The Perils of Monday Night Football

Healthy alternatives for game day snacking

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By Lisa Browdy

Health Blogger

Team sports are great if you participate in them. If you just watch them, especially at home in front of your big screen TV or (less desirably) at a sports bar, then you are probably going to spend most of the game eating some pretty unhealthy snacks. We've all done it.  So if you don't want to pack on the pounds while you're watching the Packers, then just do a little planning before the kick-off.

If you're a sports fan who simply equates watching sports with finishing off a bag of chips and dip, then think about whether you're really enjoying your snacks or just kind of eating mindlessly. Does it make more sense to you to pick something you really love and just eat less of it?

That is easier said than done, I know, but in my health coaching practice I suggest a trick called "crowding out." Simply fill up on better-for-you choices before the game begins. A dinner that balances lean protein, whole grains and green veggies won't leave as much room for chicken wings and Doritos.

Another method is to think about substitutions that will taste great and also give you some nourishment and fewer empty calories. If you like the satisfying crunch of chips and dip, try cutting up some red bell pepper (still in season) and opening a bag of baby carrots to dip in some hummus. Add some whole grain pita chips and you will have some food you love that loves you back.

Let's talk beverages for a minute. A lot of salty snacks make you want beer, and the more beer you drink the less willpower you have to put the snacks away. If you alternate, having a glass of water between bottles of beer, you'll stay hydrated and feel a lot better in the morning.

My favorite bar food snack is potato skins, which of course is about the least healthy choice there is! I can head off a craving for those fried nuggets of cheesy goodness by making myself this delicious alternative:

Open Faced ABC (apple, bacon and cheddar) Sandwich

2 slices whole wheat bread, toasted

1 small apple, washed, cored and sliced

About 2 ounces sliced or grated sharp cheddar cheese

2 slices of regular or turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled.

Preheat broiler, and put wheat toast on a baking sheet. Assemble apple slices on wheat toast to cover, then sprinkle cheddar cheese on apples and place under broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly (keep an eye on it and rotate slices if necessary). Take out of oven and cover with bacon crumbles. Slice into pieces and serve.

Go Bears!

Email: Twitter: LisaBrowdy

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