Lighten up your Super Bowl party
Each week a nutritionist from the University of Maryland Medical Center provides a guest post to The Baltimore Sun's health blog Picture of Health (, which is reprinted here. This week, Faith Hicks weighs in on Super Bowl food.

Imagine a typical Super Bowl party spread: fried chicken wings, meatballs, sour cream and cream cheese dips. This translates into a feast of meat and lots of fat, particularly saturated fat. It will probably be your dinner on gameday, but hardly a "Strive for Five" or "My Plate" meal.

I'm a nutritionist married to a former high-end caterer, and one of my hobbies is throwing parties. I enjoy developing more healthful recipes and menus that guests will be comfortable indulging in without the problems that accompany overindulgence.

Offering a vegetable tray is a good way of making your game day spread well-rounded. Dips can be made with low-fat cream cheese or low-fat or fat-free sour cream. A fruit tray with a yogurt dip is also festive, colorful and healthy. Here are a few recipes for homemade appetizers that are so good your guests won't notice healthy food sneaking on their plates.

Spinach-artichoke dip

16 ounces light cream cheese, softened

1 cup grated parmesan

1 tbsp. rosemary

1 tbsp. thyme

2 large cloves garlic, crushed

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well

1 can artichokes, drained and chopped into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces

In a medium or large bowl with a mixer, blend cream cheese, parmesan, rosemary, thyme, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Add a tablespoon or two of milk if needed to make mixture spreadable.

Stir in spinach and artichokes. Spray an oven-proof dish with cooking spray. Spread dip into bowl. Bake at 350 degrees until heated through and top is slightly browned. Serve with toasted pita triangles or toasted baguette slices.

Coconut baked shrimp with sweet chili sauce

(adapted from