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Watch What You Eat While You’re Watching the Game

February 2, 2012

The Super Bowl has a funny way of interfering with the best-laid plans of people who are trying to watch what they eat. Maybe your New Year’s Resolution was to lose 10 pounds by summer. Or maybe you’re just concerned about the quality of food you’ve been consuming lately, and you’re trying to boost your nutrient intake. Of course, the fare at your friend’s Super Bowl party is going to lean heavily toward nachos, bacon-sour cream dip, barbecue wings and a cake in the shape of a football. And yeah, did I mention the beer?

Take some pro-active steps to make sure you enjoy the party while still being true to your health and nutrition goals.

1.  Eat at home, before the game. The kick-off’s not till 6:30 p.m., right? There’s plenty of time to enjoy something healthful before you leave home. You’re less likely to nosh at the party if you’re feeling full and satiated. Make sure you have some lean protein and fiber, both of which will keep you feeling full well past half-time.

2. Offer to bring a snack. Your host will appreciate the offer, and you can make sure there’s something at the party you can actually eat without regretting it on Monday morning. You’ll probably be laughed out of town with a fruit salad. But how about a bowl of fresh guacamole (avocados are good-for-you fat), a spicy black bean salad, a mix of raw nuts, or some dark chocolate?

3. Drink water. A couple of glasses of water before a meal or a party fills your stomach and makes it easier to avoid the food and drink that’s likely to derail most health or weight plans.

4. Monitor your portions. Instead of having a whole piece of cake, cut a small piece for yourself or just eat a few bites. Take one wing instead of three or four, and skip the bleu cheese dip.

5. Steer clear of the food table. It may sound obvious, but avoiding temptation is half the battle. If the food is in the dining room, mix and mingle in the living room. When someone offers to bring you a plate, say you’ll get it for yourself… then don’t. Don’t succumb to peer pressure to overeat, which one study shows leads to regrets.

6. Indulge in one thing. Here’s a good rule to follow: If your diet is 90% healthy, you can indulge in something not-so-healthy 10% of the time without seriously compromising your health or weight-management goals. Total deprivation, on the other hand, leads you down the slippery slope to bingeing. Re-read suggestion #4 for ways to indulge without over-indulging.

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