In the Spotlight

What's on Your Super Bowl Menu? Our Picks Are My HealtheVet Approved

Whether you're a Patriots fan or a Falcons fan or just a fan of a good game, the Super Bowl is a lot more than football. While much of the fun is cheering with friends and family at Super Bowl parties, a big part of it is seeing the TV commercials. Some people, however, use this as an excuse for engaging in unhealthy behaviors such as overeating, drinking too much, and breaking newly made New Year's resolutions.

Regardless of whether your team wins, or is even playing, be sure that the game is not a big loss of yardage for your health or your goals. Have a menu playbook ready for Game Day.

Veggie platter
Instead of fattening chips and dips, try a veggie platter.

Eating to Keep That Tight End

Even though the Super Bowl feels like a holiday for intense sports fans, it should not be a holiday to avoid proper nutrition. Follow these general tips to stay looking like a receiver, not a lineman.

  • Eat a small healthy meal before the party starts. This will help keep you from overeating and help you moderate your portions and appetite so you can make healthy snack choices.
  • Don't let the buffet catch you off guard. If you are not hosting this year, take a healthy dish to the party so you know that there is at least one good food choice.
  • Remember that alcohol has calories, too. Overindulging in alcohol hurts more than your sobriety - it adds empty calories as well.

Most important, use your own best judgment. "It's okay to indulge, just use common sense about portion sizes by balancing less healthy choices with healthy options," said Lynn Novorska, MOVE! Dietitian Program Coordinator. "When there's a break in the action, get off the couch and fit in some physical activity of your own."

Your Super Bowl Menu Playbook

The best way to get out in front of eating the wrong foods is to set the right menu. If you are hosting or even just bringing along a snack to this year's party, follow these tips. This will keep you on the offense against Super Bowl Sunday's two biggest nutrition risks: fat and salt.

It is recommended that adults eat less than one teaspoon of salt (approximately 2,300 mg of sodium) per day. You might need to further reduce sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day if you are 51 years of age or older, if you are African American, have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease. Heavily salted, high-fat appetizers, such as french fries or potato chips, can quickly rack up too much sodium and calories. Lower-sodium versions of your favorite snacks and condiments can pack just as much flavor while being much healthier.

Serve This

Low-sodium soft pretzels with mustard dip
Whole-grain chips & salsa or hummus
Low-sodium chex mix
Fruit or veggie tray
Turkey breast sub sliders with lots of veggies
Spicy low-sodium vegetarian or turkey chili
Appetizers using sodium-free spices for flavor boost

Not This

Potato chips
Creamy, cheesy chip and dips
Fried foods
Cheese tray
Ham, salami or bologna subs
Beef chili with cheese and sour cream
Extra salty appetizers for flavor

Be Safe So You Can Enjoy Next Year's Super Bowl!

If you choose to drink alcohol, don't get a penalty for drinking and driving. Plan ahead to make sure that you and others you celebrate with avoid driving under the influence of alcohol. Always designate a non-drinking driver before the Super Bowl festivities begin. Do not drink and drive or let others drink and drive.

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Updated/Reviewed: January 26, 2017