How To Eat Healthy During The Super Bowl

On Super Bowl Sunday, about 110 million Americans are expected to tune in, many while attending a party in someone’s home.

Parties mean food, and Super Bowl parties mean lots of food. After Thanksgiving, Super Bowl Sunday is the day when more people will take in a superabundance of calories, much of it in the form of unhealthy foods.

An estimated 11 million pounds of potato chips, for example. And according to the National Chicken Council, we’ll be eating about 1.35 billion chicken wings that day.

The Super Bowl only comes around once a year, so you might be tempted to let yourself go that day and eat all the unhealthy food in front of you.

But one day of eating an extra 2,000 calories of junk food (the average for the four to five hours on game-day, according to the Calorie Control Council) can set your body back by weeks.

Even when the food choices are limited, you can still choose the best options and stay on, or close to, your dietary goals.

Follow my GPS of health (no Gluten, Processed foods, or Sugar). Here’s what to do:

Cold cuts. Avoid the processed deli meats (ham, sausage, bacon, and the like). They’re high in sodium and added chemicals, and eating processed meats is one of the top ten causes of heart disease. Opt for roast beef and turkey but keep your portions small — these foods are still high in sodium. If you want bread, go with gluten-free, if it’s available. Better yet, make a lettuce wrap.

Pizza. Skip this. The pizza base is gluten.

Wings. Deep-fried in unhealthy oil and served with a high-calorie bleu cheese dip wings are full of empty calories. Fortunately, they’re also served with celery sticks. Eat the wings in moderation, accompanied by the celery, and avoid the dip.

Salty snacks. Chips, pretzels, and the like are not only full of empty carbs, chemicals, and salt, they’re the vehicle for high-calorie dips full of unhealthy fat content. Go with air-popped popcorn and skip the dips.

Desserts. They are usually full of sugar. Opt for fresh fruits instead.

Beverages. A Super Bowl party always includes plenty of beer and sodas. This year, try some sparkling water, diluted fruit juice, or unsweetened ice tea.

So what can you eat? Try these:

Nuts. They are a much better snack food — crunchy, salty, satisfying, and full of fiber, minerals, and good fats. A great alternative to junky salty snacks.

Vegetable sticks. Fresh vegetables such as baby carrots, cucumbers, and peppers often make an appearance alongside the dips. Eat the veggies, skip the dips.

Healthy dips. On the other hand, salsa, hummus, black beans, and guacamole are dips you can enjoy. Enjoy these with the vegetable platter.

Salads. Help yourself to some green salads dressed with a little extra virgin olive oil and vinegar. Bean salad is fine, but keep your portions of coleslaw small.

Your own contribution. Bring along enough of a delicious, healthy dish for everyone to share.

It’s the Super Bowl! Enjoy the company of your family and friends, along with the healthier food choices you’re making.