Don’t think of eating at the Super Bowl as a win-lose situation. It is not all or nothing. Theirs is plenty of all, especially food. Super Bowl Sunday is second only to Thanksgiving in terms of the quantity of food consumed! Make some healthier choices and try to limit offensive choices. Try not to come away with a major loss, and you’ve finished ahead of the game.
Team America stats for Super Bowl Sunday:
• Americas will eat about 1.25 billion wings and 2 million pizzas.
• Americans will drink about 49 million cases of beer.
• Americans will eat about 30 million pounds of snack foods. Potato chips consumed will tally up to about 1.8 billion grams of fat or the weight of 13,000 300-pound NFL players.
• Americans will eat about 69 pounds of avocado (as guacamole.) Note, avocadoes are healthy in moderation; 69 pounds is not considered moderation.
[About 1.5 million Americans will call in sick to work on Monday. Most will call not because it was such a late night out, but because they either have a hangover or are so bloated and lethargic from the food they ate while watching the Super Bowl.]
The Super Bowl is about a four-hour game. Don’t make it a whole day event. Don’t say to yourself, “I will overindulge later so I might as well just eat whatever I want all day.” Make positive food choices for breakfast, snacks, and the rest of the day, and stay hydrated. I also recommend having a snack or small meal before going to a party if you think it will help you limit overindulging later. Showing up hungry to a Super Bowl party will likely result in grabbing up a plateful of food before implementing some of my tips below. And go to the gym, go for a walk, exercise to a streamed video or DVD to balance out all the food and couch time you’ll have later in the day.
Before you get started enjoying the feast of foods at the Super Bowl party, scout out all the options. Choose a couple of your favorite carbs and fatty foods and try to amend your portion to 1/2 or a 1/4 of what you would usually take. For example, that’s 1-2 wings instead of 4-8 wings and 10 chips with one spoonful of guacamole instead of 1/2 a bag of chips and a few scoops of guacamole.
Next, look for the healthy food options. Check to see if there are any fruits and vegetables. Are the dips or dressings creamy and fattening? Are there snack foods low in calories, like air popped popcorn? Hosting the party? If so, try including a couple for guests; most crowds appreciate some lighter options to help counter the carb-heavy, fatty, salty foods. If you are attending a party, offer to bring something and then bring some fruit, vegetables, or baked or grilled chicken kebabs.
Ten Yard Penalty
Beer and other alcoholic drinks can add loads of calories to your intake. Drinks containing alcohol also make one more like to indulge in high-calorie snacks later on. Try to alternate a caloric drink with water or seltzer. You cut your beverage intake by half, and you will not be as lethargic or bloated the next day. Soda also adds lots of calories, so I recommend doing the same, alternating with water as well.
You clearly want to stick around and watch the Super Bowl commercials. But that does not mean that you have to stay on the couch to do so. Just standing up or walking around a bit—preferably with a glass of water—will give you a bit of a stretch during the game. Just make sure not to refill your plate every time you get up to move around.
By Bess Berger, RD, CDN