Oh, and here's one more: the average sales of antacids in the days post- Super Bowl increase by approximately 20% (yikes).
Anyways, I don't share this information to instill feelings of guilt but rather to provide some enlightenment and perspective regarding this largely food-centered occasion, and offer some tips on how to best strike a balance between eating for pleasure while keeping long-term health in mind. Without further ado, here are a few "mindful munching" tips that allow for you to enjoy the super bowl festivities without going overboard:
Position Yourself Wisely
Have your chips and guacamole too! However, you do want to avoid sitting in front of the entire dish and mindlessly munching away while your brain is focused on other things. Just as the football players position themselves strategically on the field to set themselves up for success, so should you! Keep your munching mindful by grabbing a plate, portion out your serving and position yourself out of arms reach of the food bowl. Research has shown that we tend to eat more than we realize when in the presence of distractions and especially in front of the TV, so strategically position yourself to comfortably watch the game without the temptation to mindlessly eating through more calories than you realize.
Just like the athletes need to stay well hydrated to perform at their best, so do you. Enjoy a beer or two, great! Isn't that part of the fun? Just keep it in balance and make sure to alternate in some plain water also. And when you are done with that beer (or other alchoholic beverage of choice), leave the empty container in plain view rather than trashing immediately. The visual cue is a mental reminder of how much you've already consumed and can prevent you from losing track.
Kickoff is 6:30pm, but what if you're hungry well before you even arrive at the party? Having a small, healthy and satiating snack or meal can ease hunger and prevent you from over-eating once you walk in the door. Kickoff your night on a healthy note to set yourself up for success throughout the evening. Some simple suggestions include a small sandwich, apple and peanut butter, yogurt and granola, a salad or a bowl of soup.
Mind Your Emotions
We eat out of joy, and we eat out of anxiety, just make sure you watch the game with your heart and check your emotions before hitting the food table. Not feeling hungry yet feeling driven to reach for more food? Ask yourself if you're eating out of boredom, peer pressure or even just to cope with those game day highs and lows before reaching for that additional slice or wing.
Bring the Healthy!
Attending a party and worried you won't have enough healthy food options to enjoy? Be the bearer of good news by bringing a healthy dish to share. You win, others win, now you just have to hope your team wins! Check out some links below for a few healthy Super Bowl appropriate dishes to choose from:
Enjoy the game, aim to eat healthy and enjoy yourself!
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and triathlete residing in southwest Virginia with her husband and dogs. Follow along as she shares favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
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