sweet snack in one hand and a spicy, savory crunch in the other. Together they tackle any craving that comes along.

For fans of something a little heartier, try a grown-up version of a kids' favorite: Mahi Mahi fish sticks with a crunchy almond coating provides a more substantial snack for a more sophisticated crowd. They're fun, easy to put together and will combat any craving straight through to the post-game wrap-up.

Or keep it simple. A bowl of roasted almonds will meet the crunch craving football fans have on game day. Keeping a few favorite snacks while subbing out others for something healthier will keep everyone sated without feeling deprived.

Having worked with numerous NFL players like Tony Gonzalez, Dulan is no stranger to coaching athletes to keep their hunger in check and energy up.

"I tell my professional football clients that smart snacking is the key to maintaining optimal energy levels," she says. "It's easy to keep a bag of almonds and dried cherries in your gym bag for a quick pick-me-up, or to make your own power energy bars by mixing together almonds, almond butter, dried fruit, flaxseed and honey.  They're great to have on hand after a workout or anytime you need an energy boost."

Visit AlmondBoard.com for Dulan's fun, football-ready snack recipes for athletes of any kind, as well as the Pro Snacker page for snacking tips and more.

Cocoa-Almond Popcorn

Ingredients
  • 6 cups air-popped popcorn
  • 2 cups whole almonds
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Preparation
    1. Combine the popcorn and almonds in a large bowl.
    2. In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine butter, honey, cocoa, vanilla and sea salt. Boil 3 to 4 minutes; drizzle mixture over popcorn and almond mixture, stirring constantly until well-coated. Cool and serve.

Calories: 210.7g     Total Fat: 13.6g
Cholesterol: 2.54mg     Protein: 5.97g
Carbohydrates: 20.3g     Sodium:

Serves
Yield 12 servings

SOURCE: Almond Board of California



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