Every year, by Super Bowl Sunday, jeans mysteriously shrink a size. Okay, in truth, the jeans stay the same, but we get bigger. Why? We are football fans, so almost every weekend is devoted to watching games with friends and family—and all the eating and drinking that goes with it. After a season’s worth of hot wings, beer, and margaritas, we usually feel like we’ve donned enough padding to play some football ourselves.
So we’ve put together what we call the “armchair quarterback diet.” Here’s the play-by-play:
First Down: Beverages
There’s nothing like a cold beer to cut the heat of a plate of hot wings, but regularly consuming alcohol can sabotage weight-loss efforts. Drinking alcohol, especially when eating, can cause your body to “divert all of its energy to burning the alcohol rather than the calories you took in from your meal, which instead are stored as fat for later.”
Alcohol also lowers your inhibitions, making it easier to say “yes” to a side of fries with those hot wings. So opt for light beer in place of regular beer, and skip those margaritas. (cocktails are often made with high-calorie mixers.)
Here are two strategies for cutting calories from alcohol: Alternate each alcoholic beverage with a glass of water, and have a healthy snack before your drink so you drink less.
Second Down: Food
Chips: Instead of fried, greasy potato chips, try baked or air-popped chips, low-fat microwave popcorn, or home-baked kale chips.
Pizza: Buy healthy frozen pizza instead of ordering takeout pizza.
French fries: Choose baked fries instead of French fries. This simple swap can save about 150 calories per serving.
Buffalo wings: Instead of those fatty buffalo wings, try cornmeal-crusted boneless buffalo wings. Pair those wings with a light blue cheese dip or yogurt dip to save additional calories.
Portion control: By using a 10-inch plate instead of a 12-inch plate, you can reduce your calorie intake by as much as 22 percent. Try this buffalo chicken chili but remember portion control.
Tip: To help avoid the ribs and wings at tailgates, bring veggies and store-bought yogurt dip.
Third Down: Exercise
Overindulge in the ribs or wings? Here are some additional exercises to work off those calories. Walk the dogs for an extra hour each week will burn about 200 calories. Even something as fun as dancing (or a doing a touchdown dance), can burn three to six times more calories than sitting.
So that’s it! With these strategies, jeans should still fit come Super Bowl Sunday in early 2018. We wish you all a happy and healthy football season, and may your team always win!