Dietitian’s Tips: Enjoy the Game without the Gorge

A pair of hands dipping vegetables into a cup of dip

Created by: By: Allison Kuhn, MS, RD, LD, Kroger Corporate Dietitian

Fall and winter may be famous for their traditional holidays, but let’s not forget about football season, a definite highlight of this time of year! 

Despite the fun and festivities that come with rooting for your favorite teams, this sporty season brings tailgates and viewing parties that can also be epicenters of temptation. If you’re more foodie than sports fan (like me!) you may be tempted to spend even more time by the snack table. Here are a few tips to keep your portions in check.

  1. Flex your "MyPlate muscles!" MyPlate is the new food pyramid, and it helps people visualize a meal-based balanced diet. A major part of MyPlate is the concept that fruits and veggies should take up half your plate. Football parties are no exception to this rule. And you’re in luck! Usually a veggie or fruit tray will grace the appetizer table. You can incorporate these in several ways – pair a crunchy veggie with a dip in place of tortilla chips, or decrease your dessert portion and add some fresh fruit. Remember, think fruits and veggies first!
  2. Always pregame. It isn’t too far off base to think of parties like competitions – a battle against your own appetite! To go in with your head in the game, take note of your hunger level ahead of time. Going into an environment with a spread of food on an empty stomach is like throwing a football with a blindfold! Eat a nutritious, low-calorie snack before heading out the door to keep your intake in check. Good examples include hummus and baby carrots, a light mozzarella cheese stick or smashed avocado on whole-grain bread. 
  3. Take a timeout. The great thing about social gatherings is that eating isn’t the only thing to do! Once you’ve made a first pass at the food table, make it a point to enjoy the game or socialize for a bit before returning for round two. Remember that it takes several minutes for our fullness to register, so don’t rush. If you’re employing tip #1, it will be even easier to call it quits since fiber helps promote that feeling of comfortable fullness. Eating high-calorie foods too fast leaves you feeling more like a linebacker! Relax, and take your time.