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Super bowls: small appliance snacks for the big game

Buffalo cauliflower bites
Buffalo cauliflower bites sub in for chicken wings and still carry the hot sauce bite so many of us crave. (Photo courtesy liveeatlearn.com)

Veggie, keto-friendly and other healthy options for Super Bowl Sunday

Rob Klovance
For bchydro.com

Your New Year's resolution around eating healthier food doesn't have to take a beating on Super Bowl Sunday. And eating stuff that's better for you doesn't mean that the yumminess is as elusive as Tyreek Hill on a jet sweep.

Here are a few snack ideas you can whip up with energy-saving small appliances, including air fryers, Instant Pots and toaster ovens – for Super Bowl Sunday on February 13. You'll keep your energy use down while staying true to the new, healthier you.

Did you know? Small appliances, like a toaster oven, can use up to 75% less energy than making the same recipe in your oven or on your stovetop.

Learn all about the tricks and energy-saving benefits of small-appliance cooking in our feature on small appliance cooking hacks.

Buffalo cauliflower bites

If you think football grub is all about wings... why not give cauliflower a shot? The oft-forgotten vegetable has discovered a new life in recent years, thanks in part to the keto diet craze, and it's sublime here as a delicious substitute for buffalo chicken wings.

The air fryer is the key here. With just a couple tablespoons of olive oil, you get crispy and spicy – courtesy of Frank's RedHot Buffalo Wings Sauce – in a healthier package. Make lots, as these wannabe wings will fly off the serving plate.

Get the recipe at liveeatlearn.com.

Smoked trout dip

Here's a no-cook, no-appliance wonder that's keto-friendly and a huge hit in my home. You can make this dip with smoked salmon, too, but it's at its best with smoked trout. I was lucky enough on a couple of fly-fishing trips to the B.C. interior this year to get us nicely stocked in smoked Kamloops trout, but if you look hard enough, you may find some available locally, such as Ted's Trout in Kamloops and Kelowna.

Ashlei's Smoked Trout Dip at allrecipes.com is a good recipe option as, besides the key ingredient of cream cheese, it includes sour cream and (as an option) horseradish.

Instant pot veggie chili
Instant pot vegetarian chili with all the fixins' is perfect for a hearty halftime reboot. (Photo courtesy wellplated.com)

Instant Pot vegetarian chili

Sweet potatoes, quinoa and chipotle chili powder are the wonder ingredients in wellplated.com's Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili, which takes 15 minutes to prep and 35 minutes to cook. Make it a super bowl by not skipping the toppings, including any mix of avocado, sour cream or yogurt, cilantro, shredded cheese and crushed tortilla chips.

Baked cheesy zucchini bites

I can't wait to try out this wildly popular zucchini bites recipe at melskitchencafe.com, as zucchini has become a staple in our home since my wife dived into the keto world. You could easily shift this recipe to the toaster oven or the air fryer – one fan of the recipe says the bites are perfect at 350°F for 15 minutes in the air fryer–to keep things energy efficient. Don't forget the basil.

Roasted nuts in the toaster oven

The key to roasting nuts in the close confines of a toaster oven is to lower the temperature to 325°F, say the experts at toasterovenlove.com. Their recipe is a basic option that’s done without adding any oil to raw nuts. If you want to spice things up (and you're not avoiding sugar), try the Sweet, Salty, Spicy Party Nuts recipe at allrecipes.com, but bake the nuts in a toaster oven.

And if you think the best way to eat nuts is with beer...

All hail B.C.'s abundance of low-alcohol, low-carb beer

There was a time not so long ago when light or near-beer was a joke, but a tilt to healthier food options has changed the landscape. B.C.'s craft brewers – who now produce about 30% of all beer sold in B.C. – have responded in a big way, with an assortment of light beers that deliver taste minus the wallop or the calories.

The big battleground is at 90 calories, where Stanley Park Brewing's Electro Lager and Red Racer's One Speed Lager are at 4% alcohol. Bridge Brewing's widely available PrimeTime keeps its calorie count down to 110 despite coming in at 5% alcohol – and it's offered as a regular lager, an IPA, and a tropical option.

Featherweight IPA comes from Delta's Four Winds brewing. It's not as low-cal as its rivals at 4.5% and 135 calories a can, but it's crisp and hoppy and now a post-hockey favourite of mine. Another fine option is from Victoria's Phillips Brewing, the Little Wonder Mix Pack that comes in at 92 calories and includes a lager, hazy IPA, white ale and pale ale.