It’s the culmination of the football season that we’ve all been waiting for. Even people who don’t care about football or either of the teams will most likely tune in to watch the Super Bowl for a variety of reasons – something to do, a reason to get have a together, see/criticize the half-time show, watch the commercials, etc. It’s just so very American.
Super Bowl Sunday typically involves wings, heroes, platters, chips, beers, and anything else under the sun that you can think of to serve for a game as hyped up as the Super Bowl. Isn’t just the pits that Super Bowls falls almost exactly one month from the start of the year when we’ve all started vowing to take better care of ourselves? It’s like the NFL is specifically trying to make us all plump offensive linemen.
While Super Bowl parties may look a little different this year with COVID protocols still in place in quite a few parts of the country, based on conversations I’ve had with several of my training clients, people are adapting and still plan on doing something for the big game, even if it’s just with their family. The question becomes, “can we still enjoy the very things we love about Super Bowl without totally compromising our health and wellness goals?”
The answer is yes.
And I promise you that it doesn’t have to involve you chowing down on celery sticks all night and drinking water while you longing gaze at the plate of wings like it’s the love of your life (unless you’re into that sort of thing).
For starters, don’t make this the day that you skip your workout. Get it done, even if it’s only for twenty minutes. You’ll feel better about it in the long run that you checked that box off and if you start your day with a healthy habit, you’re more likely to continue on that track for the rest of the day. In fact, you can sprinkle some fitness throughout the Super Bowl itself by making a game out of it. 10 pushups for every reception, 10 squats for every quarterback sack, etc. It’ll be good for your body and the activity may help eliminate any potential boredom snacking that tends to occur during events like this.
Secondly, sleep is an important factor in your body’s ability to regenerate. You know going into it that Super Bowl Sunday is going to be a late night. The game starts later than your average game and with it being a nationally televised event, the commercial breaks are borderline ridiculous. If you’re married to watching this game to the end, you’re having a late night whether you like it or not. Sure, you can record the game and watch it in the light of day on Monday, but what’s the point? This is not your normal, run of the mill football game. This is the SUPER BOWL! Your sleep is bound to be impacted, so make sure that you do the right thing Saturday night and get to bed at a reasonable hour in order to ensure you get a quality night’s sleep heading into Super Bowl Sunday and do the same for Monday night in order to make up for Sunday. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to a host of health issues, so we don’t want this to become a nasty habit.
- Instead of ordering food for the big game, prepare your own. It may be a little more time consuming and a little less convenient, but in the long run, it’s better for you because you have total control of the quality of ingredients used and the amount of ingredients used. Using the example of wings, you can make it a point to buy organic, free-range chicken and organic, additive-free wing sauce. Even better is that you can choose to serve the wing sauce separately instead of dousing the chicken in it. You can even use an air fryer or an oven to prepare the wings instead of pan frying them in oil. If you want to go with the more traditional cooking method, use avocado or coconut oil instead of vegetable oil.
- In keeping with the above bullet point’s theme, avoid the big hero order from the deli and make your own sandwiches. Skip the processed lunch meats that are high in sodium and include preservatives and nitrates. Opt for a grilled veggie-alternative type of sandwich or grilled chicken/fish instead. Serve it on a bread like Dave’s, which has a higher nutritional value than your typical loaf of bread or if you’re like one of my clients and have the time and patience to do so, bake your own bread. Don’t forget that anything you make in your own kitchen is vastly superior than anything you buy because you have all the control about what goes into the food.
- Do not go into this on an empty stomach. I know a lot of people like to “save” their calories for days like this so that they don’t go over their perceived “daily caloric allotment” (which is not something I advocate in the first place, but that discussion is for a different blog post). The problem with this is that you end up so hungry by the time food is served that you end up eating everything in sight and usually go over that daily allotment anyway as a result. Eat a healthy, well-balanced meal beforehand and you’ll be less likely to overeat.
- Before putting any food on your plate, make sure you see all that’s available to you. Avoid things like chips, which will hardly satisfy your appetite and focus more on whole foods that will be more filling and more nutritious for your body. If your hunger cues have been satisfied, you’re less likely to overeat.
- Another tip is to slow down while eating. Take a bite of your food and then put the fork down while you chew (instead of inhaling the food). Pause in between bites. Slowing down allows your digestive system to process the sensory input it receives. You’ll probably find that you’re satiated (full) before you thought you’d be. If you don’t give the system time to digest the information it’s receiving, it can’t send the signal to the brain that you’re at capacity, so you just keep shoveling food into your piehole.
- Drink plenty of water prior to the big game to ensure that you’re hydrated. Drinking alcohol when you’re dehydrated is already starting off on the wrong foot. Hangovers happen because you’re dehydrated and no one wants to start their work week with a hangover the size of Texas. Let’s face it, if you call out of work on the Monday after Super Bowl, we all know what you did the night before. You’re not fooling anyone.
- Drink a glass of water before every alcoholic beverage to slow your roll. Drinking a glass of water between beverages will help keep you hydrated (helping to stave off a potential hangover) and also help you “feel full,” leaving you with less room for more alcohol (which, I’d like to point out, will also help you stave off a potential hangover).
What are some of your tips for a healthier Super Bowl or favorite recipes? Share your thoughts below so that our community can enjoy them!