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.
Try this : Make popcorn, sprinkle with Parmesan, about 22 calories per tablespoon, and spray with butter or low or no-calorie imitation. Cheetos are about 320 calories for two ounces.
Considering? : A handful of trail mix featuring nuts and chocolate.
Penalty : At 160 calories per ounce, head to the end zone and do 49 touchdown dances.
Try this : Skip the chocolate and focus on the nuts or eat one piece at a time to slow you down because even nuts alone, though healthy, are still high in calories (164 for an ounce of almonds).
Wings ‘n’ things
Considering? : Buffalo Wild Wings dipped in ranch dressing.
Penalty : Do “The Wave” some 6,480 times to make up for more than 1,000 calories if you nibble six wings with two servings of dressing per piece.
Try this : Shave off at least a third of the calories by baking, rather than frying, your own chicken wings, and save more by shunning the skin and dressing.
Considering? : A Sloppy Joe sandwich.
Penalty : Climb the stairs at SunLife Stadium for just under an hour.
Try this: Use lean ground beef and sugar-free ketchup or similar sauce. Use less meat by adding chopped veggies like onions, peppers and broccoli.
Considering? : Outback Baby Back Ribs.
Penalty : A full order, with its fatty meat and sugary barbecue sauce, has 1,156 calories and will require 123 minutes of conditioning.
Try this : Make your own ribs and enjoy the sauce, too, but trim the fat and begin cooking sans sauce. Use a dry rub for flavor and finish with a lighter brushing of sauce.
Brews and soda
Considering? : High-calorie beer, like Sierra Nevada Bigfoot and its big boy count of 330 calories per bottle.
Penalty : Make like San Fran coach Jim Harbaugh, or his older brother, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, and coach the game for 211 minutes.
Try this: Micro-light beers, like Beck’s, Michelob Ultra, Budweiser Select , Miller Lite or others. They generally contain fewer than 100 calories per 12-ounce bottle.
Considering? : Pepsi, which halftime entertainer Beyoncé is shilling in the commercials.
Penalty : Dance to Beyoncé’s music for 57 minutes if you swig three 12-ounce cans (each contains 100 calories).
Try this : You could opt for diet soda but you’re still getting chemicals. How about low, or no-calorie drinks such as water, flavored seltzer or unsweetened iced tea?
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