Thursday, January 19, 2012

Surviving the Super Bowl

It’s postseason NFL time… which means AFC/NFC championship parties, Super Bowl fiestas, fattening finger foods, and a lot of SITTING and staring at a TV for hours on end.  Football parties can be a nightmare for anyone watching their weight or trying to maintain healthy eating habits.  Here are some ideas to make your Super Bowl experience a little healthier.
Move More – Sitting hour after hour is bad news for many reasons.
  • Get up and walk around as much as possible. Stand up during commercial breaks.
  • Have a friendly fitness wager with your friends:  when YOUR team scores, fans of the opposing team at the party have to do 20 pushups, 20 squats, or some other activity of YOUR choosing. When the OPPOSING team scores, fans of that team make YOUR team’s fans do some type of activity. You can do similar wagers for team penalties or interceptions.
  • If you’re watching for the actual game, do some form of activity during each commercial (squats, pushups, jumping jacks, march in place, whatever works as long as it gets you moving).
  • If you’re watching only for the commercials :-), do some form of activity at least 2-3 times during each quarter.
  • Set up some active games for your participants to play before the game or during halftime, like ring toss, cornhole, ladderball, darts, etc. Don’t have any fancy games? Just pass a football around.
  • Kids and pets have short attention spans and will likely not be able to sit through the whole game without interrupting. Use this to your fitness advantage. Help them stay entertained by running around outside with them or involving them in some of the games listed above after each quarter.  Go for a neighborhood stroll with the dog/kids during halftime.
  • Be sure to do something active earlier in the day – go to the gym, walk for 30-45 minutes around your neighborhood, do an exercise video – to compensate for an evening on the couch.
Eat Better – Football parties are famous for greasy, fattening foods.
  • If it’s a potluck, bring something that you know is healthy.
  • Eat a light sandwich, soup, or other snack before you go. This will reduce the temptation to eat something not so good for you simply because you’re starving.
  • We are apt to feel more social and less awkward at parties if we have something in our hand. Keep a diet soda or water in your hand and chat it up with other party-goers.
  • Alcohol is often served at parties… if you’re watching your caloric intake, remember that alcohol packs quite a punch in the nutritional sense. Stick to one serving or avoid it and head for the diet soda or water.
  • As a rule, things that are creamy tend to be calorie dense. So dip that carrot or celery stick sparingly!
  • Go bunless – eat your burger or hot dog sans bread and you’ll save upwards of 100 calories. Skip the mayo while you’re at it.
  • Before you reach for that chicken wing or fudge brownie, stop and ask yourself why you’re eating it. Are you hungry? Does it fit in with your health goals? Are you just trying to fit in with other people?  Eating is often mindless… when you take a moment to analyze why you are tempted to eat something, you take the power away from it and usually end up making a better choice. And even if you do eat it, you may be able to stop yourself after just one instead of mindlessly shoving piece after piece into your mouth.
  • If you are planning the food options, you have the opportunity to control the nutritional content on the buffet table. Use lean meat or ground turkey breast for burgers; use skinless chicken. Baked potato chips taste almost as good as the real thing. There are a variety of healthier dips too, and salsa is a great dip as well. Offer veggies, fruits, and nuts as snacks, instead of M&Ms or other candy.
What other ideas do you have for Surviving the Super Bowl?

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