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Will Your Super Bowl Party be a “Fail Mary” for Your Diet?

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Will Your Super Bowl Party be a Fail Mary for Your Diet?

All the food and beverages served at Super Bowl parties, along with our low serotonin levels caused by the disappointing season of our favorite team, can make it a challenging day for those of us who made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight.

Trailing only Thanksgiving, Super Bowl Sunday is the second biggest day for food consumption in America, and the eighth biggest beer-drinking day. According to the National Restaurant Association, more than one-quarter of all Americans who watch the game will be picking up takeout food or having it delivered; another 12% will be going to a restaurant to watch the game.  Many more will be turning their house into a snack food factory that produces king-sized platters of chicken wings, pizzas, burgers, and more. To put it in perspective, in 2012, the Wall Street Journal estimated that Americans consumed over 1.25 billion chicken wings, 43.2 million lbs of tortilla chips, 71.4 million lbs of avocados, 111 million gallons of beer, and ordered 4.4 million pizzas from Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, and Domino’s on Super Bowl Sunday alone–that’s a lot of food!

When loaded with dressings and sauces, one chicken wing can contain well over 200 calories.  An average slice of pizza usually runs from 200-400 calories, depending on the slice size and the toppings. In a regular day, the average American will eat about 2000 calories worth of food, but during the Super Bowl, the average American eats that amount of calories in about three hours–mainly on snack food!

Most experts agree that a healthy person who gives into the seduction of beer, pizza, wings, and chips on Super Bowl Sunday will barely have any effect on their personal health-status.  But for the people who are insistent on trimming their waistlines and committed to their New Year’s resolutions, it can definitely be a “Fail Mary,” especially if you’re going to a Super Bowl party where you can be tempted to over-indulge. So, we’ve decided to help with some healthy tips and healthy (or healthier) Super Bowl snacks for the big game,  so you’re waistline doesn’t score any extra inches on game-day.

Tips Before and During the Game

  • Eat a healthy breakfast and lunch– Research has shown that when people skip breakfast, they tend to eat much more food during the next meal, and munch on high-calorie foods throughout the day to repel hunger.  Eating a healthy lunch and breakfast before game time could definitely help you limit your caloric intake during the big game.
  • Exercise before and/or during the game– The game doesn’t start until 6 pm ET, so that leaves you plenty of time to get in a good exercise. If you miss your exercise before game time, try exercising during halftime (the halftime shows are never too exciting; and besides, it’s Beyonce’). During halftime, take a walk or try throwing a football around.
  • Manage your alcohol consumption– Abstaining from alcohol during game-day may be “unthinkable” for many die-hard fans, but if you can limit or manage your alcohol consumption, it will definitely help you limit your calorie intake and manage your eating habits. Try alternating alcoholic beverages with glasses of water–it’ll keep you hydrated and make you feel fuller. If you’re watching your calories, drink light beer or wine.
  • Use Smaller plates and watch what you put on it– Smaller plates = smaller proportions. If you grab larger plates, you’ll probably have a tendency to fill it up. When reaching for snacks, look for fruits, vegetables, pretzels, and/or chips instead of the other greasy, high-calorie foods and dips.

If You’re Hosting the Game…

Naturally, if you’re hosting the game and you’re on a diet, you probably should make a conscious effort to serve healthier food! There are several ways to keep Super Bowl food healthy when you’re a host, mostly by making certain food substitutes and how you prepare the food:

  • First off, prepare the food in your kitchen—Don’t order out!
  • For burgers, use turkey instead of beef and use multi-grain bread or buns. If you’re serving fries, try sweet potato fries!
  • Instead of chicken wings, try getting lean chicken strips. Instead of pan or deep frying them, grill them or bake em! If you’re baking the chicken, try breading it with a healthier alternative like cornmeal.
  • If your guests demand pizza, try using wheat crust and use healthier toppings – like vegetables!
  • When you’re placing out snacks, put the food in smaller bowls. When food is in smaller bowls, people tend to take smaller handfuls; which means smaller portions and less eating.
  • Load the appetizers with fruits and vegetables! Despite the astounding numbers of all the junk food, vegetables are the number one served food at Super Bowl parties; however, most people combat the healthy option with hi-cal dips–many dips and dressings contain far more calories than you think. Load up with healthier dipping options, like fat-free dips, hummus, guacamole, etc.
  • If you’re having desserts or sweets, try serving angel food cake! A slice of angel food cake usually contains only around 70 calories and 0.2 games of fat. Top it off with some low-fat frozen yogurt for a healthy alternative.

Looking for some more ideas? Visit our Gameday Delights Pinterest Page for some more healthy options!

On a Side Note…

Walgreens and other pharmacies are predicting a 20% increase in antacid sales throughout the weekend of the Super Bowl. Did you know that most people taking antacids because of heartburn or indigestion are actually misdiagnosing themselves? In fact, ninety percent of people with heartburn or acid reflux symptoms actually don’t have enough acid in their stomach–and shouldn’t be taking antacids! Instead, try some natural digestive enzymes:

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2 Responses to Will Your Super Bowl Party be a “Fail Mary” for Your Diet?

  1. Richard Seymour January 23, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    Thanks for posting this article, Calvin! As a GERD-y (as I like to call it) for the past 5 years the Super Bowl is one event I love and hate at the same time haha Your artcle definitely gave me some good tips on how to control my reflux and for that I thank you. I’m not sure how much you write about GERD but I want to share with you a website that I often use and actually just wrote a very similar article to yours. Check it out at http://www.refluxmd.com/learn/resources/2013-01-23/1199/intercept-heartburn-super-bowl-sunday

    What are your thoughts on their suggestions? Thanks!

    • Calvin Krusick January 23, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

      Thanks for pointing that out Richard! I think the article has some good points–not only to combat and manage GERD, but also from an overall health perspective: limiting your portions, eating healthier, alcohol consumption, etc.– Very useful information. I also like the football idioms haha–very clever. Definitely check us out if you’re looking for some support. Natural Healthy Concepts has a great selection of some healthier alternatives for antacids

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