Gearing Up for Game Day

It is predicted that over 100 million American viewers will be tuning in for Super Bowl Sunday. But regardless of which team wins or loses, or if the Super Bowl commercials and halftime show were worth the wait, one thing is for sure: Americans will overeat and drink their calories.

About 11 million pounds of chips and 1.25 billion chicken wings will be eaten on Super Bowl Sunday. Yikes!

Imbibing, snacking and eating rich foods on game day may be part of the tradition, but you don’t have to pack away a day’s worth of calories in front of the TV.

The typical Super Bowl tailgate menu consists of chicken wings, chili, dips, burgers, chips and pizza, all which are highly processed foods, high in calories and fat. The good news is that with some planning and simple modifications, your menu can be healthier and you and your guests won’t notice the difference.

  • Instead of regular chicken wings, choose baked, unbreaded drumettes with the sauce on the side.
  • Serve baked tortilla chips, whole-grain crackers, homemade pita chips and raw veggies for dips instead of regular chips.
  • Instead of grilling up regular-size burgers, make sliders. Cut the buns in half and remold.
  • You can sample all of the food, but choose to have smaller portions.

Modify the ingredients in your favorite recipes for healthier ones. For example:

  • Make your own chili, using ground turkey breast, vegetables, low-fat cheese and fat-free sour cream.
  • For dips, use low-fat cheese, fat-free plain Greek yogurt or fat-free sour cream. Try to focus on adding more veggies and using less cheese or cream.

The liquid calories are the easiest to dispense with. The best thing to do is reach for water in-between each beverage. This way you won’t miss a sip, and at a party you won’t be empty-handed. Water will hydrate you and help balance out your fullness. It’s also healthy and completely calorie-free.

Before the game, make Sunday morning an active one. You undoubtedly know what to expect in the evening, therefore make sure you get in some exercise time, Also make a conscious effort to eat healthy, balanced meals at breakfast and lunchtime.

Following these tips will spare many unwanted calories and help you enjoy the game without so many Monday morning regrets!

Go Team!

Natalie Castro-RomeroAbout Natalie Castro-Romero, M.S., R.D., LDN
Natalie Castro-Romero is the Chief Wellness Dietitian for corporate wellness at Baptist Health South Florida. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics from Florida International University.  She completed her master’s degree in nutrition and exercise science at the State University of New York, University at Buffalo. Ms. Romero is certified in adult weight management and works passionately to improve the health of both adults and children. Her clinical experience includes working with patients suffering from gastrointestinal disorders and critically ill patients in intensive care.  In addition, she has conducted research on eating behaviors and pediatric obesity.  Her research has been published in several peer-reviewed medical journals.


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