Super Bowl Food: Healthy Eating Tips for Sunday's Game

on February 02 2012 5:22 PM
Food
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Super Bowl Sunday is no reason to give up on your New Year's resolutions. Nutrition pros say football enthusiasts can have a good time without packing on the calories. Here are some tips for not overdoing it on Feb. 5.

If you're a guest:

Guests should feel free to contribute a dish.

If you're going to a party and you don't know what the menu is going to be, bring something healthy that you can enjoy, said New York City nutritionist Barbara Mendez.

She suggests a three-bean salad with corn chips. The protein and fiber in the beans will interact with the refined chips, making for a tasty treat that will help you feel full faster. Another option could be hummus with vegetables.

Experts note that moderation is key, even with healthier options such as hummus, nuts and guacamole. If you want to enjoy these you can have them, but it's important to practice in moderation, said New York City dietitian Maria Bella

If you're a host:

There are several ways to keep Super Bowl food healthy when you're a host, mostly by making certain food substitutes.

For burgers, Mendez recommends using turkey instead of beef. If you can get a multigrain bread or multigrain bun that would be great, she added.

She also recommends making fries out of sweet potato instead of regular potato and providing guests with salad materials to fill up on.

When drinking:

Studies show that drinking alcohol makes people eat more, but abstaining during the big game would be unthinkable for many die-hard football fans. Mendez suggests alternating alcoholic beverages with glasses of water. This, she said, will keep you hydrated and lucid, so you'll think twice before going for extra food.

Calorie watchers can also opt to bring their own alcohol. Bella advises light beers, such as Beck's 64-calorie beer, Amstel Light, and Corona Light. She advises those who don't like light beer to go for a Guinness, while wine lovers can go for a prosecco.

And if you must indulge in a favorite Super Bowl snack...

Nutritionist Stephanie Middleberg suggests pizza. Have one slice and be done, she wrote in an e-mail. It is best to go for finite options and pizza has an end so if you just have one, you won't overdo it. A bowl of chili is a great second option.

Bella had some really good news about a particular Super Bowl favorite. I think that wings are not the worst thing ever, she said.  It's the dressing that kills them.

Still worried about overeating?

Calorie watchers can also rely on technology for a bit of help. Bella recommended sites such as CalorieKing.com and MyFitnessPal.com

Middleberg's tips for not overdoing it include eating only during halftime: Don't go starving, make sure you eat all your food on a plate or a napkin (and not just grabbing and dipping), swap salsa for dips, and when drinking aim for lite beer or glass of wine or hard liquor. Furthermore, wear fitted clothes as a nice 'budget' reminder and keep your hands busy (drink in one hand and camera in the other). Lastly, remember it is just one day!

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