We’ve all been to football Sunday. It’s basically a smorgasbord of highly palatable snacks, desserts and meats loaded with calories and fat with some football on the side. In all seriousness, the game is of high priority, but then again, so is the food. And since game day is a weekly affair, is it possible to survive all four quarters without eating yourself into next week? We’ve got you covered with these 5 Tips to Snack Healthy on Football Sunday:
- Don’t Go Hungry
Fact is saving up calories for the big game is actually a pretty big party foul. While it may seem like a good idea, stepping into any kind of party, let alone football Sunday, with hunger pangs in the loom puts a damper on your sense of control around food. Think about it, you’re so ravenous that by the time you do have access to food you’re more likely to make poor choices and overeat. The last thing you want to do is feel like you’re stuffed with a football in your gut when the game’s over. Instead, stick with your usual meal routine during the day leading up to the game. That may mean a nutritious breakfast, lunch and snack all before kickoff.
Worried it’ll be too much food? Think again. When your eating is out of control because you’ve restricted all day, you’re likely going to take in way more calories than you would have if you had just had a few meals and snacks beforehand. If you’re not hungry going into game day, you’ll be able to make clear decisions and find yourself snacking less.
- Practice Nutrition Checks and Balances
Game day garb is something to look forward to – we get it. But all-or-nothing does not have to be the mindset. Make an effort to practice nutrition checks and balances while rooting for your team. That means balancing your plate with both indulgent and nutritious foods. To make your life easier, scan the options and choose your favorites, leave the rest. Don’t just east something because it’s there. And even though you may blow your diet, it’s still worth it to not go overboard and choose healthy foods too.
- Be Mindful of Alcoholic Beverages
Everybody knows alcohol can make you feel hungry. There’s even a scientific study that has shown a change in your brain activity that makes you think you need food. Plus, the empty calories add up quick during game-time. Be mindful of how much you’re drinking (and eating). Focus on the game and avoid holding an alcoholic beverage in your hands. Try having a glass of water in between each serving of alcohol. And aim to limit your intake if necessary to 1-3 servings max during the game.
- Plan Ahead: Bring/Prepare Something Healthy
Consider including a healthier dish to share during the game to balance out the decadent with more nutritious options. A veggie platter and fruit plate will get more attention than you think! Take it a step further and try making healthier versions of your favorite dips, salads and snacks – think bean dip, air fryer chicken wings, and create your own taco or grilled cheese station. Don’t have a lot of time? Take advantage of a meal delivery service that offers meal and kits – like Eat Clean Bro’s Cauliflower Crust Pizza Box, BBQ Meat Box and A La Carte Menu. [INSERT APPROPRIATE LINKS]
- Go Easy on Yourself
The game is over and despite your best efforts you still ate too much [again]. Instead of beating yourself up over it and feeling guilty about what you’ve done, be kind to yourself and move on. Tomorrow is a new day. Get back to your usual healthy eating and avoid skimping on calories or over exercising to burn off what you ate. Instead, learn from things you could have done differently and use that the next time you find yourself in the same situation – or next week on football Sunday.
By Shoshana Pritzker RD, CDN, CSSD, CISSN
- Cains S, Blomeley C, Kollo M, Racz R, Burdakov D. Agrp neuron activity is required for alcohol-induced overeating. Nat Commun 8, 14014 (2017). https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14014