Healthy Eating Tips for Game Day

By: Madison Brunner

We sat down with Michele Pfarr, dietitian manager at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, to discuss dieting, and gain some insight on how to eat a little healthier while watching the big game.

How can we manage empty calories?

A. On game day, moderate how many calories you drink. While it is traditional to drink alcoholic beverages while watching sports, being mindful of the empty calories they contain is important. I recommend eliminating alcoholic beverages completely, however, limiting your consumption to one to two beverages can help to significantly reduce the calories you consume.  Additionally, don’t sit near dessert trays – this often leads to mindless consumption of sugary, high-calorie foods. At buffet areas, look over the options before making selections of your favorite items. Also, limiting your portions will help you to enjoy those foods without going overboard.

What are some foods to consume in moderation?

A. Dip trays are popular game day snacks, but it’s important to remember they are a high-calorie food and should be consumed in moderation. A healthier way to enjoy dip is to substitute chips with vegetables such as carrots and celery, which are high in vitamins and fiber. If you are preparing a dip, try using lower fat versions of ingredients to help to decrease the amount of fat and calories in the final product.

Is it OK to have a cheat day?

A. Absolutely! Everyone deserves a cheat day, especially on special occasions like this. Balance the rest of your day with lower calorie choices to allow more room for your favorites during the big game. Also, try not to go to the event hungry. This often leads to overeating. Focus on getting back on track after cheat days by documenting calories in a journal to track progress. Additionally, Fitbits and other wearable health technology are beneficial in tracking progress. There are many free apps that you can download on your devices to help you with tracking these habits.