Fall and winter bring many joys: the colorful changing of trees, crispness in the air, and football games. It can be challenging to eat healthy when surrounded by mini corn dogs, deep fried chicken wings, French fries, sweet treats, and calorie-laden beverages.
How do you stay on the right path when confronted with these foods at football parties and choose healthier football foods? The best way to avoid a game-day indulge-session is to be prepared. Eat a large, filling meal before you leave for the party including a protein and healthy fat source. When we are hungry, our bodies crave foods that will be easily broken down and distributed into our blood stream quickly. These foods include simple sugars and carbohydrates found in chips, donuts, and bread. Upon consuming that donut, blood sugar skyrockets and the body sends out a large amount of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that collects glucose (blood sugar) and shuttles it into the cells. With a large spike in blood sugar, the body releases a large amount of insulin. Once the insulin shuttles most of the glucose into the cells, we experience a quick decrease of glucose in the blood. This causes the wonderful feelings of shakiness, light-headedness, and hunger that we have all experienced at one time or another. By sticking to those foods that contain some protein and healthy fat, we can avoid the blood sugar roller coaster that accompanies high-starch and high-sugar foods.
Here are a few tricks to help you stay healthy throughout football season, and into the holidays – yes, they are right around the corner – gasp!
• Eat a large, well-balanced breakfast.
o Make sure to include protein and a healthy fat to keep you satisfied, longer.
o Example: 2 eggs scrambled with spinach, tomatoes, onions, chicken and topped with half a sliced avocado.
• Eat a large, filling lunch.
o This point goes along with the first tip. If the party is not until the afternoon or evening, make sure to consume a healthy meal before you leave. Arriving hungry is a surefire way to set you up for disaster.
• Drink lots of water.
o This may seem like a given, but keeping yourself well-hydrated throughout the day can help you control your hunger and may decrease your consumption of other, less healthy beverages.
• Bring a healthy option to the party.
o If the party is a potluck, go for it. If not, offer to bring a dish when you are invited. Most hosts appreciate a contribution.
• Homemade chili (always a favorite)
• Hummus plate loaded with fresh cut vegetables
• Fresh –made guacamole
• Grilled chicken “fingers” with a homemade Dijon-honey dipping sauce
• Meatballs with roasted tomatoes and garlic
[Tweet “Healthier Football Foods via @fitandwellfed #TrainingTips”]