Super Bowl Sunday has practically become a national holiday here. Over 100 million people watch the game (or the commercials) globally, and more food is consumed today than any other day.
Want some crazy stats?
A) The pizza industry estimates 350 slices of pizza will be eaten per second during the game.
B) Approximately 8 million pounds of popcorn will be consumed.
C) 28 million pounds of potato chips are expected to be consumed.
D) The California Avocado Commission (CAC) projects that 26 million avocados will be consumed mostly in the form of guacamole.
E) During last year’s Super Bowl, more than 450 million wings were consumed, according to the Washington, D.C.’s National Chicken Council and more than 49.2 million cases of beer were consumed by Americans.
Want some tips, tricks and ideas to help you make healthier choices today?
I’m going to preface this as I always do: I’m not saying that eating junk isn’t fun. All I’m saying is that eating healthfully is way more fun!
Let’s get to it…
1. Finishers. We love finishing things! That’s why it’s so hard to leave things on our plate; like the last few bites we might not even want. For many of us, we’re done eating only once our plate is clean.
The game plan: Let’s use smaller plates, dishes and glasses.
2. Never Forget. There was a fascinating study by the Cornell Food and Brand Lab in which one group of people ate chicken wings and the bones were kept in front of them. In the other group, the plates were cleared every 15 minutes or so.
Who do you think ate less? The group who saw all of the bones. We can do the same with alcohol. Always serve new glasses, but be sure to leave the old glasses out along with bottles.
The game plan: Keep all of our bones and food remains on our plate. Do not throw ‘em out. Keep all of our cans and bottles too.
3. Stop reaching. Always pour the chips into something. And if they’re already poured into a big bowl, take a few on a small plate. Otherwise, the hand keeps reaching. Having endless portions in front of us is a sure fire way to overeat.
4. Less is more. The first bite is always the best so why not reduce our portions? This works really well if there are a lot of foods we really want to try.
5. Are we actually hungry? Remember: Companies spend tens of millions of dollars advertising because it works. It cues emotions and memories. In fact, it can work instantly. Many of the commercials are for food and alcohol.
The game plan: As much fun as the commercials are maybe it’s not a good idea for us to watch them. Stand up. Stretch. Help out in the kitchen. Besides, the best commercials will be all over TV and the internet in the coming weeks anyway.
6. Double fist. Not necessarily alcohol but any beverage. I know this might sound a little ridiculous but it just might work. Double fisting means holding a can (or bottle) of beer (who says we can’t make it anything though?) in each hand. If we’re always holding something in each hand, we can’t eat.
7. Eat with your non-dominant hand. It takes 20 minutes for our brain to realize the effects of food we ate. Hence, we keep eating when we are no longer even hungry.
The game plan: Make it harder to eat. Use chop sticks. Eat with our other hand (and laugh a lot!). Let’s try pacing ourselves with the slowest eater. The slower we eat, the more full we’ll feel because we’ll be letting our stomach do its job.
8. Distractions. If we eat while we watch TV, or do anything in addition to eating, we’re going to eat more. Smell the grass. Live in the moment. Taste the food! Pretend you’re a food critic.
9. The health halo. Watch out for Subway, or any other ‘healthy’ eateries. Many people because they think they are eating healthfully will eat a lot more. The calories will add up and before you know it, our ‘healthy’ meal is not so healthy! Just because the cookies are ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ doesn’t mean they’re good for us.
10. Groups: When we are with 1 other person we’ll eat 35% more, with a group of 4 it’s 75% more, and with 7 or more it’s 96% more!
The game plan: Put whatever it is we’re eating down after each bite. Only take another bite once we’re done chewing the previous bite. Take a sip of water in between each bite.
11. Don’t call it a comeback. Towards the end of the game, we might find ourselves eating just to eat. Are you really still hungry? If you’re not hungry but choose to eat anyway — say out loud, “I’m not hungry but I’m going to eat this anyway!” (Or at least say it to yourself.) This helps to wake your long term, rational mind up because many times we’re just eating to eat.
It also helps to let people know we’re crazy when we talk out loud!
12. Make it harder! If you’re having your own party, only serve in the kitchen. Being able to roll over and grab more food is going to make it very easy to eat a lot.
The game plan: If you’re at a party, do not ask anyone to get you anything. Get your food yourself.
13. Wear tight, tight pants! It’s a lot easier to stop eating when our clothes and belt starts telling us we’re full.
The game plan: Wear very tight pants because then you’ll have to stop eating when you’re stuffed. We’ll just be too uncomfortable otherwise.
14. To drink or not to drink? Is alcohol a trigger? Our irrational mind tends to get a lot louder after a few drinks. Alcoholic drinks are not only loaded with calories but they are likely to lower our inhibitions and might trigger us to eat more than we really want to.
The game plan: Don’t drink tonight and the Body Tutor on your shoulder might just be a little louder than the devil on your other shoulder.
15. Focus on the special stuff. Don’t waste calories on large portions of food you can eat every day. Limit the variety you have.
The game plan: Only two items on your plate at any one time. Having a lot of different items on our plate stimulates our appetite.
16. Is it worth it? Ask yourself, “Is this really and truly worth it?” before you dig in. Many times, we’re just eating food simply because it’s available.
17. The easiest tip of all! Eat before the game! If you have a wonderful meal before the game, you’ll be a lot less tempted to eat during the game.
19. Perfection doesn’t exist! (See how I skipped number 18? Can’t be perfect!) Most importantly, and this is somewhat counterintuitive, don’t sweat it if you make a dietary mistake or two or three.
Just like any other day, Super Bowl Sunday will have its ups and downs. There is no perfect day much less perfect Super Bowl Sunday.
As always, if you’re consistent with your diet (and exercise) for the other 364 days you should be in great shape. If you’re not, I guarantee it’s because you’re not staying consistent with your diet and/or exercise.