It’s game day! The Super Bowl is tonight- the biggest night in sports and for many a big night in eating as well but that doesn’t mean you have to completely abandon your healthy lifestyle for an all-or-nothing approach. I’m going to capitalize on the fact this is a Super Bowl post and throw in some corny sports associations so bear with me…
I want you to prep for the game like an athlete… you think Peyton or Cam are just walking into Levi’s Stadium willy-nilly? Heck no, that’d be stupid- just like you walking into a Super Bowl party without an eating plan would be silly. Below are tips to set you up for success so you’re not feeling like a complete dietary trash pile come half-time… or Monday morning. I know I need to be in tip-top shape catch each time Cam dabs, Peyton calling “Omaha”, to see Coldplay and Beyoncé perform and make it through the hundreds of new commercials- very serious business!
- Prep your mind and body
- What do you need to do today to make yourself feel good tonight? Workout? Get some fresh air? Take a nap? Whatever it may be, do it- if you’re feeling at peace you’re going to be less likely to binge eat as a result of angst, being overtired or stressed.
- Be conscious of your eats during the day if you know you’re going to be indulging later on. This does not mean starve yourself. Eat a sensible breakfast. Try to get in some extra vegetables and fruits, maybe cut out some fattier choices such as cheese today and definitely keep all your grains whole- there are sure to be enough refined carbs at this party tonight. Don’t go to the party famished- eat a healthy snack … you don’t want to be the person who inhales the appetizer table upon walking in and going into a situation where there are lots food choices is going to set you up to make poorer choices and it’s also going to be harder for your body to give you hunger and fullness cues is you’re hungry… hello overeating.
- Bring your gear
- As always, bring a dish you want to eat. Obviously I’d suggest you bring something healthy but if your specialty food/dip happens to be a fat bomb yet everyone loves and requests it, bring it… but maybe find ways to lighten in up… sub Greek yogurt for sour cream, use low-fat cream cheese versus full fat, etc. That being said, don’t ruin the integrity of the dish, sometimes a little bit of the real thing is much better than a low-fat healthified version.
- Scope out the competition
- What’s looking good and what’s not? Are there foods you eat all the time, or available year round? I’m sure there are going to be some goodies that are a once-in-a-blue-moon-type foods. When I’m in situations with lots of indulgent choices I choose strategically… I’m going for my friend’s amazing buffalo chicken dip, but I’m not going for ho-hum French fries that are nothing special and available anywhere.
- Eye on the prize
- As I said above, choose what you want to indulge in consciously. Also find ways to incorporate healthy options without depriving yourself. My favorite way to do this is to use vegetables as scoops for indulgent dips… rather than chips or bread as the vehicle I love using celery, carrots, peppers, etc. in hot dips- the cold crunchy texture is a great compliment to the rich, warm, creaminess … In addition the veggies provide nutrients and FIBER to fill you up and help you feel satiated.
- Put your eats on a plate. Seeing everything on a plate helps your mind register the quantity of what you’re eating. It’s easy to graze from the table eating things here and there and not realizing what you’ve actually consumed.
- Yeah, I’m guessing you’re drinking beer. Fine, but make sure you’re drinking plenty of water as well. Drinking water is not just to avoid a hangover but hydration affects your satiety; being dehydrated sometimes comes through as feeling hungry… not to mention being properly hydrated with water is going to help your system flush the excess sodium and junk you’re bound to be consuming.
- Listen to the official (your brain)
- How’s the game going? Need to back off? Still hungry and need to go in for more? Keep checking with yourself and reassess the situation as the game goes on. Honor your hunger and fullness.
- Win or lose, tomorrow is a new day. Make some good choices and don’t feel like you need to unbutton your pants at the end of the night? WIN! Have a serious case of heartburn, eat and drink too much and suffering a food coma? LOSS. Either way, tomorrow is a fresh start, move on. Just like no successful athlete ever quit playing because they lost a game, no person should ever abandon their pursuit of a healthy lifestyle just because they ate too many chicken wings one night.