From the Team Beachbody Newsletter – Sign up for the Team Beachbody free membership to get more great issues!
It happens every year, mere weeks after resolving to lose the love handles, we face a day devoted to filling our bellies with hot wings, nachos, and beer. Americans consume more calories on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day of the year. The food, most of it smothered in cheese and dripping with fat, gets as much attention as the football game and it’s easy to eat an entire day’s worth of calories by halftime.
We realize that this isn’t going to be your healthiest day of the year and that, more than likely, you’re going to indulge. We’re here to help you minimized the damage. This game plan for the Super Bowl spread will keep you from totally sacking your fitness goals.
Super Bowl Champions
Choose from these snacks for your starting line-up.
A hearty bowl of chili will really satisfy hunger, and prevent you from grazing. If its vegetarian or made with ground turkey, even better. Skip the sour cream and cheese toppings, and reach for salsa and cilantro. If you’re making it yourself, try this Beachbody chili recipe.
Approximate calories per cup: 296
2. Submarine Sandwich
A giant submarine sandwich piled high with deli meat, lettuce, and tomatoes, will be one of your best bets on the buffet table. Ideally, it should be stuffed with turkey or lean roast beef. But even higher fat meat will offer a satisfying serving of protein. Add as many veggies as you wish and for a condiment, pick mustard over mayo.
Calorie range per 6” sandwich: 280-350 calories
An estimated 79 million pounds of avocados will be served during the game. This is one Super Bowl staple not to miss. Avocados are highly nutritious and are a source of “healthy” monounsaturated fat. Scoop it up with veggies or baked tortilla chips. That said…some guacs are made with some renegade ingredients like mayo and sour cream. Avoid these and dive into the ones made only from veggies, fruits (like tomato!), and spices.
Approximate calories per tablespoon: 25
Instead of the standard refried bean dip with cheese, dip into the bean dip of the Middle East. Made from mashed garbanzo beans and sesame seed paste, hummus has protein and fiber. It also has its fair share of healthy fat, so go easy and swap out the pita chips for veggies as your hummus delivery system.
Approximate calories per tablespoon: 27
5. Fresh Veggies
There is no need to feel like a rabbit while everyone else is living it up in CalorieLand, but a serving of crisp vegetables will keep you from overdosing on naughtier fare. If there are any vegetables or fruit in sight, let these act like a side salad. Hold the ranch dressing.
Approximate calories: 20-60 per cup
Bench These Foods
Unless you want to fumble, stay away from these snacks. Can’t? Try my “Make it Healthier” tips.
• Hot Wings – Hot wings have to be healthy, I mean, they’re served with all that celery right? Wrong. These little gut bombs, made from the fattiest part of the chicken, are deep-fried, then smothered in buttery hot sauce. Each piece can pack more than 100 calories, and that’s before it takes a dip in creamy blue cheese dressing.
Make it Healthy: Substitute fried wings with baked chicken tenders and top them with a hot sauce like Frank’s Red Hot. Mix crumbled blue cheese with nonfat plain Greek yogurt and lemon juice for a creamy dip.
• Nachos – Fried tortilla chips piled high with meat, cheese, and sour cream, what’s not to love? Here’s what: Nachos Bell Grande from Taco Bell delivers a whopping 760 calories and 39 grams of fat.
Make it Healthy: Decorate baked tortilla chips with colorful toppings like black beans, tomato, bell pepper or jalapeños, red onion, cilantro, sliced avocado, and a reasonable amount of cheese (about an ounce per person – an ounce is about the size of two dice). Also, spring for quality cheese, it will be more flavorful so a smaller amount will still stand out.
• Bratwurst – Most pork sausage, like Italian sausage or bratwurst, is made from at least 20% pure fat. No joke, fat is often added to the meat mixture to give it texture and flavor. Hot dogs, same story. Plus, with those, you get a lot of other nitrates and unspeakable fillers.
Make it Healthy: Choose a sausage made from lean chicken or turkey. Many grocery stores carry gourmet versions. Top with mustard, sautéed peppers and onions, or sauerkraut, and skip the bun.
• Meat Lover’s Pizza – When you can see the orange grease pooling on a slice of pizza, run in the opposite direction. When people order pizza for game day, they order an extra-large with all the toppings. This means larger slices, and more fat and calories per serving.
Make it Healthy: Well, you could pick off all of the toppings, soak up the fat with a napkin, and discard the end of the crust and get weird stares from your friends. Or…you could convince your friends to agree to a thin crust, veggie pizza (or split one half and half). Some pizza chains, like Dominos, make a diet-conscious crust. Personalized pizzas are also fun way to please the whole crowd. Let friends make their own pizzas on pita bread with healthy toppings and heat them up in the oven.
• “Secret Family Recipe” Dip – That family secret is a well-guarded recipe that revolves around a combination of cheese, mayonnaise, and sour cream. There may be some deceptive flecks of spinach, artichoke, or onion, but don’t be fooled. Dips made from powdered mixes are no better, and are overloaded with sodium.
Make it Healthy: Some dip recipes can be made lighter by substituting nonfat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt for sour cream. Try mixing yogurt with chopped fresh chives, parsley, garlic, and lemon juice. Turn up the heat with red pepper flakes or Tabasco.
1. Beer will be flowing, it is part of the sport of watching football. Have a plan for how many you’re going to drink before you start. Slow your intake, and ward off a Monday morning hangover by drinking tall glass of water between each beer.
2. Don’t arrive for kick-off with an empty stomach. Drink Shakeology or eat a light meal with lean protein before game time. This will help curb junk food cravings.
3. The best seat in the house is not front-and-center if there is a table filled with food within arms reach. Stake out a seat near the game but away from the junk.
4. Watch the game (and the commercials!). Talk to your friends. Cheer for your team. Heckle the other team. The more involved you are in the real action, the less likely you’ll be to absentmindedly fill your face hole with Funyuns.
A Few More Thoughts on Beer:
Even if you’ve been good about staying away from alcohol while you’ve been working out, trying to do so on Super Bowl Sunday is a true test of willpower. So, if you’re going to drink, here’s what we recommend.
When it comes to beer, it’s tempting to buy whatever case is on sale. But, consider this: If you’re going to a buddy’s house, everyone will bring beer. If you’re hosting, all of your guests will bring beer. I have never attended a Super Bowl party where there has been a beer shortage. So, why not opt for taste over quantity? After all, chugging one beer after another (light beer or otherwise) is not going to make your clothes fit any better next week. If your intention is to consume as much beer as possible, there’s nothing we can do to stop you.
Limit your beer to 3 regular-sized bottles or cans. This may seem like an awfully little amount of beer for Super Bowl Sunday, but that’s still 480 calories. Plus, when the beers are more flavorful (i.e. NOT light beer), those 3 will feel a heck of a lot more satisfying.
Here are 10 great regular beers that you should be able to find almost anywhere whether you’re shopping at Wal-Mart, Kroger, or Whole Foods.
– Blue Moon Belgian White Ale (calories: 171)
– Sam Adams Noble Pils (calories: 160)
– Widmer Amber Ale (calories: 140)
– Newcastle Brown Ale (calories: 138)
– Boddingtons (calories: 132)