According to the Calorie Control Council (yes, it’s real!), a trade group representing the low-fat and sugar-free food and beverage industries, the average Super Bowl watcher will consume approximately 1200 calories and over 50 grams of fat in just snacks. This doesn’t include any pre- or post-game meals or alcoholic beverages! While the players on the field this Super Bowl Sunday may need those kind of calories, it’s doubtful you need that many to do your job, perform your best at your weekend warrior activities, or enjoy the big game. In fact, 1200 calories is more than fifty percent of most people’s total caloric intake for an entire day.
At the beginning of this football season, I wrote about eating like a professional football player and discussed the large volume of calories many players eat to maintain their size, strength, and perform their best. See my post “Do you know how to eat like a pro” to gain perspective on how much these gridiron warriors are consuming on a regular basis. Even the smallest players on the team are likely eating a lot more than you do on most days. Certain players, like offensive lineman, should consume over 6000 calories daily during the season to meet the demands they put on their bodies. That is a lot of calories, but then again, these guys are probably carrying a lot more muscle than the average person and most likely work out a lot harder than most of us! However, this is about what you are likely eating right now, or plan to eat while enjoying the game. Now I like to enjoy Super Bowl snacks as much as the next football fanatic, but let’s try to keep calories under control so you don’t wake up tomorrow embarrassed by not only your team’s efforts (if they lost), but also your performance at the snack table.
This isn’t a blog about having only healthy snacks during the Super Bowl. Like I said before, I enjoy football snacks too, and most likely will have a beer and some chips and salsa while I lament yet another Super Bowl without my beloved Dallas Cowboys. If you want some healthy recipe ideas, I encourage you to check out EatingWell for some great game day fare. I’m simply going to give you some healthy tips to enjoy the game and not feel like you’ve been sacked by too many calories. Follow some of these tips to keep you in the game and out of those elastic waistbands tomorrow:
- Don’t sit next to the snack table during the game. If you are too close to those chips, you will eat them and not even be aware of how much you are consuming. Get a small plate and back away from the table! Sit a comfortable distance and you will be in control of your calorie game plan all night.
- Drink an equal amount of water between each alcoholic beverage. By drinking a 12 ounce glass of water after each 12 ounce beer, you will not only slow down your drinking, you will save lots of calories, give your liver a chance to deal with the alcohol easier, and prevent yourself from lost-inhibition-snacking as the game goes deep into the night.
- Have one of everything but second servings of nothing. If you really like that seven-layer dip but don’t allow yourself to eat it, you will most likely make up for it by eating lots of other items you really didn’t want. Have what you really want, but don’t have too much. That tenth bite will taste the same as the second bite. Enjoy your favorites, but don’t get a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct by going back for seconds (or thirds).
- Plan on a Meatless Monday to help balance out calories and increase your fiber intake. Most likely, the Super Bowl fare you enjoy will have heavier foods like meats, cheeses, and lots of calories. While one day of feasting isn’t necessarily unhealthy, you may not get those much needed veggies in on game day. Make Monday meatless by fixing only vegetarian meals. This will not only offset some of the damage done during the game, but will help you start the week with a lot more veggies than you probably normally consume. For a great vegetarian recipe, see my recipe for Vegetarian Curry and you will score big well after the game is over!
- Go for a post-game victory lap. Get up off the couch after your team wins and go for a walk or have a quick workout. Too cold outside? Dust off that treadmill in your basement or take the clothes off your stationary bike in the guest bedroom and get in 30 minutes of activity. Sedentary lifestyles and lack of exercise are major contributors to chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. While one bout of exercise after the Super Bowl won’t likely make a difference in your health, it will help you keep activity an important part of your life and maybe even start a new Super Bowl tradition. Why make the big game about food only. Encourage your guests to go for a walk at halftime or after the game and you will be named the MVP of your Super Bowl party.
I hope you enjoy your Super Bowl party and your time wins. Try a few of these tips, or at least use them at your next party, and you will win even if your team didn’t!
Be well and go Cowboys (next season)!