Your ‘game plan’ for healthy snacking

by Lori Wuellner
On Feb. 1 thousands of people will gather in homes to watch the Super Bowl showdown. And of course the snacks, chili, wings, and other foods served will almost be as important as the teams who will take “center stage.”

But how do you “tackle” the hunger of the crowds and yet provide a few healthier options? Check out the following ideas.

Chili – Try making “white chili” with low-fat ground turkey breast or choose lean or extra lean ground beef.

Pizza – Load up pizza with fresh vegetables, use low-fat cheese and try a whole-grain thin crust. Use turkey pepperoni instead of regular, and add an extra kick with some crushed red pepper.

 Meatballs – Choose leaner cuts of meat, such as extra lean ground beef. Serve with fat-free barbecue sauce or a marinara sauce.

 Salsa and guacamole – Try using baked tortilla chips for dipping instead of regular chips. Compare sodium levels of your favorite brands. Avocados are high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. They also contain vitamin E, a disease-fighting antioxidant.

 Spinach and artichoke dip
– Use light or fat-free sour cream or mayonnaise when preparing these dips. Try using whole-grain bread for dipping.

 Wings or chicken nuggets – Try using a slow cooker or the oven in place of deep-fat frying to prepare wings. Make homemade baked chicken nuggets instead of wings.

Quesadillas – Try using low-fat cheese or less regular cheese. Use grilled chicken breasts and load the quesadillas with veggies. Serve them with chunky salsa.

The following recipes are healthy snack options that any sports fan would enjoy…give them a try.

Lori Wuellner is a Wyandotte County Extension agent, Family and Consumer Sciences, K-State Research and Extension, 1216 N. 79th St., Kansas City, Kan. Telephone 913-299-9300, email

Super Bean Dip
1 (15.5 oz.) can fat-free refried beans
1 (8- or 9-oz) container bean dip
1 (8-oz.) container low-fat sour cream
1 c. chopped tomatoes
½ c. chopped ripe olives
½ c. chopped green onion
2 c. grated low-fat sharp cheddar cheese
Salsa (optional)
Pita bread, raw vegetables or baked tortilla chips
Spread refried beans on a large plate. Combine dip and sour cream in a small bowl and spread over beans. Layer tomatoes, ripe olives, green onion and cheese over dip. Serve with wedges of pita bread, raw vegetables, tortilla chips and salsa.
Serves 20. Per Serving: 70 calories, 3 g fat, 5 g protein, 7 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber and 300 mg sodium. (Source: Northarvest Bean Growers)
(Source: North Dakota State University Extension Service, Publication #FN1406)

Fruit Dip
2 c. low-fat sour cream
1-oz., package sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
¼ c. fat-free milk
4 tsp. lemon juice
Whisk together all ingredients until well-blended. Serve with assorted fruit.
Serves eight. Per ¼ cup serving: 90 calories, 5 g fat, 7 g carbohydrate, 4 g protein, 0 g fiber and 190 mg sodium. (Source: Penn State Cooperative Extension)

T-Bones acquire infielder from Wichita

The Kansas City T-Bones announced they have acquired infielder Ryan Cavan from Wichita in exchange for utility player T.J. Mittelstaedt.

Cavan, 27, is a 5-foot-11 and 180-pound switch-hitting infielder from Belmont, Calif. He played in 92 games last season for Southern Illinois of the Frontier League, and batted .309 with 103 hits, 16 doubles, 44 RBIs and 14 stolen bases. The San Francisco Giants selected Cavan in the 16th round of the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft out of UC-Santa Barbara. He played five seasons in the Giants system, reaching double-A in 2012.

That season, while at double-A Richmond, Cavan was the 2012 Minor League Baseball Gold Glove Award recipient at second base. Cavan was selected as the best defensive second baseman among all affiliated minor-league teams that year after posting a .994 fielding percentage with only four errors in 684 chances. Although most of his time defensively has been at second, Cavan has played shortstop and third base during his career.

Wichita acquired Cavan, who is a career .277 hitter with 648 hits, 335 RBIs and 373 runs in six professional seasons, in a trade earlier this offseason.

“Ryan Cavan has an impressive resume, and all of my reports on him say that he plays the game hard and he plays the game right,” said T-Bones manager John Massarelli. “As far as T.J., he wanted to be closer to his family in Wichita, and we wish him the best.”

Mittelstaedt reached base in all 51 home games for Kansas City last season, and finished the season with a .268 batting average, 16 home runs and 52 RBIs.

The T-Bones open the 2015 regular season at home on May 22 against Lincoln.

– Story from T-Bones

UG Commission approves new video board for CommunityAmerica Ballpark

The Unified Government Commission approved plans for a new state-of-the-art video board at CommunityAmerica Ballpark for the 2015 season.

The UG Commission voted to approve the new scoreboard at the Thursday night, Jan. 22, UG Commission meeting, without discussing it. Discussion was held at the Jan. 5 UG Economic Development and Finance standing committee meeting.

According to UG agenda information, the video scoreboard is estimated to cost between $400,000 and $450,000. The UG had budgeted $250,000 for T-Bones’ stadium improvements this year, so the budget had to be increased about $250,000 on Thursday. The money will not come from taxpayers’ funds or from the UG general fund; it will come from a fund that already has been designated to pay for stadium upkeep, UG officials said at the Jan. 5 meeting.

The new scoreboard would be expected to last about 10 years, according to officials’ remarks during the Jan. 5 meeting. They will gain the opportunity to have more electronic advertising on the scoreboard with the change, officials said. During the public comment period Jan. 5, a candidate for UG office, Christal Watson, suggested offering naming rights to the scoreboard in order to help pay for it; however that suggestion was not added to the proposal.

The T-Bones on Friday sent out a news release about the new video board:

“For the last 12 years the T-Bones have showcased world-class baseball entertainment for residents and visitors to our city,” Mayor Mark Holland said in a news release from the T-Bones. “The new HD video board is another step in their continued offering of a great, family-friendly entertainment option in our community that all can enjoy. I can’t wait for opening day!”

The high-definition video board, which will be installed where the current scoreboard stands, will measure approximately 36 feet wide and 30 feet tall. It will be more than four times larger than the current video board.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with city staff, Mayor Holland’s administration and the Board of Commissioners,” said T-Bones president Adam Ehlert. “The cooperative effort reinforces our commitment that T-Bones Baseball is a cornerstone of affordable, family-oriented entertainment in the metropolitan area.”

Daktronics will design, manufacture and install the energy-efficient video board, which will replace the scoreboard that’s been used at CommunityAmerica Ballpark since the stadium opened in 2003.

“This will have a huge, positive impact on our fan experience at the ballpark,” said T-Bones vice president and general manager Chris Browne. “It’s not only a great enhancement to the gameday presentation, but it also provides our partners with an improved platform to get their message across. Our fans are going to love it.”

Construction will begin in February.

Architectural renderings of the new scoreboard will be available in the upcoming weeks.

The new video board is slated to be ready when the T-Bones open the 2015 regular season on May 22 against Lincoln.