Football party

(© arinahabich - stock.adobe.com)

The Super Bowl is an American tradition, whether you watch it for the game or just the halftime show. Even if you’re not interested in either, the spread of wings, nachos, taco dips, and more is hard to decline. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest food consumption day after Thanksgiving!

If you’re still on track with your healthy lifestyle changes and fear what you might face menu-wise at your gameday party, don’t be. As a dietitian, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be an “all-or-nothing” mentality. You can enjoy your wings and pizza without falling off your wellness journey. Here’s how:

1. Eat throughout the entire day

The easiest way to overeat is not eating until game time rolls around later in the day. Skipping breakfast and lunch is more likely to make you overeat once you’re around all of the fatty, salty, and savory foods during the evening. If you eat normal meals that contain a balanced mixture of carbs, protein, fat, and fiber, you are helping to keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day and prevent large swings that contribute to overeating. Not to mention, your body deserves nutrition throughout the entire day, even on days with food-centered parties when you know you’ll be snacking and grazing a lot.

2. Sneak more color into your dishes

Do you love nachos? Add extra lettuce, black beans, and maybe some peppers and onions as toppings to boost the fiber and micronutrient content of your dish. Do you usually load up on buffalo chicken dip? Try pairing it with veggies for dipping alongside your favorite chips. It’s important to focus on addition rather than restriction. Doing this not only helps to make the dish more versatile, but it also promotes fullness and satiety to help prevent overeating by making a more balanced dish.

Chicken wings
You can enjoy your wings and pizza on gameday without falling off your wellness journey. (Photo by Alaundra Alford on Unsplash)

3. Don’t get overwhelmed if you do overeat

“I just had this pizza and cupcake, I’m completely off track now. I might as well just keep going and restart another day.”

Does this sound like you? For a lot of people, getting overwhelmed about overeating actually leads to even more overeating. You lose control of the food and no longer mindfully eat. Instead, if you do overeat, don’t fall into the guilt and shame that follows. Overeating happens. The best way to move forward is not to allow the one day of overeating to deter you entirely from staying the course, and the easiest way to do that is to simply enjoy the food you ate and say, “Tomorrow is a new day.”

Bottom Line

Millions of Americans watch the NFL postseason and the Super Bowl every year. Pizza and wing shops love this day simply because of the amount of money that they’re going to rake in from everyone looking to eat their game day favorites.

One of the best parts of watching the Super Bowl is the food, which can be intimidating if you’re trying to stick to a healthy lifestyle. However, it doesn’t have to be. You can enjoy your chips, potato skins, and favorite taco tip while also staying on track. Ensuring you eat enough through the entire day, adding more veggies where you can, and not getting overwhelmed if you actually do overeat can make sure you stick with your wellness goals on that day and beyond.

About Shyla Cadogan, RD

Shyla Cadogan is a DMV-Based acute care Registered Dietitian. She holds specialized interests in integrative nutrition and communicating nutrition concepts in a nuanced, approachable way.

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