Big game parties can be SO much fun! Even if you’re like me and you don’t follow football throughout the season, you can always find something to love about game day — whether it’s rooting for the underdog, enjoying the halftime show and the commercials, or just having a good time with friends and family.
Ilana Muhlstein, R.D. Nutritionist, co-creator of the weight-loss program 2B Mindset, wants to help you enjoy everything about game day, including those delicious snacks that get passed around. Football food is “comfort food” — pizza, wings, chips, dips, and subs — and they can be very hard to resist. But it’s important to remember that we’re fueling our bodies to watch football, not actually play it!
5 Tips to Enjoy Game Day Parties While Staying on Track With Your Weight-Loss Goals:
1. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.
I know… it all looks so good. But you can’t eat it all, so it’s time to set priorities. Seek out the healthy game day snacks — those that are vegetable based, low in fat, and high in fiber. Look for lean proteins that will help you feel full, so you’re less tempted by the high-calorie snacks. And you don’t have to deny yourself a cheesy treat or decadent dessert. Just choose the one or two indulgences you just can’t live without… and leave it at that!
2. Don’t forget to drink water.
Staying hydrated is your best defense against mindless eating (and can even help prevent a hangover), so if you’re drinking beer, wine, or anything else alcoholic, make sure you drink water first then alternate every bottle of beer with a large glass of water. Drinking all that water keeps your belly full and keeps your hands busy instead of mindlessly grabbing all the munchies lying in front of you just because they’re there.
3. Instead of reaching for a snack, make a plate.
Most of us think we overeat when the food is really good, or when we’re feeling especially hungry… but the fact is, the biggest cause of overeating is not paying attention! That’s especially true when we are watching TV. A handful of chips and guacamole here… a chicken wing or two there… and without realizing it, we’ve consumed several hundred calories without even enjoying our food, let alone feeling full or satisfied. So when you reach for the finger foods, pay attention, set them on a plate, and eat from there. Putting your food on a plate is a simple way to know how much you’re eating, and to help you pace yourself so that you don’t overdo it. Keep your eyes on the prize and don’t let your fingers do the walking.
4. “Veggie-fy” your chips ‘n’ dip.
Nothing goes together with football like a crunchy plate of chips and a creamy dip. But instead of the usual, try swapping regular chips with a veggie instead. Because let’s be honest, what you like about the chip is its crunch and the fact that it’s the vehicle to enjoy those delicious dips. So, swap out a handful of regular potato chips for carrot sticks to scoop up your favorite dip and you’ll see that you’ll still get all the flavor and crunchy satisfaction you want! And don’t forget to veggie-fy your dips as well. Opt for salsa (which has around four calories per tablespoon) rather than a cream cheese- or mayonnaise-based dip — those can pack over 10 times more calories than salsa.
Healthy Game Day Dip:
Mix two tablespoons of vegetarian refried beans with two tablespoons of salsa. A quarter cup is roughly 33 calories. Enjoy with a cup of cucumber slices and you’ll get plenty of tangy crunch… without all the calories.
5. Go topless (with your sub).
Even small, six-inch subs are a foot-long helping of bread when you count both sides of the sandwich. By taking off just the top half of bread, you’re saving nearly 100 calories — about the same as a bottle of light beer. Remember what I said about choosing your treats? This is an easy way to be smart about enjoying game day food without having to tell yourself “no.” That’s why I always tell my clients: “an open face is a happy face!”
My goal is for you to have a great time watching the game, whether you’re out at a party or having friends over to your house. You can enjoy the action, the great company, and yes, even the game day snacks — without overdoing it!