Whether it’s a Super Bowl party or a typical social gathering, how do you game plan a good defense against the onslaught of calories?

Nutrition and Fitness, Your Health | 2 years ago

Tips on How to Stay Healthy at This Year's Super Bowl Party

Chicken wings. Popcorn. Potato Chips. Oh my! Atrium Health nutritional experts share their favorite tips on how to snack smart during this year's big Super Bowl party. 
For most Americans, everyone seems to have a love-hate relationship with Super Bowl weekend. Whether or not you're a football fan, it's a time to gather with friends and family across a giant spread of your favorite snacks and dishes. Between all of the dips, pizza and drinks, it’s difficult to make healthy choices with so many snacks and different foods are available. But there’s no denying that the snack landscape at big social gatherings is not conducive to managing your waistline or blood sugar.

If you’re feeling like you may have overindulged, you’re not alone. The Snack Food Associated reported that Super Bowl viewers will scarf down roughly 11.2 million pounds of potato chips, 8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips, 3.8 million pounds of popcorn, and 3 million pounds of nuts. These numbers don’t account for chicken wings, pizza, and, of course, beer. According to the Calorie Control Council, the average viewer consumes 2,400 calories over the four to five-hour period.

Whether it’s a Super Bowl party or a typical social gathering, how do you game plan a good defense against the onslaught of calories? If you’re still pursuing your resolution to eat healthy this year or you need to carefully monitor your blood sugar, parties can be particularly difficult for making healthy choices. But you can maintain a healthy approach to snacking while enjoying the party with everyone else. We sat down with two nutritional experts from the Atrium Health Diabetes Center — Kathy Jackson, RN, program coordinator, and Tonya Ashrafi, registered dietician — to learn more about a healthy approach to snacking.

Eat A Small Meal Before You Go

You’ve probably heard people say, don’t go to the grocery store on an empty stomach. The same is true for any party that has a spread of snacks. Eat a small and balanced meal before you leave for the party. Whole grains and high-protein foods are great – you’ll feel full and will be less likely to overeat when you arrive.

Eat Your Calories, Don’t Drink Them

If you’re counting your calories, think about drinking water at the party rather than consuming sugary sodas or high-calorie alcoholic drinks. It’s easy to blow your calorie goals out of the water by drinking high-calorie beverages while also eating high-calorie snacks. A soda or beer is not the end of the world, but if you’re planning to consume multiple sodas or beers, consider the calorie counts. To stay within your goals, we recommend enjoying the food rather than the drinks.

Think Before You Eat

With so many options, it’s best to look over all your options before you begin selecting foods to put on your plate. Decide on a few options that you’d like to try, put those items on your plate and don’t stray to other foods just because they’re available. If you select a food that you don’t love, leave it on your plate and don’t finish it. It’s not uncommon to finish an item just because it’s on your plate, even when it’s not your favorite.

Save the Worst for Last

It’s hard to say no to the party favorites: wings, pizza, nachos. We understand, but it’s best to eat these items after you’ve already rounded on healthy options like veggies or fruit. You’re less likely to overeat the high-calorie options after you’ve already filled up on healthy snacks.

It’s All About Location

When it comes to real estate or limiting your snack consumption, this is always true. Don’t stand next to the refrigerator or snack table at a party. Being within close proximity to the snacks makes you more likely to reach for more. Keep your distance and if you do go back, be sure to limit your portions and wait for at least 20 minutes before returning. Waiting an appropriate amount of time between trips will allow your body to signal that you’re full and don’t need more.