America’s biggest sporting event is right around the corner, and for many people, it will be the first real hurdle for their healthy eating goals and New Year’s resolutions. But before you panic or give into temptation completely, we’ve got a few simple tips to help ensure your game day experience doesn’t derail your resolutions completely.
Don’t “Save” Calories for Later
On the day of the big game, you know you’re going to be enjoying some game day bites and treats later in the evening. This may tempt you to be too careful about how much you eat beforehand in an effort to “save” some calories for later.
Although this might seem like a reasonable idea, it’s important to be sure you don’t eat too little throughout the day because that opens you up to overeating later on. Moreover, not eating enough can actually slow your metabolism down.
Enjoy balanced, healthful meals as you normally would throughout the day, and consider eating a low-calorie snack, such as fruits and veggies, before you head over to the party. This will ensure you don’t arrive feeling hungry and tempted to overindulge.
Feel Good About Fiber-Filled Selections
Football and chili have become synonymous on game days, and that’s a good thing for you. Go light on the toppings, and enjoy a reasonable portion of chili that includes protein-packed meat and fiber-rich beans. Both fiber and protein will fill you up quickly and keep you feeling full throughout the game. Bonus points for low-fat turkey or chicken chili in lieu of chili with ground beef!
Mix in Low-Calorie Options
This one might feel a little bit “easier said than done,” but it’s one of the best ways to limit your caloric intake on game day and increase the nutritional value of your experience. If you find yourself craving something to nibble on during the commercials or at halftime, reach for the vegetable platter instead of the nachos, or go for some fruit instead of another round of wings.
Don’t worry, we’re not saying you shouldn’t get to enjoy your favorite game day eats. You’ll just feel so much better about your food choices if you mix in some healthier items throughout the game.
Substitute Alcohol for Other Beverages
At most game day parties, there will be no shortage of beer, wine or other alcoholic beverages, which are all filled with empty calories that can add up quickly. If you’re not quite on board with foregoing alcoholic drinks altogether, one of the best ways to keep your caloric intake in check is to substitute a few of your drinks throughout the game for diet soda, sparkling water, or ice water instead of defaulting to another alcoholic beverage.
No Matter What, Don’t Overthink It
Whether you’re trying to eat better for a New Year’s resolution, working to manage your diabetes, or simply just trying to eat well as you always do, it’s important to keep everything in perspective at events like this.
Do your best to make smart choices, but don’t get discouraged if you accidentally overindulge or eat something heavy in calories and light in nutrition. Remember, you probably won’t have these food choices on most days. Stay focused on your ultimate goal of living well, and don’t let one game day party snowball into other poor eating habits throughout the rest of the year.
Getting ready to host a Super Bowl party for friends and family? Fill your game day menu with healthy options like those featured on EatingWell.com. As always, be sure to consult with your doctor or primary care provider if you have any questions or concerns about your diet choices.