The food at Super Bowl parties could leave you looking as big as a linebacker — and he has padding.
Indeed, Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest food consumption day of the year, behind Thanksgiving, according to the U. S. Department of Agriculture. The average American will eat a full day’s calories — about 2,000 — in just about three hours. And if the game goes into overtime, watch out: You’re already into Monday’s territory.
“Super Bowl Sunday [is] such an easy way to pack on the pounds,” says Melissa Kaplan, a clinical dietician for the University of Miami.
But there are ways to imbibe and indulge sensibly. Portion control. Swapping the artery-clogging fats for leaner cuts. And bake those wings instead of frying them in gobs of oil
“You can have the wings but instead of 20 wings, just eat three wings,” says Sonia Angel, a registered dietician and diabetes educator at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood.
While it is OK to indulge every now and then, be careful when you start justifying your habits.
“I was overweight until I was in my 30s,” said Charles Platkin, 50, a professor at the City University of New York School of Public Health at Hunter College and a DietDetective.com editor. “It always got out of hand for me justifying my behavior.”
He would indulge by saying it was just one day, i.e., Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s.
“I counted my days up and I was celebrating Groundhog’s Day when it was all done.”
Experts say it’s important to make mindful choices. Pay attention to what you’re eating at the buffet table, rather than having your hands in constant play.
Drink water in-between the bubbly. “That way you don’t have as much and you are cutting a lot of calories out,” says Natalie Castro-Romero, chief wellness dietician for Baptist Health.
Eat a bit before you head to the party. “When you’re hungry, the brain can’t make healthy choices,” Angel says.
Here’s a visual trick, says Angel: Decorate the healthy stuff, like veggies and fruit platters, with team colors to entice consumption. The San Francisco 49ers will rock red jerseys for Sunday’s big game while the Baltimore Ravens plan to flash pearly whites.
“A fruit platter gives you lots of options in terms of being fat-free and gives you color and flavor and you can have fun with it,” she says.
For the Super Fan, Platkin broke it down in game lingo for a nifty eat-this, not-that guide. Here are his suggestions:
Chips, dips and nuts
Considering?: Pita chips with artichoke dip.
Penalty: Run the length of 141 football fields. Each chip is 13 calories and the dip on each is 80 calories.
Try this: Make whole-wheat pita chips and use salsa, about 15 calories per dip, instead of artichoke.
Considering?: Dominos Stuffed Cheesy Bacon & Jalapeno Breadsticks.
Penalty : Make like Mike Tolbert of the Carolina Panthers and Stevie Johnson of the Buffalo Bills, who each did the Gangnam Style dance in the end zone last year after scoring. But do it 193 times.
Try this: Toast whole-wheat pita, flavor with butter spray and Parmesan cheese.
Considering? : Cheetos Jumbo Puffs.
Penalty : Become a Raven or 49er for 30 minutes of professional football.