Heading to a friend’s house to watch the big game this weekend?
Even if you give yourself a little pep talk before you roll up to your buddy’s house, once the snack table is in sight, we know how it goes: all resolve goes out the window.
Take a cue from the players themselves: It all comes down to the game plan.
Yes, the wings look fantastic and the cheese dip is calling to you, but there are strategies to stay healthy, have fun, and not derail your diet.
How to Make (Mostly) Healthy Food Choices When Watching the Game
1. Fill Up on the Healthy Stuff
Game day parties can have healthy snacks, too. Load your plate with cleaner options first, such as lean protein and veggies so you’ll stay full, recommends Katie Proctor, a registered dietitian.
After you eat the healthy snacks, return to the snack table just once for a more indulgent snack, like a dessert or something cheese-based. By filling up on healthy snacks, you’ll be less tempted to indulge in the less healthy ones.
2. Be Picky When It Comes to Treats
“When I go to any party, I like to survey my options before digging in,” says Proctor.
She recommends picking one or two snacks that really call to you and ditching the ones that aren’t. Look for the ones that are more unique or a dish that’s homemade, not something that looks like it came straight from a can or the microwave.
3. Drink Wiser
If, for you, watching the game is synonymous with drinking beer, Proctor recommends choosing a single, full-flavored craft beer rather than drinking multiple light beers.
“Calorie-wise, it’s about the same,” she says, “but you may feel more satisfied in taste and fullness with the full-calorie beer, and less likely to reach for multiple.”
4. BYOD: Bring Your Own Dish
When you bring your own snack, you can choose the ingredients you’ll feel good about serving (and eating). Put a spin on traditional football season fare.
Proctor’s go-to is buffalo cauliflower bites or bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with a bit of goat cheese.
For grilling, bring leaner meats such as bison or chicken, or select a hearty, protein-packed bean chili.
If you’re looking for some healthy snack options to bring to a game day party, try any of these 65 Healthy Game Day Recipes or these yummy FIXATE Game Day Snacks created by Autumn Calabrese and her brother chef Bobby Calabrese.