Low Calorie Big Game Tips: Avoid Eating Like a Linebacker on Game Day

Every year, Americans happily gather at parties for Big Game Sunday to eat, drink and watch football history be made. Unfortunately, aside from taking in the big game, they’re also taking in some really big calories. As the game’s viewership has grown over the years, so have the parties surrounding them. In that spirit, the Calorie Control Council (CCC) decided to re-look at a sample food spread from pre-game, all the way to post game analysis time. The results are shocking, and the calorie counts much higher than previous years. Even a relatively modest consumption of game day fare, including pizza, potato chips, beef nachos and sodas adds up to more than 2,000 calories and 81 g of fat — and many football fans eat more than that.

If 111 million Americans watch the game this year, this breaks down to 20.8 million pounds of potato chips and 20.8 million pounds of tortilla chips -and it includes fan favorites like pizza, beer, nachos, dips, sodas, pigs in a blanket and other party staples.  That totals to a nationwide consumption of about 64 million pounds of fat, or the equivalent of 214,082 National Football League (NFL) offensive linemen at 300 pounds each.

The CCC recommends pre-planning your game day event and menu to include lower calorie appetizers and beverages. When it comes to recipes, it is possible to cut the calories without cutting the flavor. Thanks to the internet, it is so easy to find many recipes “made over” healthy, that there’s no excuse not to.

The Calorie Control Council recommends the following tips:

  1. Brush your teeth right before you go to the party.  Meatballs don’t taste as good when consumed by a minty mouth.
  2. Don’t hang out in the same room with the food.
  3. Make it your goal to chat with each person at the party.  It’ll distract you from eating and cut into the time you have to mindlessly munch.
  4. Alternate between beer/soda and water to cut the calories consumed from beverages in half.
  5. Volunteer to bring low-calorie dishes and diet soda instead of regular.
  6. Hit the veggie tray first and fill up on those before considering the other offerings.
  7. Acknowledge that while there is a lot of food, you don’t have to try all of it.
  8. Show up late to the party to minimize the amount of time you are left to face all of that food.
  9. Hopefully, you’re getting some exercise in most days of the week, but be sure to work out on game day and the next to mitigate the party damage.

Fans can check out the Calorie Control Council’s game day menu ideas to find a list of low-calorie recipes perfect for your party.

(Edited 1/26/2020 — Originally published in 1/24/2014)

faq2Do you have questions about low-calorie sweeteners? Want to learn more about maintaining a healthy lifestyle? You asked and we listened. Our resident Registered Dietitians answered the most popular questions about low-calorie sweeteners.

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