A lot of clients tell me part of the reason the New Year doesn't help them commit to a healthier lifestyle is because there's still the Super Bowl to get through - typically a smorgasbord of wings, pizza, dips, chips, and beer galore. It's an unwritten rule among football fans that football watching = clearance to eat whatever and however much you want! But if you're ready for this year to be different, despite having a big event to attend to, here are some great tips on making it through without a penalty on your lifestyle.
1. Bring a healthy dish. If you prepare a healthier version of a dish, you know that there is at least one delicious treat you can enjoy that won't bankrupt your calories. Not sure what to make? Check out some of these delicious wing recipes, these buffalo cauliflower bites, or this tempting but lighter version of buffalo chicken dip.
2. Hydrate. Not only will you feel better the next day, you will consume fewer empty calories from the alcohol. Try drinking a glass of water between every drink. If you are drinking beers, try bringing a lighter version of a beer, and maybe only 1 or 2 of your favorite (but higher calorie) beers. If you're drinking liquor, try using club soda to mix with a splash of fruit juice. If you aren't drinking alcohol at all, try avoiding the soda or limiting to a cup.
3. Do not go to the event starving. Eat a healthy, balanced meal beforehand, such as a salad with lean meat, so you are not ravenous. When you are hungry, your willpower dips and you will give in to the smells and temptations more easily.
4. Peruse the food first. Decide what you absolutely want, and what you'd like to try. If you wait until you have a plate in your hand, you're more likely to try a bit of everything, and perhaps try a bit too much.
5. After your first plate, wait at least 20 minutes before going back for more. If you are still hungry, pick one or two items that you liked the best.
6. If there are salads, fruit trays, or veggie tries, try making your first plate at least half fruits and veggies. This will help you fill up on nutritious, lower calorie options first.
7. Determine how many plates you will allow yourself and stick to it. You'd be surprised how helpful this can be! If you don't even think about it, you may end up with 3, 4, or more plates. Be intentional with your food choices, AND how much you will eat.
8. Try to exercise that day. A long walk or a weight training session can help set the tone that you've done something healthy for yourself that day, and you don't want to undo the work by overeating or overindulging. However, don't fall trap to using the exercise to justify eating more!
9. If you are hosting the event: you are in a lot more control! Try to make as many healthy alternatives as possible, and have club soda, water, and other calorie-free beverages on hand.
10. Don't stand by the food, and similarly, don't put the food in front of the TV. Watch the game, mingle with your friends, but try not to hang out by the food where you will be more tempted to graze (and therefore unaware of just how much you are eating). Out of sight, out of mind!
At the end of the day, enjoying the food and alcohol mindfully during the game can help you stay on track and accomplish your goals. Set a plan, and stick to it! Go team!