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Sharp Health News

Snack smart for the big game

Feb. 5, 2016

Snack smart for the big game

Football analogies abound this time of year. But it’s true that if you don’t formulate an eating strategy for Sunday’s big game, you could be on the losing end when it comes to sticking with your health goals.

During the three hours spent watching the final matchup between two great teams, the average armchair quarterback will consume 1,200 calories. What’s more, that doesn’t take into account any other meals during the day, or beer and soda consumption.

“Take the time before this Sunday and think about your strategy,” says Melissa Hughes, a registered dietitian and wellness program manager with Sharp Rees-Stealy’s Center for Health Management. “Make a winning game plan before you kick off your game-time eating.”

Here are her tips:

  • Exercise beforehand, to balance out some of those additional calories.
  • Drink light beer, sparkling water or unsweetened ice tea. Avoid sweetened drinks like soda and juice.
  • Use small plates to put your food on instead of munching straight from the dish. This will help you to be more aware of how much you're eating.
  • Instead of regular high-calorie dips, try a yogurt-based option or use salsa with no sugar added.
  • Nuts are nutritious, but the fat and calories add up quickly. Consider serving air-popped popcorn flavored with herbs and spices instead.
  • Replace fried mozzarella sticks with baked or grilled chicken skewers, seasoned with spices rather than breading.
  • Use veggies such as sliced cucumbers, endive, jicama, bell peppers, carrots and celery for dipping, instead of chips and crackers.
  • Fill at least half of your plate with fresh fruits and veggies.

Whether you’re hosting a viewing party or watching alone, borrow a page from the Mediterranean playbook and try these heart-healthy snacks:

  • Olives, which are low in calories and rich in healthy fats
  • Nut butters with sliced apples or celery
  • Lentil dip or hummus with sliced vegetables

Find more delicious snack recipes on Sharp Health News.

This story was updated in January 2019.

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