If you are a football fan, the party of the year is right around the corner. But if you are living with diabetes, you may be anxious about attending a social gathering on the day of the big game.Let's face it, football parties are not known for healthy food offerings. Noshing on too many unhealthy foods—combined with mindless eating (and drinking)—can wreaking havoc with your blood sugar. Put this eating game plan into action you'll be the game day winner.
1. Think through the game day menu in advance
First, drop the mindset that all Super Bowl snacks and appetizers have to be unhealthy. Instead, think about typical crowd pleasers and consider how you can make healthier versions if you're hosting. (Or if you're attending a party, you can offer to bring one or two healtheir options.) Why not surprise your guests with finger foods that taste great but are also good for their waistline? Spinach dip may sound like a healthy option, but the standard variety made with mayonnaise and cream cheese can pack in around 115 calories in every two tablespoons! Instead, replace the mayonnaise, cream cheese, or sour cream in any dip with low fat plain Greek yogurt and you'll reduce the calories to just 50 calories or less per serving without sacrificing taste or texture. Save even more calories by swaping chips rich in refined carbs and fats for the 100% whole grain, baked variety instead.
The food isn’t the only source of excess sugar and calories during Super Bowl parties. Your beverage choice can also have a big impact on your waistline and blood glucose levels. Alcohol not only provides a source of empty calories, but it can stimulate appetite as well. In addition, excess alcohol can increase the risk of hypoglycemia. To prevent your beverage of choice from causing your blood sugar to get out of whack or to eat more than you had planned, drink alcohol only after you have eaten, not before. And watch what you drink as well. Fruity drinks or drinks with added sugars can really pack in the calories and carbohydrates. Choose a light beer or a wine spritzer over cocktails and wine coolers for the best option. A regular beer averages about 150 calories per 12 ounces compared to only 100 calories in a 12 oz light beer. Figure approximately 100 calories per 1.5 oz alcohol and 95 calories per 4 oz wine. A wine spritzer made with 4 oz club soda and 2 oz wine would provide 47 calories. And don’t forget—it’s all about moderation! The recommendations for alcohol are no more than one glass per day for women or two glasses per day for men. So pace yourself, drink slowly, and sip on water in between.
One of the easiest ways to overdo it during the Super Bowl is to eat mindlessly. This happens when you are focusing more on what is happening on the TV and less on what you are putting into your mouth. To prevent mindless eating from wreaking havoc on your blood glucose levels, create your own personalized game plan for eating at the party. One simple way to do this is to set quarterly goals for yourself. Try to allow yourself up to 100 calories per quarter of the game from the available snacks and appetizers. If you stick with this, you will only have taken in 400 calories in total by the end of the game, which is a similar total to the amount in a standard meal.
Just like a football player wouldn’t rush the playing field without warming up, you shouldn’t expect to meet your meal plan goals if you focus only on your behaviors at the Super Bowl party. Your behaviors and food choices all day long will help to determine your blood glucose control and overall calorie intake at the event. Because of this, make sure you are taking time out to plan your entire day. Start your day off right by eating a breakfast rich in lean protein, whole grains, and vegetables, such as a veggie egg burrito on a whole-wheat wrap. Then make sure you continue to eat every few hours to maintain steady blood glucose levels and prevent excessive hunger. If you arrive to your Super Bowl party ravenous, you will most likely find yourself eating larger portions than you had planned for. To prevent this, plan to have a light snack before arriving, such as a handful or nuts or a low fat string cheese. Then, arrive to the event with your own healthy dish, have your game day eating strategy thought out in advance, and you will be all set to enjoy the big game while staying healthy!