Football season is back! And with the return of America’s favorite sport comes all of the football-themed food and drinks. Just because it’s football season, doesn’t mean you have to pack on the pounds. The three main culprits that lead to weight gain during football season are fried meat, sides and alcohol.
Fried chicken wings are delicious, but high in fat. For a healthier alternative try grilling or baking skinless wings, chicken breasts or chicken tenders. Another trick to reduce calories is to serve dipping sauces on the side instead of smothered on top.
It’s easy to overindulge in side dishes when you are tuned into the game. Lighten up these options with sliced vegetables instead of chips. Vegetables provide nutrient dense, filling alternatives that add color on your coffee table. Keep healthier sides closer to the action so they are easier to access.
Alcohol is a popular accompaniment to the delicious snacks being served, but calories can add up quickly. For every alcoholic beverage you consume, drink one glass of water. This will slow down your alcohol consumption along with keeping you hydrated. Always remember to drink in moderation. If you choose soda over alcohol, try flavored seltzer water instead. Seltzer is full of flavor without added sugar or calories.
Let the hard-working players inspire you! Whether it’s before or during the game, find ways to work in some exercise. If your team is playing in the evening, use your morning to get in a workout. Working out before the game can help set you up to making healthy choices during game time. If your team plays earlier in the day and you are busy prepping your healthy snacks, find ways to get bursts of exercise in during game time. It’s easy to get some exercise in during timeouts, half time and commercial breaks. Easy exercises to try are jogging in place, push-ups, body weight squats and high knees. Volunteering to refill snacks or beverages also gets you up off the couch for some added steps. It might feel awkward moving around while your guests are sitting, but exercise is contagious and if you make it fun, others will want to join.
Football season is a fun time of the year for enjoying time with friends, eating good food and enjoying a nice, cold beer. Remain healthy by revamping your snacks, drinking in moderation, increasing your water consumption and incorporating exercise into your game day routine.
Written by: Emelie Buell, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern
Source 1: American Heart Association
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