The Big Game is coming, and whether you’re joining with friends and family out of hardcore sports fandom or simply hoping for a glimpse of Taylor Swift in the stands, you might feel the need to strategize what those gathering before your television will get to munch on.
Kristen Chang, a registered dietitian with the Virginia Tech Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, has tips for every stage of your snack preparation.
“On special occasions, many people fall into the trap of under-eating early in the day and ‘saving their calories’ for a big event,” Chang said. “To set yourself up for eating success on Superbowl Sunday, consider the following general eating tips.”
Chang offers the following advice to prepare for game day snacking.
Eat a quality breakfast, lunch, and snack the day leading up to the game — don’t try to ‘save’ calories — this just sets you up for overeating in the evening.
Aim to get in some gentle movement and exercise.
Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.
Snacking tips for during the game:
Evaluate all your options ahead of building your plate.
Use a smaller plate. Plate out your food and take a break between refills. Check in with your hunger and fullness cues to avoid overeating.
Aim to pair a source of fiber, protein and healthy fats. Look for sources of nutrients and color.
Sip smart. Limit sugar sweetened beverages — the body doesn’t register these calories the same way it does foods. If you’re drinking alcohol, make sure to include some food to go with it and have a plan for a safe trip home.
If joining a party and worried there will be no healthier options available, bring your own.
Don’t stress. Remember it’s only one day and if you feel like you overdid it at the end of the night, take note without judgement and move on.
Focus on spending time and making memories with friends, but also remember if you’re drinking alcohol to have a plan ahead of time to get home safely.
Chang offers the following heathy snacking ideas for you to try:
Black Bean and Corn Salsa: Increase the nutritional density of traditional tomato salsa by making your own with black beans, corn, fresh onions and herbs and lime juice – these ingredients add quality sources of protein, fiber, and vegetables. Pair with whole grain tortilla chips or pita chips for even more fiber.
Creamy Avocado Dip: This dip is a spin on guacamole to include plain Greek yogurt for an added protein punch. Pair with whole grain tortilla chips or pita chips for a quality source of fiber.
Sweet Potato Chips: If you’ve never made sweet potato chips, now is a great time to try. With only three ingredients (sweet potatoes, olive oil, and salt) these chips are easy to prepare, higher in fiber and a quality source of vitamin A.
Hummus with Vegetables and Pita Chips: Any store-bought hummus will do, but if you’re looking to make your own, you can try two easy recipes: traditional chickpea hummus or garlic and white bean hummus. Pair with your favorite snacking vegetables or whole grain pita chips.
Buffalo Cauliflower Bites: If you’re looking for a vegetarian alternative to traditional buffalo chicken wings, give buffalo cauliflower bites a try. Pairs well with bleu cheese or ranch dips. This would also make a fun addition to any vegetable crudité tray.
7-Layer Mediterranean Dip: Take your hummus game one step further with a Mediterranean inspired dip by combining cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, plain Greek yogurt, olives, goat cheese, lemon and parsley. Best paired with whole grain pita chips.
Fruit and Greek Yogurt Tray: Pair plain or vanilla Greek yogurt with a variety of fresh fruits. Take it a step further by offering fun toppings such as whole grain granola, mixed nuts and coconut for a ‘make your own parfait’ type experience.
Nori Popcorn: Popcorn in itself is a great lighter snacking option, just be sure to avoid the heavy butter addition. If looking for a fun twist with added nutrients, try nori popcorn.
Oven Roasted Chickpeas: Satisfy your salt cravings with an added protein and fiber punch. These are quick to prepare and a great snacking option beyond the game.
Flatbread Pizza: Dress up whole grain flatbread with tomato sauce, cheese, and a variety of vegetables for a savory alternative to traditional take-out pizza.
Loaded Nachos: Think traditional nachos with a healthy, nutrient dense spin. This nacho recipe includes quality protein and fiber in the form of ground turkey or beef, black beans, cheese and vegetables.
Mike Allen for Virginia Tech