What is your favorite part about watching football? Well, for some of us, it’s the actual game, but for many it’s the food and snacks. But with game day now a weekly event, junk food has become a weekly offence. So healthy lifestyle expert Kimberly Daly has compiled a list to keep us on track for eating right during the big game — and that doesn’t mean you still can’t indulge in a few cheesy fries.
Click here to see the Healthy Football Season Snacks (Slideshow)
Food Commandments for Football Season:
- Avoid salty and sugary snacks. There’s a reason why it’s impossible to have just one potato chip. Packaged, processed snacks are engineered to be irresistible, so it’s best not to test your self-control by having them to begin with. Make your own munchies ahead of time from whole ingredients and put out fresh, ready-to-eat options like homemade hummus and vegetables, or plain non-GMO popcorn sprinkled with chipotle seasoning.
- Plan for the splurge. If you’re heading to a football watching party, you know you’ll be tempted by cheesy, fried, deliciousness when you get there. It’s OK to have a taste of this and a handful of that if you factor it into the rest of your weekend. Have a light breakfast and healthy lunch before the game, and stock your fridge with fruits and vegetables to prepare for tomorrow’s detox day.
- Get up and move. Couch surfing doesn’t exactly burn calories, so take advantage of breaks in the action to get your heart pumping. Commercials offer the perfect amount of time for a little activity — do 15 jumping jacks, push-ups, and squats, or see if you can sprint around the house before game coverage starts again. Unless it’s the Super Bowl, I promise you won’t be missing anything good on TV while you’re gone.
- Drink more water. People tend to mindlessly guzzle beer while watching the game, putting stress on their livers and waistlines. Having one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage cuts the number of brewskies you drink in half and helps negate internal damage.
- Cut soda with seltzer. By now you’ve heard about the health risks of too much sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and the like in your diet. But it’s hard to pass up a tasty "Jack and Ginger" when you’re tailgating. Instead of opting for the chemical-laden diet version, make your mixed drink with a blend of seltzer water and regular soda instead. You’ll save on sugar and calories, without sacrificing those refreshing bubbles.
- Slip healthy stuff onto your plate. For some reason, it just doesn’t feel very "football" to nosh on salad. But that doesn’t mean you can’t sneak the good-for-you foods into the things you want to eat. Vegetables can easily be hidden in dips, sauces, and more — you just have to get creative.
- Be more "chewsy." Snack foods are usually a two-bites-and-swallow kind of thing, which often causes you to fill up fast on empty calories. When you’re loading up at the coffee table buffet, opt for items that will last longer in your mouth. The more you chew and savor your food, the more time your stomach has to send those "I’m satisfied" signals to your brain — you’ll end up eating less overall and feeling well fed, too.
Take note of these tips and incorporate them into your game day. These simple changes can leave you feeling energized and pumped for the next game.
Emily Jacobs is the Recipe editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyRecipes.