Healthy eating doesn’t stop on Sundays.
Football season is back, and if you’re like most Americans, that means your Sundays are booked solid from now until early February. Unfortunately, gameday is usually spent setting your fantasy lineups while absentmindedly snacking and drinking beer after beer, which isn’t really conducive to a healthy lifestyle. The good news is that it’s possible to make football Sunday healthy, thanks to these tips by Food Network chef Robert Irvine, star of “Restaurant: Impossible.”
1. Stop overeating.
The worst thing you can do on gameday is overeat. By getting caught up in the excitement, we don’t pay attention to what we’re putting into our bodies, Irvine says. “You put on your jersey and sit in front of the TV or in the stands with your friends, and you forget about the fact that you drank 16 beers and ate a few pounds of meat,” he says. “Before you know it, you’ve eaten 5,000 calories.”
2. Cut down on portions.
The best way to avoid overeating is to watch your portions, Irvine says. The proper portion of meat is about the size of a deck of cards, and the right-sized portion of a starch, like pasta, is the size of your computer mouse. “You need to visualize your portion size as you’re eating,” he says.
3. Make healthy substitutions.
A lot of what we eat when we watch football can be made healthier without having to sacrifice flavor, Irvine says. “For example, instead of a heavy mayo-based potato salad, we can make it with lemon and lime juice to get the tang without the calories,” he says. “Then, put on some spices and some sriracha, and you have a healthier and tastier option.”
4. Cut down on sugar.
This is an easy change – so much of what we eat and drink is full of excess sugar. Soda and beer are common culprits, but Irvine says there’s one more sneaky sugar bomb we overlook. “BBQ sauce is full of sugar, and people tend to just pour it on their food,” he says. “Eating less is great, but even better is to lose it completely and top your food with fresh guacamole and salsa.”
5. Make it yourself.
Avoid premade foods like frozen wings or pizza, which are often loaded with sugar, salt and fat, Irvine says. Cook at home, and look for opportunities to work in fresh ingredients to add flavor without adding calories. “Use fresh fruit juices and herbs,” he says. “Try to work in vinegars as well, which can help you digest your food better.”
6. Don’t deprive yourself.
While you should absolutely strive to eat healthy, don’t beat yourself up if you decide to indulge in some chips, burgers and beer on Sundays, Irvine says. “You don’t need to give anything up,” he says. “Just be smart about the healthier options out there, and try to work in healthy choices whenever you can.”