From fried foods to beer, the biggest Game Day of the year brings with it plenty of empty calories.
While indulgences, every now and then, are perfectly diet-friendly (Cheat Days are good for you, science has proven!), the plates upon platters and bowls of fat-loaded viewing party snacks can do a number on not only your diet, but on your health.
We spoke with Rebecca Lewis, a registered dietitian with HelloFresh, about the biggest and worst snacks for the Big Game, and how you can give them a healthy fix. Check them out here:
1. Chicken wings
Yes, they’re a staple, but they’re also a known gut buster.
“Not only are they often deep fried, but they are darker meat, and, for a double whammy, have the skin on,” Lewis says. “An order of six deep fried chicken wings is easily over 1,000 calories and that’s before you add in the sauce you’re dipping them in!”
A healthy fix: “Instead of fried chicken wings, do them baked,” she advises. “And instead of a heavy blue cheese-based sauce, do a chili and vinegar one instead.” You can also go for roasted wings, which will give you the same flavor but with much fewer calories.
2. Fully-loaded nachos
What are they full of? “Chips, liquid cheese, and canned chili,” Lewis says. “Depending on the type of cheese and the leanness of the ground beef used, an 8-ounce serving can reach over 1,000 calories and more than 100 grams of fat.”
A healthy fix: “Opt for a slow-cooker chili instead,” she says. “Purchase the ground beef at a minimum of 90/10 lean or even better, 95/5 lean. Select low-fat cheese instead of heavily processed cheeses.”
3. Seven-layer dip
“This dip, which contains sour cream, guacamole, salsa, ground beef, refried beans, shredded cheese, and olives is a calorie and fat packed bomb,” Lewis warns. “One cup is approximately 700 calories and upwards of 80 grams of fat.”
A healthy fix: Go for healthier dips, instead. Think hummus or homemade guacamole, and serve with a platter of vegetables instead of chips.
4. Chips, chips, and more chips
“In just one ounce (or 11 chips) of Doritos, there are 210 mg of sodium.,” Lewis points out. “But let’s be honest, who eats 11 chips and then stops? With all the dips that are also served, it’s much more plausible that you’re eating a much larger quantity.”
A healthy fix: Vegetables! They’re just one of the many foolproof ways to stay lean while eating out. Baby carrots, radishes, pepper slices, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower; your options are fairly endless. Choose the veggies that are in season (translation: on sale), and arrange on your platter.
6. Shrimp cocktail
There are many reasons to give up that shrimp cocktail, and its lack of nutritional value is one of the biggest.
“First the shrimp: 3 ounces is about 500mg of sodium,” Lewis says. “Then the cocktail sauce. A quarter cup is about 600mg of sodium. Combined, they make up approximately half your daily recommended intake of sodium.”
A healthy fix: Power up that grill! “Skewer shrimp on the barbecue, seasoned with cumin and serve with a squeeze of lemon,” Lewis advises.