Lee: Game plan for the Super Bowl party

Emanuel Lee

So you’ve started 2016 out with a bang. Five weeks in, and you’ve established a regular exercise routine and eaten healthier for the most part. That’s before a Super Bowl party comes along to threaten all the gains you’ve made so far in the new year.
Don’t let it happen. Here are some tips on how to indulge on Super Bowl Sunday without going into a food coma.
Have a game plan
Just like Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, you need to have a certain mindset when facing such enormous obstacles (he’s facing the vaunted Carolina defense while you’re faced with a smorgasbord of food options that is screaming to get in your belly). Whatever you do, don’t go to the party in a ravenous state.
You’ll be setting yourself up to eat more food in one setting than you usually do for an entire day. Eat a handful of almonds or peanuts or some Fage 2-percent Greek Yogurt and fruit an hour or two before the event so you don’t come to a party ready to chow down like Joey Chestnut.
As is the case with most things in life, moderation is key. Limit portion sizes, especially when it comes to pizza, fries, burgers and wings. If you plan on eating every item on the table—and most of us will do just that—grab a smaller plate with the mindset that you’re not getting seconds. You can have your cake and eat it, too, but you have to be smart about it.
Load up on veggies
Most of the Super Bowl parties I’ve been to in the past have featured a large vegetable tray featuring raw broccoli, carrots, snap peas, celery and tomatoes. If that’s not typical of your party, then buy one or two trays and bring them yourself. You’ll thank me later. Crunchy veggies like broccoli and carrots are low in energy density (calories) while being high in nutrient density (vitamins).
If you can eat veggies everyday before a meal, you’ll have a lifetime of success in meeting your weight and health goals—guaranteed. That’s because the phytonutrients in veggies deliver a host of benefits to your body, including some belly-filling fiber before the main course.
It’s all about H2O
I like a great beer just like anyone else, preferably a porter or stout. However, downing several brews on top of the pizza, wings, chips and dip you’ve already consumed are the perfect recipe to bust up all of the hard-earned fitness gains you’ve made so far. Whether it’s beer, wine, soda or juice, it’s vital to mix in water—carbonated ones from Arrowhead or Crystal Geyser are my favorites—to keep the calories down.
Emphasis on lean protein
The last several Super Bowls have been a four-plus-hour extravaganza (or snooze fest, as was the case two years ago when the Seahawks and the Legion of Boom demolished Denver). Couple that in with the pre- and post-game festivities, and you’re talking about a 6-hour social event.
That means more time to eat high caloric bombs like pie, ice cream bars and nachos.
After you’ve loaded up on veggies, hit the lean protein options like chicken breast or turkey before going for the pizza and burgers. You’ll save yourself hundreds of calories over the course of the day if you consume mostly lean protein over ground beef and sausage, which contain less protein than chicken or turkey with up to 1 ½ times more calories—a double whammy.
Go with the guac
When it comes to dips, there are certain ones that are healthier than others. Guacamole, of course, is made up of avocados, which contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and provide plenty of belly filling fiber to keep your blood sugar levels in check. Opt for guacamole over sour cream and French onion dip, which tend to be nutritional zeros and higher in calories.

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