By the time the final whistle blows to end Sunday’s big game, two things will be certain: Either Green Bay or Pittsburgh will be champions of Super Bowl XLV, and more of us will be champions of Size XXL. In fact, as a nation we’ll down a collective 156 billion calories during the game, mostly from the terrible trifecta of pizza, wings, and beer—the gluttonous gargoyles of the gridiron.But what if there was a way to indulge in terrific football food—rich, meaty, spicy stuff—and not gain weight? The Eat This, Not That! team uncovered the super-simple swaps below; make them and you’ll cut around 1,500 calories of mindless game day snacking. You won’t notice the sacrifice. You will, however, notice the extra spring in your postgame step.
Worst Pregame Snack6 Chicken Wings592 calories40 g fat (11 g saturated)167 mg sodium0 g carbohydratesGoing to a Super Bowl bash famished is like going to the supermarket on an empty stomach: It’s a recipe for diet disaster. Your game day options will most likely include seemingly innocent chicken wings—which, in reality, contain more than a quarter of your daily recommended calories. And that’s before you dunk them in blue cheese! The better option: Eat a bowl of chili at kickoff—you’ll save yourself 300 calories. Plus, it’s the snack that pays you back. The protein and the fiber will fill your belly and prevent the mindless munching that football (and high-budget commercials) encourage.Eat This Instead!Bowl of Chili287 calories14 g fat (6 g saturated)1,336 mg sodium30 g carbohydrates
Bonus Tip: Make sure this is the last time you’re surprised by how unhealthy chicken can be—don’t miss our slideshow of the Worst Chicken Dishes in America.Worst Veggie SnackSpinach Artichoke Dip (1/4 cup dip and 8 chips)325 calories 19 g fat (9 g saturated)625 mg sodiumSpinach … good. Artichokes … good. But most of what’s in that bowl is processed cream-based gunk, the kind that can make your arteries harder to work through than the Steelers’ linebackers. Remember, just because a snack contains vegetables doesn’t make it healthy. Swap it out for tomato bruschetta to cut more than 100 calories and nearly 80 percent of the fat.Eat This Instead!Tomato Bruschetta (2 pieces)200 calories 4 g fat (1 g saturated)230 mg sodium
Bonus Tip: Staying thin would be easy if the Super Bowl were the only day of the year filled with hidden gut-bomb foods—but unfortunately, it isn’t. Check out our slideshow of the 20 Worst Foods in America for meals to skip on every occasion. Worst Cheesy SnackNachos (40 chips and 4 oz cheese)1,101 calories59 g fat (18 g saturated)1,580 mg sodiumWhen it comes to fitness, there are two types of people: The Haves, and the Have Nachos. These little chips are nothing more than a delivery system for saturated fat, and offer nothing by way of redeeming nutrients. For your cheesy fix, take a dip in good old Goldfish, a healthy-snack standby for good reason: You can eat a whole school of them before getting anywhere close to the calories in nachos.Eat This Instead!Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Cheddar Crackers (55 pieces)140 calories5 g fat (1 g saturated)250 mg sodiumWorst Chip DipLay’s Smooth Ranch Dip (2 Tbsp)60 calories5 g fat 210 mg sodiumThink laying a hand on Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers is tricky? Try walking into the supermarket and laying your hands on a healthy dip. Every time you take a dip at this ranch, you’re scooping up a few grams of fat. Go with Ortega’s Thick & Chunky salsa instead. Just as big-screen TVs were made for football, chips were made for munching in large numbers. With no fat and only a sixth of the calories, this salsa is delicious, filling, and guilt-free.Eat This Instead!Ortega Thick & Chunky Salsa (2 Tbsp)10 calories0 g fat170 mg sodium
Bonus Tip: Chips and dips can be as dangerous as a helmet-to-helmet tackle: Know what to avoid with our slideshow of the Worst Chips and Dips.
Worst PopcornSmart Food White Cheddar Popcorn (1¾ cups)160 calories10 g fat (2 g saturated)290 mg sodiumSmart food? I don’t think so. This popcorn is coated in powdered cheese and covered with salt. The smart food choice here is to go with hot and freshly popped microwave popcorn, like the one from America’s Best.
Eat This Instead!American’s Best Microwave Butter Popcorn (2 cups popped)40 calories0 g fat80 mg sodiumWorst Potato ChipsRuffles Cheddar & Sour Cream (about 11 chips)160 calories11 g fat (1.5 g saturated)230 mg sodiumMore than one handful of this fattening finger food will really chip away at your diet. Swap for Baked Lays Original for 40 fewer calories and 90 percent less fat. You’ll even get to enjoy more chips per serving.Eat This Instead!Baked Lay’s Original (~15 chips)120 calories2 g fat (0 g saturated)180 mg sodium
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