January 24, 2020

Football Sunday: A Dietitian’s Healthy Game Day Survival Guide

What if we told you that watching a football game doesn't have to compromise your health goals?

It’s possible to navigate the food table and make smart eating choices on game day—we promise. Keep reading for game day survival tips provided by Wellstone Health Partners Dietitian, Carey Stites.     

Survival Tip #1:  Forgo "saving”

Skipping meals before the big game with the intent to “save” calories typically results in consuming more food at the celebration. When you are starving, it becomes difficult to make healthy choices, and the body craves sugar and fat to instantly suppress the hunger pangs.  Smaller, more frequent meals enhance metabolism and curb binging on game day snacks. A great plan of action is to begin the day by eating a healthy breakfast complete with protein and complex carbohydrates, such as oatmeal with almonds or hard boiled eggs and fruit.  About one to two hours before the gathering, have a light snack along with a bottle of water to take the edge off your appetite and keep your blood sugar in check. 

Survival Tip #2: Offer to bring a healthy dish

When appropriate, ask the party host ahead of time if you can bring a dish. The selection of unhealthy foods served can be irresistible and by bringing a healthy dish, you can plan to be worry-free at the gathering knowing there is something wholesome available to eat. Ideas include a vegetable platter with hummus, seasonal fruit salad or baked tortilla chips and salsa. If you are staying home for the game, include a healthy option in the evening menu.

Survival Tip #3:  Have a plate plan

Before filling your plate, devise a “plan of attack.” Begin by taking a smaller plate (if available) and scout out your favorite dishes. Browse the food selection to find out what you really want and what you can pass up without feeling deprived. Avoid the temptation of returning for seconds by sitting as far away from your favorite foods as possible. Fill your plate with the healthier options first, then fill in with your most loved party delicacies.

Survival Tip #4:  Drink water often, eat slowly and talk regularly

According to a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, obese people tend to chew their food less than lean people do, regardless of the food or bite size.  The study found when people chewed their meals more than usual, the hormones regulating satiety and fullness increased.  Overall, researchers concluded increasing chewing activity could become a valuable tool to reducing caloric intake and weight loss. Don’t forget to drink water in between game day indulgences. Add sliced fruit for flavor

Last but not least, be chatty! Catch up with relatives and friends who you have not seen in while.  Begin with the familiar ice breaker of “how have you been?” and tune in to the life stories you have missed.  Share your stories as well!

Carey Stites is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian working for Wellstone Health Partners in Harker Heights. Carey has been a practicing Dietitian since 2001 with experience in both outpatient and inpatient medical nutrition therapy and sports nutrition. Carey is also an AFAA certified group fitness instructor and personal trainer. Carey has promoted health and wellness through presentations, classes, writing and cooking demonstrations all over Texas.

To schedule an appointment with Carey, call 254-618-1040.

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