10 Best Tips For Keeping Super Bowl Calories in Check (2022)
Updated: Feb 19
Written by: Andrea Memon, RDN, CD, LD
Photo Credit: Andrea Memon
(My husband and our three boys watching the Super Bowl in 2020)
The Super Bowl is just around the corner and Valentine’s Day is the next day. Back to back celebrations - what fun! I’m especially looking forward to the Super Bowl! My family loves NFL football, so no doubt there will be a lot of excitement and fun on Sunday in my house with my football loving husband and our three boys! In contrast, after being happily married for many years, my Valentine’s Day, I expect, won’t bring the same level of excitement that will accompany the Super Bowl.
Holidays are special - family and friends, delicious food, and precious moments. But, holidays also bring challenges. Holidays often trigger people to overeat, which is especially true on Super Bowl day. In fact, Super Bowl Sunday ranks second as America's biggest food consumption day, only after Thanksgiving. Clearly, it is difficult to find the sweet spot of pleasurable enjoyment with balance when celebrating during the Super Bowl. The problem with overeating is it isn't harmless. It negatively affects your health, and is “closely linked to excess body fat and obesity, and may promote insulin resistance.”
To help find balance on Super Bowl Sunday, here are 10 strategies to keep your calories in check and at a level to achieve pleasurable enjoyment of food as opposed to harmful, overeating.
1. Plan ahead
Be aware that the Super Bowl is a common setting to trigger overeating, especially if you have a history of doing so at previous Super Bowls. Be proactive this year and formulate a plan for success and moderation.
2. Have a healthy snack before the game
This can be simple: baby carrots and a handful of almonds or walnuts. Fiber rich vegetables and nuts fill your stomach and slow digestion, which both help to keep your blood sugar stable.
3. Bring an appetizer or an entree
If you go to a party, bring a balanced appetizer and an entree with you to share. This way you have at least one or two sensible options in a sea of calorie dense food choices.
4. Fill your plate with vegetables
Fill your plate half full with vegetables. This strategy will help keep your calories in check and is recommended by the American Diabetes Association. Don’t be afraid to add guacamole, ranch, hummus or bean dip to your vegetables for some flavor! Fat, which is typically in dip, aids in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins that are contained in vegetables. This is one more reason to add some delicious dip to your plate! Also, dip has been shown to increase vegetable consumption in kids! This is a triple win!
5. Choose protein foods
6. Don’t drink your calories
Stick to zero calorie drinks or water. If you have beer, drink 12 ounces of water before. This will reduce the amount of liquid calories you drink.
7. Move more and sit less
This is good advice everyday, but is especially key on days with large food intake. Physical activity burns calories. If you overeat and don’t increase your activity, the extra calories get stored as adipose tissue, or fat. Movement also keeps your blood sugar in a healthy range. After exercise, your muscles act like a sponge to soak up extra glucose in your bloodstream after eating. Exercise depletes stored glycogen in your muscles, and this makes room for storage of more extra glucose.
8. Keep your eating pattern consistent
Even on Super Bowl Sunday, keep your eating pattern as consistent and normal as possible. This has been shown to support weight maintenance.
9. Indulge, but limit your portion size
This might seem like a no-brainer, but don’t eat the whole, extra large pizza entirely by yourself. You will regret it. You will not feel well. Do not do it. But you don't have to avoid pizza altogether. Research shows that portion control is an effective weight management tool and it can help you keep your calories in check on Super Bowl Sunday.
10. Be present when you eat
Mindful eating is one strategy that might be helpful. One meta analysis of 10 randomized controlled studies concluded that mindful eating lower body weight similarly to common diet programs. So, have a slice or two of pizza. Chew slowly. Taste the pizza. Be present. Enjoy every bite. Pay attention to your body, and your hunger and fullness signals.
I hope you have a wonderful Super Bowl. I also hope that these 10 tips to keep your Super Bowl calories in check help you achieve balanced, pleasurable enjoyment of food!