How to Get a Healthy Win this Super Bowl Sunday

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 before you arrive at your party so that you can perform well at game-time. A strategic snack about an hour before the party will help you resist the temptations the minute you walk in the door. Go for something around 150 calories or less. And don't forget your water!

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.

  • Dress for success. Obviously it's game day so you aren't wearing your finest cocktail dress. But instead of sweats, opt for a more fitted sweater or pair of skinny jeans so you are more aware of how much you're filling up.
  • 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. You could also try popping a breath strip or piece of gum before you enter to help you hold off on eating right away.
  • 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 for the whole party such as a turkey or veggie 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 or seltzer with lemon or lime instead. If you feel you are missing out on the alcohol, try a wine spritzer (½ wine, ½ sparkling water), vodka with soda water and lemon or lime, 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 heroes 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 with extra veggies or make your own with a cauliflower crust or using low-fat tortillas as a crust, and top with part-skim cheese, low-sugar tomato sauce and lots of veggies. 
    • Put out Seasnax roasted seaweed, Good Health Veggie Straws or 479º Popcorn 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 you just need to hope your football team is as prepared as you are.


    Heather Bauer, RD CDN
    Heather Bauer, RD CDN


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