January 31st, 2020

This Sunday, 92 of the best National Football League (NFL) players will be in top-top shape to perform on Super Bowl Sunday. But will you be in tip-top shape to stay away from the attack of the serious munchies that consumes so many of us who attend Big Game parties?

The Calorie Control Council estimates that an “average” Big Game feast—which may include chicken wings, nachos, pizza, beer and soda—contains 2,400 calories and up to 121 grams of fat. That’s far more than the recommended daily calorie recommendations for most adults. “It’s also why it’s wise to have your own personal game plan to help stop Super Bowl Sunday splurging,” says Megan Zakarewicz, DO, a family medicine physician board-certified in bariatrics with the Grand View Health Medical Weight Loss, a Grand View Medical Practice.

Try these 7 smart strategies to stop Super Bowl Sunday splurging:

  1. Eat with intention. Instead of eating as soon as you arrive to the party, browse the selections. Think about what you would most enjoy. Decide for yourself what dishes may be worth the splurge. “Avoid mindlessly munching and pay attention to what you are eating,” Zakarewicz says.
  1. Pace yourself. The Big Game is typically four hours long. So, you don’t have to eat everything in the first 15 minutes of the party. The slower you eat, the more time you’ll give your food to digest, which means you’ll likely eat less.
  1. Plan Ahead. Thinking ahead and planning the party in your mind can be helpful in several ways. First, consider eating a regular meal before the party. If you are less hungry, you can better discriminate. Next, if you are worried there won’t be healthy options at the party, bring your own to share. Consider roasted buffalo cauliflower bites instead of buffalo chicken dip.
  1. Go small. If you’re at a party with a choice of plate sizes, choose the smallest one. This will help with portion control.
  1. Choose wisely. Tacos, potato chips, buffalo wings, dipping sauces—oh, my! Many foods encountered at Super Bowl parties are what Dr. Z calls a “triple threat”. They are high in calories, fat and carbohydrates. “Try to limit your intake of high-calorie, low-nutrition foods,” Zakarewicz says. And while watching your food intake is important, so is watching what you drink. Choose a no-calorie option like water or seltzer over soda, beer or wine. And, of course, if you’re driving, abstain from drinking alcohol altogether.
  1. Stay Active. If you regularly exercise, do so before the party on Super Bowl Sunday. Or, take a brisk walk at halftime or during a less enticing part of the game.
  1. Cheer responsibly. What affect does cheering for the San Francisco 49ers or the Kansas City Chiefs have on your Super Bowl Sunday diet? It may depend upon which team wins and loses. According to an article published in Psychological Science, cities with a losing football team ate 16 percent more saturated fat the day after a game, while people in cities with winning football teams ate about 9 percent less saturated fat compared to normal. The study also showed the difference was particularly noticeable when a game came down to the wire. “So, if Sunday’s game is a nail-biter, don’t soothe your nerves with food,” Zakarewicz says.

Learn more about medical weight loss at Grand View Health.