Super Bowl Sunday will soon be upon us. Friends and families will gather at the homes with the largest television screens and the most sumptuous game day spreads to enjoy a uniquely American “holiday” party. Whether you’re a true fan of the sport or attend an event just to socialize and enjoy the new commercials and the halftime show, one thing all Super Bowl parties seem to have in common is overindulgence in food and drink.
Huge platters of layered nachos, crockpots of cocktail wieners or meatballs, chili, chicken wings and pizza are standard fare for guests to graze upon during the festivities. But we can take a more sensible approach to our Super Bowl snacking that should minimize regret – and heartburn – after the game.
An epidemic of obesity
Even in a country well aware of its obesity problem, overdoing it on Super Bowl Sunday is so much the norm that the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention found it necessary to issue an educational brochure in an attempt to curtail the unhealthy habits associated with game day. Apparently, our culture finds it difficult to watch disciplined professional athletes engage in a competition without inhaling as many calories as possible during the game.
Sitting motionless all day while consuming a caloric tsunami is a recipe for weight gain. So, the least you can do is get moving. Unless you own a health club, your guests probably can’t watch the game from their treadmills. You could, however, arrange for a pregame speed-walk race. Even a leisurely stroll around the block is better than no activity at all. Those guests who are uninterested in the halftime show can repeat the walk or play a game of backyard touch football. For those of you who plan to have your party in a local sports bar, walk to and from your destination so you can get your exercise and eliminate concerns about who will be the designated driver.
Aside from taping guests’ mouths shut with duct tape after their initial plateful of goodies, here are some ways to decrease caloric intake during your Super Bowl party:
- Keep lots of bottled water and nonalcoholic drinks readily available. Make sure these beverages are easily seen by all guests by putting them in plastic or metal tubs and covering with ice.
- Use healthier dips such as hummus or salsa instead of guacamole, cheese dips and processed, pre-made chip dips.
- Substitute pretzels, baked tortilla chips and popcorn for potato chips.
- Place a bathroom scale beside one of your serving tables. Really. Sometimes, all people need are reminders that life goes back to normal the next day.
- Prepare meatless chili instead of meat-based recipes.
- Use low- or no-fat ingredients in your recipes, such as light sour cream.
- Encourage guests to bring healthy dishes, like vegetable or fruit trays.
Let the Super Bowl game end when the party is finished. Don’t overeat or overindulge. Our bodies don’t have an “overtime” setting for our metabolisms when we turn in Sunday night. Instead, all those empty or excess calories get stored as fat, so try to make the healthiest choices possible on game day to avoid Monday-morning regret.