Super Bowl Sunday Made Healthy

IMG_4848I hope you are all off to a great start to the New Year, and are now enjoying the beginning of “Fit February.” I know it is difficult to maintain a slender figure over the holidays with all of the temptations around and indulgences. Research shows the people tend to gain about 5 pounds on average over the holidays between the consumption of more alcohol (wine and more wine), heavy rich meals that are eaten later in the evening (dining out), and sweets (cakes, cookies, pies, etc.). Some of the overconsumption of foods can be due to mindless eating as well, which occurs when we as consumers, are distracted and not paying attention to what we are putting into our mouths. For example, when we are snacking on a bag of chips or a large bowl of salted nuts and chocolates while watching a movie, we may lose track of how much we’ve eaten. Remember that every bite counts!

The above photo is a snap shot of a nutrient packed lunch (or dinner option) that is filled with variety (color) and moderation (portion control) and is a great example of how to balance a healthy meal. It includes 1 cup of low sodium tomato basil soup, a spinach and veggie side salad with 1/2 of a 100% whole wheat English Muffin with 1/4 of an avocado on top, and a few spicy soy flaxseed chips with salsa for added crunch and metabolism boost.


January is the most popular time when people want a fresh start and decide to make their “New Years Resolutions” to lose weight, eat healthier, and exercise more. However, many of the resolutions that are made are unrealistic such as “I want to lose 15 pounds this month.” When the goals are not achieved, people feel a sense of failure and want to “throw in the towel.” This is the wrong approach.


IMG_4787I encourage you to set S.M.A.R.T. goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and can be achieved in the time frame you desire). An example of a more reasonable SMART goal (or New Years Resolution) for the average person would be to eat a balanced breakfast within an hour of waking up daily, pack and bring a balanced healthy lunch to work and exercise 3 times per week for 30 minutes. Diets don’t work. However, making nutrition and fitness part of your every life lifestyle does work!


Super bowl Sunday is just around the corner, and similar to the holidays, it can bring on mindless eating behavior and overconsumption of unhealthy foods. Research shows that people consume up to 6,000 calories on Super bowl Sunday. That’s more than people eat over a 3-day period of time!


Consider the usual menu: lots of beer, loaded nachos, chicken wings, chips, pizza, sugary soda, burgers, cookies and more beer! A fit person can burn up to 500 calories an hour while running on the treadmill. This means that you would have to exercise at this moderate to high intensity for 12 hours just to burn off the 6,000 calories you consumed in one day.

Examples of unhealthy options and calorie consumption on Super Bowl Sunday:

  • Fried hot wings with blue cheese dip (6 wings = 570 calories)
  • Beef nachos (1 serving = 430 calories)
  • Regular beer (3 cans = 458 calories)
  • Potato chips (3 servings, 11-13 chips is one serving = 465 calories)


Here are some healthy options that I suggest that you can substitute on Super Bowl Sunday:

  • Turkey meatballs (2-3 large meatballs = 100 calories) – purchase at Trader Joe’s
  • Vegan Spinach Bolani (1/2 = 100 calories) – purchase at Costco or Farmer’s Market
  • Whole wheat pita (1 pocket) with 2 tbsp. hummus (~200 calories) – available at variety of stores
  • Veggie tray with 2 tbsp. hummus or tahini sauce (~200 calories) – available at variety of storesIMG_5564
  • Veggie chili (1/2-1 cup = 300 calories) – make homemade, low sodium
  • Grilled, boneless skinless chicken breast (150 calories) – available at variety of stores
  • Grilled chicken and veggie kabobs (200 calories) – purchase at Whole Foods or Costco
  • Build your own tacos (using 3 ounces of flank steak or ground turkey mixed with chopped lettuce, tomato, onion, cilantro and salsa) – available at variety of stores
  • Grilled chicken wrap on whole wheat tortilla with mixed greens (side salad) – make homemade or pick up from California Chicken CafeIMG_4856
  • Tomato, basil and mozzarella cheese skewers with balsamic vinegar on top


Healthier Dessert Options:

  • Fresh fruit tray with 1 cup nonfat or low fat plain Greek yogurt dip and 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • Raw, unsalted nuts (mix your own walnuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios) – 1/4 cup
  • Graham crackers with 1 tbsp. raw, unsalted almond butter on top and 1/2 of a sliced banana


You can still eat the foods that you love, but you need to maintain portion control. For example, if you really love chicken wings, I would suggest getting the boneless chicken wings and eating them with a hot sauce (not a blue cheese or ranch dip) and limit your serving size to 2-3 wings. Pair this with a salad or a large plate of veggies to nosh on while watching the big game. The fiber from the vegetables will also help to fill you up quickly.


Seeing that Super bowl Sunday is a celebratory day for most people, and that food is the focus for many, I understand how it can be difficult to “pass” on some of your favorite less healthy options. However, I encourage you to practice portion control. If you exercise in the morning (burning 500 calories goal), drink at least 60 ounces of water and consume healthy food earlier in the day (i.e. egg and veggie scramble for breakfast or Greek yogurt with berries and chia seeds and a light quinoa salad mid day), then you will have more room in your “budget” of calories for the day to spend on eating a few of those delicious wings you are craving. Nutrition is all about balance, variety and moderation.


IMG_5578For customized nutrition plans, grocery store tours or corporate wellness presentations, contact Courtney Sullivan, Registered Dietitian, Certified Personal Trainer and Founder of Nutrition For Body and Mind.

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