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How to have a healthier party for the big game

Elizabeth Hall, MS, RDN, LDN • Jan 29, 2020 at 4:30 PM

It’s that time of year again: Time for the big game! Whether you are rooting for your favorite team, love watching football, or are just excited to hang out with friends, all get-togethers are incomplete without delicious food. Coming off the holiday season, many of us have made healthy eating goals, and tailgating snacks do not typically measure up. Most football snacks are fried, coated in cheese or a combination of both — not the healthiest options. This year, follow these tips to avoid being tackled by calorie-dense foods while watching the big game.

Incorporate fruits and veggies: Balance out the heavier items by adding fruits and veggies to your party spread. Pick up lighter appetizers from the grocery store such as a fruit or veggie tray or a cheese and fruit tray with whole grain crackers. If you don’t trust yourself to go shopping and stick to lighter options, use Food City’s online ordering and curbside pickup or delivery. It not only saves time, but can help you stick to your list and your budget.

Celebrate your favorite teams through your food: Show your support of your team by choosing foods that represent your team’s colors, such as colorful fruits and vegetables. You could even use cookie cutters to cut your food into festive shapes, making healthy options more fun. Homemade snacks not only allow you to be more creative, but you can also use easy substitutions to make your recipes a little more nutrient-rich like choosing whole grains, low-fat dairy, and fresh herbs and spices.

Get active: While holidays are notoriously calorie heavy, so are big game parties! The average person can consume close to 6,000 calories by the end of a big game. On days when you know you will probably overdo it on calories, try to move more to help balance the calories taken in with the calories expended through activity. Go for a walk, play an active game outside, or hit the gym earlier in the day. Activity helps to boost metabolism and energy to help you burn more calories throughout the day.