Don’t super-size your game snacks
My buddy’s hosting a Super Bowl party where there will be chili, chicken wings, pizza and other tempting snacks. The gathering also includes a carrot cake contest for the bakers in the bunch. It’s going to be a belly buster of a night.
If I eat too much, I won’t be alone. A typical Super Bowl viewer will eat about 6,000 calories on Super Bowl Sunday, according to a study done at Cornell University. That’s about three times the recommended daily intake.
But it doesn’t have to be that way, according to Nicole Clark, a clinical dietician with Cape Cod Healthcare. She offered some suggestion on how to avoid gorging at Super Bowl parties – and what to do if you do eat more than you ought to.
Three cheers for healthy choices
If you’re going to a party, there’s bound to be an abundance of food, so plan ahead to minimize the dietary damage.
“One thing you can do is have a healthy meal before you go to the party, so that you’re not tempted to fill up on all the delicious things that are there,” she said.
You also can make sure the party has some healthy options by bringing a vegetable or fruit platter for an appetizer.
“I like the idea of a tray of carrots and other sliced vegetables with a low-calorie dip,” she said. “It’s a low-calorie snack that’s full of vitamins, minerals and fiber and it can help to keep you feeling full. A fruit tray with a yogurt dip is another option.”
Don’t be afraid to sample from the buffet. The key is to just have a bite or two of the high-calorie items, she said.
“There are no good or bad foods,” she said. “It’s the portion size that can be the problem.
If they have chicken wings and some of the other typical Super Bowl foods, have a little and enjoy it, but don’t go back for seconds and thirds.”
During the party, make sure you drink enough liquids. Having your stomach filled with liquids is a way to minimize over-eating, she said.
With all respect to the Clydesdales that are likely to show up in a Budwesier ad, that means water or seltzer, and not beer and margaritas.
‘I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!’
Try as you might, you might gnosh your way through the tension of another Patriots come-from-behind victory.
“Don’t beat yourself up,” said Clark. “Diet is a work in practice and it’s about the average diet that you keep over the course of weeks and months. Try not to feel guilty about what you’ve done, but try to take steps moving forward to eat healthier that week and in general.”
You can’t undo a night of Super Bowl excess by eating celery the next day, but you can set some small, achievable goals.
“Sometimes we set a goal or a New Year’s resolution and say, ‘I’m going to start eating healthier.’ That’s a really big, broad goal and it’s oftentimes hard to achieve,” Clark said.
“Set a small goal like, ‘I’m going to eat a piece of fruit as part of my lunch every day.’ When you meet that goal, you can set another goal, so that eventually most of your diet becomes healthy.”
And just like Bill Belichick’s Patriots, take it one week at a time, planning your diet a week at a time is a great way to build good habits, Clark said.
“Planning your lunch and bringing it to work is one thing you can do to try to get yourself eating better, because you’re less likely to go out for fast food or choose unhealthy foods in your work cafeteria. I know if I don’t plan my lunches or dinners, there’s more of a chance that I’ll go with something quick that might not be as healthy.”
A few more Super thoughts
Skip some of the pre-game hype and go for a nice walk. After all, the game doesn’t start until 6:30 p.m., so there’s plenty of time to get outside and burn off some calories before the game.
Check out this Cape Cod Health News stories for some more tips on avoiding overeating at parties.
And if you want to eat like the greatest quarterback of all time, read this CCHN story about Tom Brady’s diet.
One more tip: Be careful driving home, even if all you drink is water. Some years back the New England Journal of Medicine published a report by University of Toronto researchers that looked at accident rates after the Super Bowl.
Car accidents jumped 41 percent in the hours after the game (compared to other Sundays). The study found that the accident rate went up only 6 percent in the winning team’s state versus a 68 percent increase in the losing team’s home state. Win or lose, drive with caution.