A healthy Super Bowl plan

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Super Bowl Sunday can be one of the toughest days of the year when it comes to eating.  With the unlimited spread of snack foods, giant hero sandwiches, pizza, wings, and not to mention beer, it can be pretty hard to defend those resolutions that were made just a few weeks earlier.  This year, however, with just a little planning, we can easily score big on taste without penalizing our waistlines.  

The Game Plan

Prior to Kickoff

First, ensure that you aren’t starving by the time your Super Bowl party starts.  Make sure that you eat regular meals (i.e. breakfast, lunch, and a PM snack) before you arrive at your party so that you can perform well at game-time.    

The Defense

As a Super Bowl party guest, you will be playing on someone else’s turf, and so you will need to be on the defensive.  

  • When you get to the party, hold off on hitting the food table.  Converse with the other guests, and grab a glass of water to help fill you up.
  • Allow yourself a small taste of everything at the party that you want.  After that, bench the fattier options, and send in the low-cal replacements.
  • Bring something with you.  Prepare a healthy dish such as a turkey chili, or arrange a colorful fruit or vegetable platter with a low-fat yogurt based dip.  
  • Bench the high-cal beverages.  Though Super Bowl Sunday may encourage loads of beer drinking, remember that one regular beer contains about 150 calories.  Try water, seltzer, or diet drinks instead.  If you feel you are missing out on the alcohol, try a wine spritzer (1/2 wine, ½ sparkling water), or even a light beer.

The Offense

If you’re the one throwing the party, you have the home field advantage.  Instead of putting out the usual fatty fare, surprise your opponents and slim down the options.

  • Though chili has a wonderful healthy base of beans and tomatoes, the beef, sausage, cheese, and sour cream can intercept your healthy eating plan.  Try choosing extra-lean ground beef or turkey, or opt for a soy crumble.  Try low-fat cheese and/or non-fat sour cream in place of the higher calorie condiments.
  • Instead of saucy, fried wings, try oven-frying some boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  Cut the breasts into bite size pieces, dip them in egg whites or buttermilk, and dredge them in either breadcrumbs or cornflake crumbs.  Bake in the oven and serve with a honey-mustard or barbecue sauce.
  • Foot-long heros may be an old standby on Super Bowl Sunday, but the high-fat and high-sodium meats, the cheeses, the oil, and the mayonnaise (not to mention the sheer quantity), can easily add up to hundreds of extra calories.  Instead of buying the pre-made sandwiches, make a sandwich platter.  Arrange different lean meats like turkey, chicken, and ham.  Put out low-fat dressings and mayo, and loads of veggies.  Provide a variety of whole grain breads, wraps, and rolls.  
  • For a low-fat cornbread, use part whole-wheat flour, low-fat or fat-free buttermilk, and canola oil.
  • Bake tortilla chips or pita wedges and serve with low-fat dips that use fat-free or reduced-fat yogurt, sour cream, or cream cheese as their base.
  • Load your potato skins with salsa and a sprinkling of reduced fat cheese instead of bacon and cheese sauce.  Top with a small dollop of non-fat sour cream if desired.
  • Order pizza without cheese and ask for extra veggies.
  • Put out pretzels, popcorn, and baked chips instead of greasy potato chips.
  • Don’t forget the veggies!  Put out a big vegetable platter with a variety of cut-up veggies and low-fat dip.
  • Provide other drink options aside from beer.  Keep plenty of water, coffee, and diet drinks on hand.

Whether you’re at home or away this Super Bowl Sunday, you are now prepared to avoid getting sacked by those extra pounds.  Now all you need to do is hope that your football team is as prepared as you are.   

Heather Bauer

Heather Bauer is a nationally recognized nutrition expert, author, and entrepreneur.

She brings her fresh and inspiring approach to diet to prime time spots on Good Morning America, CNN, CBS, The Talk, Access Hollywood Live and The Tyra Banks Show. And she's featured in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and People Magazine. 

Heather is the author of two best-selling nutrition and diet books, The Wall Street Diet and Bread is the Devil, and has regular columns on The Huffington Post and USNews where she writes about the latest trends.

She is the founder of Bestowed, the leading product discovery platform for health-conscious consumers, and has an active nutrition counseling practice in NYC, which she founded in 2001.

Heather is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a New York State Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist (CDN). She graduated from The University of Wisconsin with honors and is a member of the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and the New York State Dietetic Association (NYSDA).