Big game survival guide: 8 strategies to avoid overeating


This Sunday marks the biggest game of the football season: it's rival against rival and, quite frankly, you against food! The pizza and hot buffalo wings, cheesy nachos and dip, and the continuous rounds of beer can lead to a health fumble on game day. However, adopting a few healthy adjustments can help you survive the big game spread without sacrificing your waistline.

The game lasts for about four hours, and the typical American eats more than 6,000 calories by the end of the game. Rather than throw in the towel on your New Year's resolutions, kick off your day with this lineup of healthy eating and drinking tips.

1. Drink plenty of water

This will help prevent overeating and keep you hydrated. In Arizona, it's important for your overall health. Plus, drinking water can boost your metabolism by 24-30 percent!

2. Start the day off with a protein-heavy breakfast

Tailgating and sporting event foods are generally filled with carbohydrates and fats. To counterbalance that, try to take in some extra protein in the morning. You don't want to starve yourself beforehand because you'll just overindulge when you see the spread.

3. Don't drink your calories

Alcoholic drinks and tailgating beverages like beer and soda are loaded with calories. Drinking a couple could equal the calorie count of three slices of bread!

4. Indulge wisely

Allow yourself to enjoy the must-have foods you really like. But don't take a little bit of everything just because it's there. Choose quality over quantity.

5. Educate yourself

Take some time to research calories and macronutrient information on your favorite game day foods. This may be a bit of a reality check, but once you understand what you could be consuming, you can make better choices. For example: 8 wings = 412 calories, 8 ounces of beer = 98 calories, 6-8 nachos (1 portion) = 346 calories. Makes you think twice, doesn't it?

6. Sneak in a workout beforehand

Sure, you'll offset some of the calories you're about to eat, but this one has more significance. If you're exercising, you often have a larger goal in mind, and getting your workout done first will remind you to stay motivated and make healthier choices.

7. Chew slowly

Actually chewing your food, and not just mindlessly swallowing it, can help you eat fewer calories. This gives your body and mind time to digest what you are actually eating. Your appetite is controlled by hormones and you need to give them time to send the message to your brain that you're full. This process takes about 20 minutes, so slow down and eat mindfully!

8. ENJOY it

It's one day, in the grand scheme of your life, and it's not going to make that much difference. As long as you get back on track the next day, you'll be fine. Enjoy the food, enjoy the company and enjoy the memories.