Football Isn't the Only Thing Coming Back: Protect Your Blind Side From Unhealthy Party Snacks
The screaming. The crying. The terror and excitement. What does this sound like to you? A scary movie? A dramatic family reunion? None of the above. It’s just football season again, my friends! A time to get together with your family and friends to support and watch your favorite team struggle and succeed (or tag along and pretend to care).
With games resuming, the neighborhood and family watch parties are back on -- along with all of the traditional party food dishes and snacks. Combined with quarantining and more time at home, it can be easy to settle in with calorie-dense comfort foods.
The easiest and tastiest options often come from the freezer aisle and, unfortunately, with extra calories, sodium and sugar. Luckily, picking nutrient-dense options over calorie-dense options can be just as delicious and exciting. Instead of fumbling the decision, the key is opting for those delicious and nutritious foods that can leave you feeling good at the end of the game.
One classic party contribution is bringing a 12-pack of your favorite soda. A solid choice, as it is easy, convenient and cheap. However, did you know that consuming one can of soda can meet your added daily sugar intake? Instead of bringing the sugary sodas, consider an equally convenient 12-pack of flavored seltzer water. Or another healthy and delicious alternative: try making your own sparkling water concoction with fruit and herbs. This truly hydrating beverage avoids added sugars and adds some pizzazz with the bubbles.
What’s a football game without some delicious wings? Those little confections are a great way to add some literal spice to the grand get together. To avoid added calories and sugars in the sauces, you could opt for dry-rubbed wings or try making your own filling finger food by making mini sandwiches. Mini deli turkey or chicken sandwiches on whole wheat bread can be a tasty, nutrient-dense option that is cost-effective, convenient and can be customized to the needs and wants of whoever joins the party.
What’s more classic than sitting down on the couch and passing around some delicious and crunchy chips? Most get-togethers often feature large bags of this savory snack. For a healthier swap, try to serve baked chips. These will be lighter in calories and fat. Or if you are looking for an even healthier option that has the same crunch, try a vegetable platter. These can conveniently be purchased pre-made or you can make one on your own. Just like chips, they are portable, easy and give you that finger food option with a solid crunch. An added bonus: they are also a great source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Include a dipping sauce such as hummus to add a savory taste and some whole-grain crackers for extra crunch.
Bottom line: Just like getting that first down, these healthy alternatives will make your game day party a success. However, it is important to recognize that living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t always mean cutting yourself off from or avoiding the foods and traditions you love. A dietitian will tell you that the best way to have a healthy lifestyle, is to eat the foods you enjoy while incorporating balance and moderation. If you are looking for some ways to freshen up your game day routine, these ideas are a great place to start!
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Written by: Hilma Porter, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern