Although our beloved Atlanta Falcons fell short of nabbing a spot in this year's Super Bowl, you can still have a good game day. Whether you're hosting a party at your place or going to a sports bar, you have to keep your eye on the prize - your waistline. Game day eating can mean more than 2,000 unwanted calories and undergoing all your hard work form those New Year's resolutions in one sitting. Now this doesn't mean you have to ditch your favorite Super Bowl eats and drinks - just "healthify" them.
For hosting parties at home, your playbook should include a few healthy options. Here are some game day strategies that will keep the party going and the calories in check (P.S. If you're going out to watch the game, there's a tip or two for you too.)
- Eat Before You Play: The best way to avoid overeating at a party or sports bar is to have a healthy snack or mini-meal before you leave home. This way, you can avoid overdoing it and don't feel limited to what's being served.
- Start with Healthy Pre-Game Munchies: If you are planning to have a spread of game day goodies, make a few of them healthy. Kickoff the party with some healthy finger foods like baked chips or pretzels, raw veggies with hummus dip or salsa.
- Make Your Own Sammies: Give your guests the option to make their own sandwiches. Throw skewers of healthier meats such as filet tips or grilled chicken on the grill (weather permitting). To dress up the sandwiches, offer a veggie spread, lettuce, tomato, and low-fat cheese options.
- Serve Up Bottomless Drinks: Another way to help your guests save on calories is to choose low- and no-calorie beverages you can guzzle, guilt free. Toss your soda lovers a mini can of Coke or Diet Coke. Or if you're serving up beer, try the lighter versions or those in smaller bottles. With all the yelling and game day excitement, hydration is very important.
- Don't Forget the Game-Winning Desserts: Wow your guests with portion-controlled desserts. Offer them a formation of strawberries or bananas dipped in dark chocolate. Or score a touchdown with mini-cupcakes iced in both team's colors.
- Don't Go to the Party Empty-Handed: One way to ensure there's something healthy for you to eat at the party, is to bring it yourself. Feel free to make your favorite healthy (and yummy) dish or a veggie tray.
- Yes, Cheering Counts as Exercise: Regardless if you like the teams playing or not, get up out of your seat and cheer (jump around, pump your arms, stretch your legs) - just move. Heck, you can even toss the football during half-time or challenge your guests to keep up with the half-time performance. This will all help you work off a few of those calories before the game is over.
Here's to a happy (and healthy) Super Bowl Sunday!
Kristen Smith is a registered dietitian in Atlanta, GA with over 8 years experience. Kristen has been quoted in several news articles and has been seen in TV appearances including Good Morning America. She is the founder and contributor to the blog 360FamilyNutrition. She is a consultant for food and beverage companies including the Coca-Cola Company.