From the chips and dip to the pizza and beer, Super Bowl Sunday is a day that is packed with yummy food, but also unnecessary calories. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that Super Bowl Sunday is the second-biggest day for food consumption in the U.S., after Thanksgiving. But that does not mean you have to devour all the sweet snacks and finger foods when you meet up with your friends to watch the Seattle Seahawks take on the Denver Broncos.
Dr. Keith Kantor, a leading nutritionist and author of "What Matters," and "The Green Box League of Nutritious Justice," shares tips with IBTimes on how to eat well during the Super Bowl, and even provides recipes for healthier snacks.
Tips for a healthier Super Bowl:
Don’t Starve Yourself
People tend to skip meals before they go to house parties. They may even skip dinner if the party is at a later hour, and then when they arrive they'll eat anything that is not moving. "Don’t go to a party starving. Not only does it make you more likely to consume more calories when you do finally eat, but it is also terrible for your body," Dr. Kantor says.
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We need to be fed food on a regular basis in order to maintain healthy levels of hormones such as insulin. Have a normal breakfast, a healthy lunch, and if the party is at a late hour, have a healthy dinner. This way when you get to the party, you will still consume snacks but not as many, and you will be more conscious of healthy versus unhealthy foods as opposed to just grabbing whatever is in front of you because you are so hungry. You can even bring a healthy dish like a vegetable tray with hummus or guacamole.
You are supposed to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water everyday. Most people don’t. Not only is it good for you, it also fills you up. "Your body has trouble telling the difference between hunger and thirst, so people tend to eat when they’re actually thirsty," Dr. Kantor warns. He also recommends having a glass of water between alcoholic drinks, and commit to stopping after one or two drinks. Alcohol in general can promote increased appetite and release inhibition, causing you to eat excessively. If you do drink, go for a low-sugar drink like a spritzer, wine or light beer.
The Super Bowl is on Sunday, and Saturday is the night for most people to stay out late and party. If you’re tired on Sunday, your body is going to want to give you energy. "It’ll do that by signaling you to have simple carbs or sugar because it doesn’t want you to be tired," says Dr. Kantor. Avoid that situation by getting some rest before celebrating Super Bowl Sunday.
Stick To Your Workout Regime
For people who regularly work out, when there is a special event they tend to skip their workout that day. That is never good. The day of the big game you want to be very active. The football players on the field are active during the game, but watching the big game is definitely a sedentary activity. Dr. Kantor advises to "do a workout in the morning, play with your kids outside, walk your dog around your neighborhood, deep clean part of your house, avoid sitting around before the game." The extra activity will keep your metabolic rate higher than normal and make it less likely for you to overindulge on unhealthy snacks.
Ditch the Processed Foods
"Chips, crackers, and french fries are all low-nutrient fillers that will send your energy and blood sugars on a wild roller coaster. This will only cause you to lose control of your satiety signals, often leading to excessive consumption of calories. When blood sugar drops you could even find yourself in a recliner coma. The bottom line is excessive carbohydrates that are not used as energy will turn to fat," Dr. Kantor warns. Fill your plate up with vegetables, a bunless burger, or other protein and even a moderate portion of nuts, cheese or guacamole for healthy fats.
Avoid Giving Into The Peer Pressure Of Finishing Everything Because It Is There
"It’s okay to throw away the remainder of the chips or potato skins. The 'clean up call' by the host is not great for the waistline; you could consume upward of 1,000 calories by finishing up the snacks," Dr. Kantor says.
Tips for Food Swaps
For the buffalo wing lovers, and the beanie weenie fans, and chips and dips lovers ... are those all a no-no? They are not a no-no, they just need to be tweaked a little.
Buffalo wings can be grilled naked and then sauce added -- this is a healthy alternative to the traditional fried option.
Beanie Weenie fans can choose an all-natural nitrate-free hot dog with beans as a less-processed alternative.
As for chips and dip, swap out crunchy cut vegetables for the chips, and then hummus or guacamole for dips as a healthy, more nutrient-rich alternative.
In addition to the tips, here are healthy recipes for the big day.
For Denver fans, try a Colorado Omelet – you could make “egg Colorado muffins”
1 lb. cooked all natural nitrate free bacon chopped
Diced fresh tomato
1 tables spoon of parsley
½ lb. diced ham
Whisk eggs together and pour 1/12 of mixture into greased muffin tins
Add cooked bacon, ham, and tomatoes and parsley
Bake 350-15-20 min.
And, for the Seahawk fans, what would be a typical dish served in Washington?
Seattle is known for its iconic sandwiches. The Porchetta sandwich is especially famous there. This sandwich is a pork sandwich, seasoned and roasted with paste of olive oil, sage, rosemary, fennel and garlic, then topped with red and yellow bell peppers, typically served on a ciabatta bread/bun. To make this dish more healthy, serve it as a bunless sandwich.
3 tbs. olive oil
3 tbs. sage
2 tbs. rosemary
1 tbs. fennel
5 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
6.5 lb. pork butt
2 red bell peppers chopped
1 yellow bell pepper chopped
1 onion chopped
Ciabatta bread (or do bun less for healthy option)
Make a paste of olive oil, herbs and spices, salt, pepper, and garlic rub over pork butt, roast for five hours occasionally basting with olive oil. Grill peppers, onions and salt and pepper and serve bunless or over grilled ciabatta bread.