(BPT) – Healthy snacking and making good food choices can be difficult any time of the year, but it can be especially tough during the big game. Business Insider reports that only 80 percent of people who start a New Year’s resolution keep that resolution through February. This happens to correspond with the biggest football game of the year and the common food temptations that go along with it — chicken wings, chips and salsa, pizza, not to mention beer.
Bryan Snyder, registered dietitian and nutrition director for the Denver Broncos, who is responsible for keeping the year-round nutrition strategies for the team’s players on track, also knows the pitfalls for the fans. “I advise people trying to eat healthier to follow a sustainable meal plan.”
Snyder describes a sustainable meal plan as one that allows some flexibility to have a meal here and there that might have a higher calorie intake.
“I often see people go from eating a poor diet and choosing unhealthy snacks, in combination with not exercising, to all of a sudden deciding to work out every day and eat perfectly every meal. The issue that can arise from that behavior is that it isn’t a sustainable plan, and it doesn’t allow any room for those big game snacks.”
Snyder’s recommendation is to find a nice middle ground. Allow yourself to sneak in some of those not-so-healthy calories on game day, but also give yourself some healthier options that you can have while keeping a guilt-free conscience.
Snyder’s snack of choice? Pistachios. “Pistachios are loaded with antioxidants and fiber, which will help you feel full and prevent you from overeating during the big game, and give you an immune system boost as well.”
Other healthy options are pita chips with hummus, vegetables with vegetable dip, bison or turkey burger sliders, popcorn, baked sweet potato fries, or a cup of turkey chili. For those who can’t imagine game day without wings, Snyder suggests baking the wings instead of deep-frying to replace some of the unwanted and unnecessary fats.
“Oftentimes we want to eat healthier, but we simply don’t know what to eat,” says Snyder. “All of these options are healthy swaps for satisfying game day enjoyment.”
Snyder recommends, too, having a backup plan if you’re going over to someone else’s house to watch the game, as this can be one of the biggest pitfalls to straying from a diet. “Don’t give yourself an excuse to eat poorly. Take along some portable healthy snacks — such as healthy bars, trail mix or pistachios — to be sure you have options and don’t indulge in hours of unhealthy snacking.”
While it is certainly understandable and sometimes difficult to eat healthy during the big game, it is something that can be done with the right planning and preparation, according to Snyder.
“One other common misconception about healthy snacking is that you have to sacrifice great taste,” warns Snyder. “Follow this game plan, and I guarantee you won’t.”