By Kristin Neusel, MS RD LD CDCES
Watching The Big Game is a lot of fun, but it also comes with challenging meal decisions.
It can be hard to eat healthy on a normal day, but even more difficult during an event that usually involves a lot of tempting—but not-so-healthy—foods.
On average, people consume 2,400 calories during football games—more than a day’s worth for some people!
But it doesn't have to be all corndogs and hot wings. We're here with some tips and tricks on how to stay healthy when surrounded by fried foods, salty snacks, and roaring crowds...
Heading to a viewing party?
Planning ahead is key. Bring a side that you know is a healthy choice.
Once you arrive at the party, stick to veggie and fruit platters rather than loaded nachos and deep-fried chicken wings.
If you’re hosting the party, instead of pizza delivery, try a cauliflower-crust pizza topped with some ground flaxseed for added fiber (and Omega-3’s!). And instead of meat, top off the pizza with mozzarella and your favorite veggies.
If the crowd inside your living room starts to boo, you can always order a few different kinds of pizzas and snacks to make everyone happy.
Going to the game?
Are you one of the lucky few that has a ticket to the Big Game?
If so, you'll be happy to know that many stadiums now offer healthier menu items.
If you’re unsure about what’s available, many stadiums will allow you to bring soft-sided coolers into the stadium (check the guidelines beforehand, as each stadium has different rules). This way, you’re in control of what you eat.
Bring a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with some veggie sticks and a lowfat cheese stick.
Or prep some apple slices with peanut butter.
All of these foods will fill you up with healthy protein, making those empty food-court calorie items less appealing.
If you can't bring a cooler, look for the protein-packed options in the stadium: chicken and rice bowls, grilled chicken, and sausage. Most stadiums also sell peanuts and popcorn to snack on (just make sure it's not kettle corn).
Tailgating?These tips will help you enjoy yourself without missing out.
- BYOM (bring your own meat): Bring a veggie burger, chicken breast, or lean turkey burger with a whole grain bun. Bring some nuts for a side, and toss in some fresh fruit like raspberries, which are high in fiber.
- Get grilling: Grilling is a healthy way to prepare food because it allows fat to drip off. Plus, you can be in control of what you grill and how you grill it! Add your favorite seasonings and some low-sugar BBQ sauce with a whole grain bun to top it off.
So there you go: how to watch the Big Game without feeling Super Blah.
Go gut health!