Super Bowl Lite

pilsbury-football-stadium-food-trayWhat started as a game between rival football leagues some 48 years ago, the Super Bowl has turned itself into national holiday celebrated by millions regardless of what two teams are playing. It’s not hard to believe when you consider that according to the Harris Poll over 35% of Americans consider Pro Football to be their favorite sport. The second is baseball which is only at 14%. Pro Football simply owns the attention of most Americans.

It’s no wonder that there are Super Bowl parties being held across the country by diehard or casual football fans. The Super Bowl is an opportunity for people to get together and socialize whether it’s with other football fans, family, friends or strangers. And, the number one thing we all have in common when we party? Food.

It is estimated by the Calorie Control Council that the average American can potentially consume over 2000 calories of just snack foods during the Super Bowl. These foods would be the typical party food of pizza, nachos, hot wings, beer, soda, potato chips, meatballs, veggie tray, cake, etc. You know, the same people advertising to you during the commercials.

Super Bowl Sunday can easily sidetrack any diet if one isn’t careful or mindful of what they are putting in front of their face. Sure you can do a pre-Super Bowl workout that justifies those calories, but when you take a long term view of your fitness, you know pigging out is not the best option. Especially if you have short term goals you are working on achieving.

So how can skip the calories, fat and binge eating without forgoing the socializing and party? You can simply not a lot of food there or choose partake of it, but what fun is that? I am a firm believer that food ought to enjoyed not tolerated or ignored. This isn’t a free pass to eating whatever you want, because there are great healthy dishes out there have are comparable or even better tasting other less-healthy dishes.

To help in your preparations for this weekend’s party, I decided to leave a few tips on how to make your Super Bowl Party food delicious and healthy. Some tips are mine and some are what I’ve found laying around the internet.

But, by all means, please leave your own suggestions or recipes in the comments. I’d love to read your tips and recipes as well.

Tips for a healthier Super Bowl party

  1. Drink water or Crystal Light – Forget about soda (diet or regular), alcohol or punch. You will save yourself MANY calories by forgoing calorie-laden soda, beer and alcohol. Even diet soda is a bad option because it will just make you thirstier thanks to it’s sodium content. Plus, you might as well be drinking poison by drinking any soda product (but that’s another post for another time). But, keep a bottle of water with you throughout the game constantly sipping from it. This will help with avoiding overeating.
  2. Replace Buffalo Chicken Wings with Chicken breast – You would need to eat 19 chicken breasts to get the same amount of fat as a dozen chicken wings. So instead of loading yourself up with all that fat, grill chicken breast and then tip them in a Buffalo chicken sauce for a better option.
  3. Swap out regular Ranch Dressing with low-calorie or fat-free dressing – This kind of goes unsaid, but is a good reminder. Ranch dressing has been making our veggies fattening since the dawn of age.
  4. Swap out potato and tortilla chips with vegetables – There isn’t any particular rule that says you have to eat vegetables with ranch dressing or chips with salsa or dip. Why don’t we just join the inevitable and most unlikely of couples and bring together vegetables with salsa or other dips?
  5. Eat on a regular schedule – Basically, don’t skip breakfast, lunch or any of your regular snack meals in preparation of eating during the game. Odds are if you do, you’ll eat way more if you didn’t simply eat regularly plus the party food.
  6. Use Super Bowl Sunday as a day to renew your New Years Resolutions – Remember those goals you made a month ago? Super Bowl Sunday is a perfect day to renew, retweak or rededicate yourself to your goals. It’s been a month since the turn of the calendar year, so how are your goals going? Be honest with yourself and take the time to make new goals if needed.
  7. Serve food on smaller plates – This kind of goes without being said. The smaller the plate the smaller amount of food consumed. Granted, you’ve also got to control how many trips you’re making to dish up as well. That’s where slowing down your eating and taking your time comes in handy.
  8. Serve food away from the TV – Don’t just plop yourself in front of the TV with a bowl of chips and guacamole, make yourself “earn” the food by having to get up and serve yourself in another location away from the TV. Not only will you be getting up during the game, but you’ll eat less by not having the food constantly in front of you.
  9. If you have leftovers, send them home with others – I try to do this on Thanksgiving. There is nothing worse than feeling stuck with eating mashed potatoes for five straight days because you can’t waste food. If you’ve got a lot of chips or other food left, send them home with other people. It’s better somewhere else than on your thighs, right?

Super Bowl Sunday is a day to enjoy with those family and friends you love. It’s like Christmas for sports fans. And, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy it either while on a diet or simply watching what you eat. It’s just a matter of planning and eating smart.

What are your plans for Super Bowl Sunday? Are you throwing a party or attending one? Could you care less about the game? Being the football junkie that I am it’s hard NOT to watch even though I can’t stand the Broncos or Seahawks. GO NINERS!

Regardless of who you are cheering for have a fun and healthy Super Bowl Sunday this weekend!

 

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