Are you ready? WooHoo! Football is now in season. I know not all women are into football, but if you are, listen up. Summer is coming to an end, kids back in school, and we are waiting for Fall to show her kaleidoscope of colors. Along with this transition of summer fun melting into Fall comes all the foods that can wreek havoc on our awesome bodies if we’re not careful. Let’s face it, the real reason we head to the football stadiums every year isn’t always to root on our favorite teams in hopes of a Super Bowl win. It’s all about two things: 1) guys in tight pants and 2) food. Funny thing is, all the food that stadiums serve up can keep us girls out of our fav pair of pants. Not cool. So when it comes to making it through the football season without resorting to sweat pants, we have to remember to make “healthy choices” when at the games or when watching the big screen. Besides, who wants to wear those ugly looking, baggy sweats anyway? NOT ME! We have to educate ourselves on the worst of the worst. I’m talking football food. I’ve listed five examples of the worst foods, followed by a better suggestion. Now this better suggestion is just that—better—-not the best. So, grab your tickets, throw on your team’s spirit jersey and start cheering for your fav team. Just remember eating right helps you in making a the real touch down….a healthy lifestyle.
Juetta Cincinnati Ben Gal
A standard serving of nachos contains more than 1,000 calories but perhaps the biggest issue is the additives. The chips are brimming with salt and the nacho cheese is probably more chemical than it is cheese. “Processed cheese foods” only have to be composed of 51 percent cheese. The rest can be anything the manufacturer thinks will make you eat more. Gross. Plus, let’s face it, you’ll devour those nachos in five minutes and still be hungry. So what’s the alternative? Ok, so try the soft pretzel without that gnarly cheese. Instead, zoom over to the condiment stand and pick up a packet of mustard. This choice is far better than the fake cheese stuff and nachos.
While the air popped variety packs more fiber than brown rice and more antioxidants than fruit and veggies, what you get at the ballpark is pretty much a health offender. The stuff is cooked in oil, butter flavoring, and loads of salt, all of which keep you slurping down calorie-filled drinks refill after refill. In one Cornell study, people with large buckets of popcorn ate about twice as much as those who had medium buckets — even when the researchers filled some buckets with two-week-old kernels. Here’s an alternative. Substitute the old tried and true Cracker Jacks. Even though there’s some sugar, the nuts add some protein which should fill you faster.
You know they’re bad, but you might be surprised just how bad ballpark fries can be. Whether they are plain or topped with Parmesan cheese, they can easily come with more than 1,000 empty calories. They are pretty much pure fried carbs. They speed through your system, spiking your blood sugar and shooting up your hunger factor two quarters later. Instead, try some peanuts in the shell! Remember the guy going up and down the isles screaming “PEANUTS, GET YOUR PEANUTS HERE”? Well grab him and know it’s far better than those greasy fries.
That battered and deep-fried corn dog packs about 400 gross calories into five measly bites. Even worse, it’s full of bad carbs, saturated fat, and the dreaded trans-fat. Trans-fat raises your levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and lowers your levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, upping your risk of heart disease (the number-one killer of women in the U.S.). Grab a regular hot dog instead. Now I must profess, it isn’t the greatest healthy choice, but it sure beats a deep fried doggie.
Hard lemonade is high in carbs, alcohol, and calories. Plus the sweet taste makes it easier to chug these down. While a bottle of hard lemonade can send more than 30 grams of sugar swimming through your veins, ballpark options can be even higher, as most stadiums use sugar-based mixes. When you down massive amounts of sugar with your booze, your liver can’t handle both and lets your body store the calories as a type of fat called triglycerides. They congregate in the cells around your belly which is the unhealthiest and most unflattering place to pack on pounds. Go for your fav brewskie. Less calories here and less sugars. But always remember moderation please.
So here’s the bottom line on how to beat the football caloric load. My years of cheering for the Cincinnati Bengals was a great time in my life and this is what I learned. I had to plan meals to make it through the game without getting hungry. Breakfast before the game was mandatory. Drinking lots of water and eating some kind of fruit during half time staved off the carb cravings. I waited until after the game to dine with family and friends where the choices were much better than stadium food. So next Sunday, when the big screens light up and the crowds start to roar, plan ahead and keep your figure from looking like that guy in front of you with a doggie in one hand and fries in the other.
Turn It On and Look Fab!