Big Game Means Big Calories
Are you going to win or lose at the game of healthy Super Bowl snacking?
To choose the most splurge-worthy foods, here are the exercise equivalents for some of your favorite football-watching snacks from Charles Platkin, PhD, MPH, executive director of the New York City Food Policy Center at Hunter College and editor of DietDetective.com.
Since a calorie doesn’t mean much to the average person, the idea is to use exercise equivalents to provide a frame of reference that is familiar and meaningful and thus help improve calorie literacy (Platkin's Study).
10 Buffalo Chicken Wings
10 Buffalo Chicken Wings = Running the length of 149 football fields. The wings are fried and high in calories, and that blue cheese dressing can be caloric suicide. Ten chicken wings at 95 calories each is 950 calories. Three ounces of Pizza Hut’s Wing Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce have 460 calories. That adds up to 1400 calories. A few interesting facts, Americans’ consumption of the unofficial staple of Super Bowl Sunday – the chicken wing – is projected to hit 1.33 billion wings during the Super Bowl, according to a National Chicken Council (NCC) annual report.
Fit Tip: Use hot sauce without the blue cheese, and make the wings yourself. Go skinless, and bake them instead of frying. With all that football action to distract you, you probably won’t even notice the difference.
1 Meatball Sub
A foot-long meatball sub from Subway = 109 minutes of climbing stadium stairs. It has meatballs, Provolone cheese and marinara sauce on a hearty Italian roll, adding up to 932 calories.
Fit Tip: How about turkey meatballs (made with breast meat), low-fat mozzarella and a whole-grain hero? Or if sticking to Subway, try the Oven Roasted Chicken, which is 467 calories for a foot-long sub.
4 Samuel Adams Boston Lagers
Four Samuel Adams Boston Lagers = 68 minutes of playing professional football. The only problem is that, according to The Wall Street Journal, there are only about 11 minutes of actual playing time in a football game. That means you need to play more than six games of professional football to burn off four Samuel Adams Boston Lager beers at 180 calories per 12 ounces.
Fit Tip: There are some great light beers out there. Do a taste test before the game and see if you can make the event more special with some fancy low calorie beers. Miller 64: 64 calories; Bud Select 55: 55 calories; Michelob Ultra: 95 calories; Natural Light: 95 calories; Miller Lite: 96 calories.
1 Handful of Mixed Nuts
A handful of mixed nuts = 44 minutes of football training camp. Just one handful of nuts can mean loads of push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, sprints and more. Just so you know, 1 ounce of mixed nuts has about 170 calories.
Fit Tip: Nuts are healthy if you eat them in small portions, approximately seven to 10 in a serving. More than that is a mistake.
8 Potato Chips With Dip
Eight potato chips with dip = 35 minutes of refereeing a football game. Each chip is 10.5 calories, so that’s 84 calories. For each tablespoon of Frito-Lay French Onion Dip add another 30 calories, so assume a small dip, a half of tablespoon for each chip, which equals another 120 calories. Grand total: 204 calories.
Fit Tip: Try a low-calorie dip or make your own with nonfat yogurt or nonfat mayo. And use popped or baked chips.
KFC $10 Chicken Share
A KFC $10 Chicken Share – half a share = 681 touchdown dances in the end zone. Half the chicken share is three pieces of original recipe: a chicken breast, thigh and drumstick, which is 740 calories.
Fit Tip: Bake skinless chicken and use whole-grain bread crumbs.
1 Slice of an XL Domino Buffalo Chicken Pizza
One slice from an extra-large Domino’s Buffalo Chicken Pizza = doing “the wave” 2,194 times. One slice is 450 calories, and how often do you eat one slice of pizza?
Fit Tip: Try cheeseless pizza topped with plenty of veggies: broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms or even artichoke hearts. Also, avoid personal pan and stuffed-crust pizzas: The thick, oily crust means added fat and calories.
1 Tostitos Restaurant-Style Tortilla Chip with Seven-Layer Dip
One Tostitos restaurant-style chip smothered in seven-layer dip = 25 minutes of dancing to Lady Gaga during the halftime show. A single chip requires some serious rocking out. Twenty calories for each chip and 50 calories for one tablespoon of the seven-layer dip adds up to approximately 70 calories.
Fit Tip: The answer is salsa; it’s very low in calories. And pick baked, low-calorie chips at about 120 calories per ounce. If you’re eating the chips, have one at a time, and don’t put out huge bowls of them.
2 Handfuls of Chex Party Mix
Two handfuls of Chex Party Mix = 30 minutes of jumping up and down after your team scores. At 280 calories for two handfuls. Chex Party Mix is high in calories in spite of being lower in fat than chips.
Fit Tip: Don’t eat snacks like Chex Party Mix by the handful, or skip them altogether and go for some low-calorie homemade popcorn. Or better yet, make it air-popped.
5 Pigs in a Blanket
Five pigs in a blanket = 70 minutes performing with the marching band. Hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls or biscuit dough add up: Each one you pop in your mouth has 66 calories.
Fit Tip: Use low calorie franks, maybe skip the dough? Get some fancy mustard instead.
1 Deviled Egg
One deviled egg = 12 minutes of cheerleading. Ever try doing one of those cheerleading routines? They’re high energy! Deviled eggs are made with mayo, and in case you weren't sure, mayo is very high in calories.
Fit Tip: You can use low-fat mayo, or how about just hard-boiled eggs with hot sauce or mustard?
1 Cup of Chili
One cup of chili = face painting 22 wild fans. A cup of chili packed with beef, beans, peppers, onions and other assorted vegetables comes to about 350 calories. A blob of sour cream and some shredded cheese add another 150 calories or more, for a grand total of 500 calories.
Fit Tip: Replace the beef with ground turkey breast, or make the chili vegetarian. Top it with lowfat or nonfat sour cream and cheese.
4 Pita Chips with Guacamole
Four pita chips with guacamole = 51 minutes of preparing, cooking, serving and cleaning up after your Super Bowl party. The chips are about 13 calories each, and each scoop of guacamole is at least 25 calories, for a total of 38 calories. Guacamole is high in calories, but the good news is that avocados are packed with antioxidants; vitamins B6, C and E; and folate and potassium (60 percent more potassium per ounce than bananas). They’re a great source of monounsaturated fat, which studies have shown reduces serum cholesterol levels when used in place of saturated fats.
Fit Tip: Eat one at a time. Don’t just sit with a big bowl of chips and guacamole in front of you while you mindlessly watch the game.
Win the Super Bowl Splurge Game
The “Big Game” has become much more than a football game: Except for Thanksgiving, it’s the biggest day for food consumption in the United States. Enjoy yourself at those Super Bowl parties, but try to eat less and eat more healthy and you'll be the winner of the Super Bowl Splurge Game.