Super Simple Game Day Playbook: Setting the Scrimmage Line on Game Day Feasts

FootballIt’s time for the big game, and you know what that means!  Time to grab your jersey, don your lucky socks, get ready to talk some smack and grab some munchies before kickoff.

But can you keep it healthy at your game-watching bash?  Yes!

Whether you’re cheering on your favorite team or checking out the game day commercials, you need to check out our playbook to make sure your celebration equals a touchdown.  No need to bench the chili and wings.  With just a few minor tweaks, your menu can go from second string to starter.

We get it.  A few “bad-for-you” snacks and drinks might not seem like a big deal now, but all those empty calories add up.  Those poor choices are setting your body up for a blitz in the long haul, and putting you at risk for heart disease and stroke, the No. 1 and No. 5 killers in the U.S.

Why should you switch out your game day favorites in favor of healthier options?  Simply put, life is why.

The Playbook:

  1. Sorry to sound like a broken record, but eat your fruits and veggies.  Mom and Dad were on to something when they taught you to eat an apple a day.  Fill up half your plate with these low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods that keep you satisfied.  Choose veggies with hummus, salsa or other low-fat dip for a crunchy snack.
  2. Stay hydrated my friends.  Water is the best way to stay hydrated.  Reach for water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages like soda and sports drinks, which add extra calories with little nutritional value.  Plain water too boring?  Try sparkling water or add fruit wedges to jazz it up.
  3. Put down the double bacon cheeseburger.  Instead, reach for a grilled turkey burger piled high with veggies like avocado, tomato, onions and lettuce. In other words, choose lean cuts of meat and poultry without skin and extra fat removed.  And add lots of veggies for an extra boost of nutrients.
  4. Hold off on the wings.  A game day staple, wings are delish and often loaded with calories and trans fats.  For the same spicy kick, toss grilled or baked chicken breast strips in your favorite hot sauce.  You’ll barely notice the difference!
  5. Slow down there, slugger.  Let’s just say, drink in moderation.  Alcohol contains a lot of empty calories and can have other negative effects on your health.  We know football watching means cold ones on ice, so slow down by drinking a cup of water between each drink.
  6. Stuff your face!  With healthy snacks, that is!  If you’re celebrating all day, you’re bound to want a snack.  So when you need a bite, stuff your face with fresh fruits and veggies, unsalted nuts and seeds, and low-fat whole-grain crackers.
  7. Take your phone out.  No, not to tweet.  To check your portions.  Portion control can help you keep track of the foods you are consuming without going overboard.  For instance, a serving of chicken breast (3 ounces) is about the size of a smart phone and a medium banana is about the size of a pencil.  For more portion comparisons, check out www.heart.org/PortionDistortion.

Looking for more healthy game day tips?  Visit www.heart.org/GettingHealthy.

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