5 Tips for Mindful Eating During the Super Bowl

A nutritionist shares quick and easy tips that can help you eat more mindfully during the big game.

It’s almost Super Bowl Sunday, when Americans cheer for their favorite team on the gridiron while chowing down on 1.45 billion chicken wings and 118 million pounds of snacks in their living rooms.

Unfortunately, spending three to four hours near endless trays of chips, guacamole, pizza and pigs in a blanket can throw even the healthiest of eaters off track. But with a little pre-planning, you don’t need to suffer from a food hangover after a champion is crowned.

“Encouraging balance, having variety, and being mindful about our choices can help us get the food we love, that makes us feel good, and that gives us the energy we need,” says Melissa Townsend, a senior clinical nutritionist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

Below, Townsend shares some mindful eating habits that can help you get through the game while enjoying your food — no counting calories required.

Don’t skip a meal
Stick to your regular eating schedule. That means eating breakfast and lunch as you normally would so you’re not starving by game time. Skipping a meal to be hungrier for a later meal could cause you to feel unwell or overeat.

Eat with intention
Evaluate your options before you select a snack. Choose foods that will balance your plate and enjoy variety. Eating from a plate instead of snacking straight from the bowl can also help you establish portion size.

Go small
Speaking of portion size, eating off a small plate, like an appetizer plate, can help you better manage your portions. Your hand can also help you determine portion sizes: Your palm is a good serving size for protein, your fist is about the size of a cup, and your thumb is about the size of a tablespoon.

“We don’t want people to focus on measurement and we don’t need people to say, ‘I’m only going to restrict myself to having that certain amount,’” Townsend says. “But if you know the size visually, it can help you with sticking to smaller portions without having to count calories.”

Pace yourself
Take your time while eating so you can identify if you’re still hungry. “Generally speaking, we say give yourself 20 minutes before taking that second plate,” Townsend says. This helps you recognize when you’re feeling full. You could also have one plate each quarter to give yourself time to feel how hungry you are and to enjoy food throughout the game.

Sip smartly
Your favorite athletes stay hydrated, so you should, too. It’s great to choose low-calorie drinks like water or unsweetened seltzer. If you do have alcohol or a sugar-sweetened beverage, pair it with water for better hydration.

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