A healthy Super Bowl?!?  What?!

Sunday is the Super Bowl (duh), and Tim is throwing a party.  Let’s be honest, I don’t know or care about anything football related and obviously only go to Super Bowl festivities for the delicious food!  I know not everything on Tim’s menu will be the healthiest, although I’m sure I will pester him to change up some of the ingredients he uses.  Which he is really good about doing, by the way.  When it comes to the Super Bowl, game day “clocks in as one of the biggest calorie fests of the year for many Americans. The average football fan eats about a day’s worth of calories during the game’s four quarters, and the U.S. Calorie Control Council estimates that Americans pack away 11 million pounds of chips by the time the clock runs out.” [Source]

That’s ridiculous!  Of course we all need to be realistic and know that Sunday is probably NOT going to be our best eating day of the year, but there’s no need to kiss all our healthy habits away at kickoff!

Whether you are going to or hosting a party on Sunday, here are my tips for having a healthier Super Bowl!  The Pats aren’t the only ones who need a game plan. 🙂

Making a Game Plan for a Healthier Super Bowl

Move Before the Party
Schedule some time on Sunday before the party to get a good workout in.  If you don’t have time for a full workout, you could try some of my condensed but intense plans or even go for a brisk walk.  I always find that if I exercise before a party that’s sure to have a lot of food, I’ll be less likely to want to “ruin” that workout.  And then if I do indulge, at least I’ll feel less guilty about it later!

Eat Before You Go
Similar to my “Tips for a Thinner Thanksgiving,” have a snack or small meal before you head out for the game or pregame.  If you arrive starving, you will be more likely to overeat during the party.  Opt for a protein filled healthy snack before you go to keep you feeling full and prevent unnecessary indulging later.

Portion Control
Yes, you CAN eat a little bit of everything.  But that’s the key – a LITTLE.  One tip I like to use is to grab a smaller plate, if there are different sizes available.  Or just ask the host for one!  This definitely helps with portion control.  Just be smart about the amounts of food you pile on your plate.  Go for golf ball sizes, not tennis ball!

Use the Two Thirds Rule
This one is simple!  Fill your plate with 2/3 healthier options and 1/3 not so great options.  And take your time to really think about what you really want.

Make Smart Substitutions
If you are hosting, there are PLENTY of healthier snacks and food you can choose to serve on game day.  And also plenty of ways to make “traditional” dishes healthier.  Just don’t tell your guests!  Chances are, if you come up with creative ways to serve better meals and snacks, your friends and family won’t even notice.

Here are some of my recommendations for a healthier menu:

  • First, pass on the store-bought food and take out items.  These can be LOADED with sodium and have a high fat content.  Anything you make on your own means you can cut out tons of calories and fat.  For example, you can substitute plain Greek yogurt for sour cream and still make a delicious dip!  You can also purée a lot of your own ingredients for this.
  • Make sure you have veggies.  Make a pretty display of carrots, celery, red pepper, broccoli, and cheery tomatoes to go with that dip.  Aside from a traditional veggie platter, you can use veggies for veggie kabobs or whole wheat quesadillas.
  • Salsas and guacamole both make for tasty, low-cal treats!
  • Instead of serving high ground beef in dishes such as hamburgers, chili, or nachos, try to go with lean ground turkey or sirloin if you absolutely must.  Better yet?  Use chicken!
  • For dessert, make them bite sized and try to stick with somewhat healthier options.  Tim asked if I would bake a dessert for his party, and I am going to try my hand at Peanut Butter & Pretzel Truffles.  I’m going to use natural peanut butter, and pretzels aren’t TERRIBLE for you.  Plus a truffle is smaller than a cookie or cupcake, so hopefully will help with still getting a taste of dessert without eating too much!  And these are certainly better than cupfuls of butter, oil, and frosting right?!
  • Watch out for the empty calories.  There’s no need to have sooooo many beers.  Limit yourself to just a few, and drink water between alcoholic beverages.  It is a work night for most, after all.  And you don’t want to be drinking and driving!

Bring Your Own Dish
If  you aren’t hosting, offer to bring a dish.  And be specific with what you offer to bring.  Then make it healthy!  This way if there’s nothing else, you’ll have one healthier option at the very least.

Remove Yourself
It’s definitely easy to lose track of how much you’ve actually eaten.  Maybe sometimes it even seems impossible to STOP snacking?  If you find yourself at this point, get up and physically seat yourself away from the food.  If it’s not within arm’s reach, you may find you are less likely to get up and get it.  Depending on the crowd you’re with, you can also physically move the plate or snacks to the other side of the table, again out of arm’s reach.  Still going for it?  Chew some gum!

Think About the Next Day
Like I said earlier, it is a work night for most people.  Think about how lethargic and tired you might feel the next day if you stuff yourself silly during the Super Bowl.  I recommend making a gym plan for the morning or signing up for a group exercise class, so you have thoughts of that as you make your snacking decisions.  If you make a plan, you’ll also be more likely to stick to it and burn off the calories the next day!

Don’t Let One Night Get You Down
If all else fails and you still find yourself overeating, don’t get down on yourself!  It’s just one night.  And don’t let that throw you off for the week either.  You don’t want to find yourself saying “Well I already started the week off wrong, so I might as well continue eating poorly” on Wednesday.

Point is, just realize where you went wrong and learn from it for next time.  No need to harp and dwell on it all week long.

What are you guys doing for the Super Bowl?  Anyone have their own game plan for keeping it a healthier night than most?