6 Nutritionist Approved Swaps + Strategies for a Healthy Super Bowl
With only a few days left of football season, everyone’s gearing up for the main event: the Super Bowl. And while we’ll be the first to get fired up about arguably the biggest sports day of the year, if eating healthy is one of your New Year’s resolutions, the Super Bowl can be a serious obstacle. Seriously, you may have to maneuver around the cheese dip and soda to get to the crudite. But if you can stay healthy during a bachelorette party, you can definitely make smart decisions at your friend’s TV-watching house party. Jess Dyer, the in-house nutritionist at graze, which packages good-for-you snacks into a subscription box, shares her top six tips to keep your goals on track while you cheer on the home team.
1. Trade chips for popcorn. Let’s be real: You aren’t getting rid of snack food at a Super Bowl party. But Jess says that’s okay; just try to choose a healthy snack option. “If you’re looking for a snack that’s low in calories but filling, I highly recommend popcorn. Popcorn is a favorite snack for nutritionists because it’s high in fiber, which helps you feel full longer, and at only a few calories per cup, you can snack guilt-free,” she says.
2. Swap sour cream for Greek yogurt. Healthy choices don’t have to be hard choices. “If you’re building a classic seven-layer dip, put a more nutritious twist on it by swapping in Greek yogurt for sour cream. You might even find it’s tastier than the traditional recipe,” Jess says. Greek yogurt, what a superstar.
3. Keep the bubbles, but ditch the (fake) sugar. You already know super sugary soda and juices aren’t good for you, but don’t reach for diet soda as your healthy alternative! “Fake sugars are toxic and addictive. The chemicals suppress your satiety (so you don’t know when you’re full or satisfied) and spike your insulin, leading to mood disorders, hormonal imbalance and weight gain. Ditch the sugary or diet sodas and instead opt for sparkling water with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime,” Jess says.
4. Plan when you’ll eat before and after the party. We all know that the key to staying on track is creating a foolproof plan. Jess agrees, saying, “Planning before game day prevents you from having to make a decision in the heat of the moment and reduces your reliance on willpower. Try to find out what kind of food will be served in advance so that you can anticipate potential obstacles and work around them.”
Whether that’s bringing fresh veggies to the party as an alternative or adjusting your meal times, you’ll be set up to make better decisions. “If you learn there’s only finger food, then having a small dinner beforehand or making concrete and exciting dinner plans for afterward will ensure you get a good meal in the evening and you don’t gorge at the party,” Jess says. Smart strategy.
5. Start your day with a nutrient-rich breakfast. This is good advice for any day, not just Super Bowl Sunday. “With any celebration, I like to make sure to have a nutrient-dense breakfast to start the day. It’s also important to stay hydrated with water and herbal teas, which helps me snack with total enjoyment — minus the energy crash,” says Jess.
6. Focus on choosing nutrients over low-cal options. Keep in mind that low-cal foods aren’t always better. “Rather than focusing on the calories in a dish, look for options that are nutrient dense,” Jess says. “A good rule of thumb is to stick to foods that are the least processed as possible. If the ingredients on the label are easy to recognize and pronounce, then it’s a winning choice. Avoid snacks with empty calories and stock up on snacks that are a source of nutritional benefits like protein or fiber,” she recommends. Plus, you gotta keep that energy up for all the cheering and silly touchdown dances you’re going to be doing, obvi.
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(Photos via graze and Getty)