The Atlanta Falcons are on the hunt to become Super Bowl champions and the entire state of Georgia is part of the “Rise Up” nation emphatically supporting them.
There will be every type of food imaginable at the parties, gatherings and tailgates on Sunday. The Super Bowl ranks No. 1 in home parties and No. 2 in food consumption, according to MedicalXpress.com. In general, that leaves a lot of room to make mistakes for those of us who are trying to eat healthier.
One reason we will find difficulty staying on the healthy course is mindless eating. It is easy to lose track of the number of wings, slices of pizza and number of drinks consumed while cheering on the Falcons. A study by the National Center for Biotechnology revealed people watching television while eating ate as much as 36 percent more food. The study also indicated the duration of the show was a factor, making a four-hour long game a huge challenge.
Macon-Bibb Cooperative Extension suggests following these tips to stay in the game and eat healthy during the Super Bowl.
▪ Substitute: How we prepare foods can bring us unwanted calories and fat. Instead of deep-frying wings, bake them on a rack set inside of a baking sheet. If you like them a little crispy, like me, broil them for few minutes. My family will be making pizza for the big game. They do not know I will substitute the high-calorie cheese for a lower calorie one, use turkey sausage and add finely-chopped spinach. That’s our secret.
▪ Eat breakfast: I know it sounds odd to tell you to eat when you will be planning a marathon eating session in the evening. However, starving yourself all day can lead to overeating. The mind will tell the body we have not eaten all day so we need to make up for it — generally with foods high in sugar and fat.
▪ Hydrate with water: There will be an unlimited amount of sugary drinks as well as adult beverages. For every drink you consume, consider drinking 8 ounces of water as well. You will remain hydrated, feel more full and minimize mindless snacking.
▪ Maximize on commercials: For me, part of the allure of the Super Bowl is the commercials. You can use commercials and timeouts to slow the pace of your eating and to assess what you have consumed. If you have a plate piled high with chicken bones and several cups in front of you, it may be time to slow down.
▪ Control your portions: You are going to eat a variety of game-day favorites. The key is controlling how much you eat. Keep your portions small by not filling up large plates, be aware of seconds and thirds, and drink water in between. I also like to keep the food in the kitchen. I noticed having food at arm’s length encourages eating more. Physically having to go into the kitchen to get more helps curb eating.
Finally, a good friend of mine once told me that each day is an opportunity to correct the mistakes from yesterday. In the event you totally miss the mark on game day, make a Hail Mary and begin again the next day. Rise up, Middle Georgia!