JD, MPH, RD, LDN, CNSCFollow this author
The holiday glow behind us, the Big Game provides another great opportunity to get together with friends and family to enjoy one of America’s greatest pastimes. Surpassed only by Thanksgiving, the biggest game of the year has become America’s second biggest feast of the year.
For many with New Year resolutions, viewing parties can be a real challenge to healthy eating aspirations. However, whether you’re hosting or attending a party, a little planning and the right attitude will have you worry free while cheering for your favorite team (or commercials)!
• Don’t forget your substitutions. When making or shopping for some of the typical fan favorites look for substitutions that can reduce calories while keeping the same great taste. For example, swap in fat-free Greek yogurt for mayo or sour cream and you’ll be adding protein and calcium while cutting calories. Classic chicken wings on your menu? Eliminate added oils by grilling, and broiling for that same crispy taste.
• Smaller servings, bigger win. . Multiple studies confirm what seems like common sense: we eat more when provided larger portions. Use smaller plates and bowls to prevent overeating. Instead of serving chips, dips and other snack foods in large platters and bowls, try plating them as individual servings. And look for portioned controlled options that can help like your favorite Coca-Cola flavors in 7.5 oz. mini cans.
• Go big on flavor. Making your own salsas, marinades and sauces will help cut back on sodium but not on flavor. Add fresh ingredients and try new recipes when creating football favorites using fresh fruits and vegetables to increase fiber and leave you feeling satisfied.
• Stay Hydrated. Alcohol can be a big part of these festivities so it’s important to switch it up with the beverages, look for calorie-free beverages such as Coke Zero and Vitamin Water Zero if you want something with flavor.
• Be present and in the moment. Avoid placing snacks at arm’s reach; create a designated snack station that makes guests have to get up and grab them (think of it as a form of exercise).
• Get in the game. Calories in is only half the equation. Get active with family and friends, whether you are throwing around a football before the game, during half-time or after.
If you do end up overindulging, don’t be hard on yourself. Remember that balanced eating is not an all or nothing game. We spend most days focused on doing the right thing so that we can enjoy the special occasions and have fun. It’s the overall picture that counts – if you ate more than usual, balance with a few light meals; if you missed your exercise routine, increase your intensity the next time. At the end of the day, it’s about adopting a balanced lifestyle – which includes fun and laughter with those we care about, and, of course, our favorite teams!
Daniel Santibanez, JD, MPH, RD, LDN, CNSC has counseled hundreds of clients on weight management, diabetes, and healthy aging for almost nine years. Daniel lives in beautiful South Florida and is a food and beverage consultant for The Coca-Cola Company.