Bowl season brings specific eating challenges for football fans. Tailgating is often centered on binge eating and drinking. Anxious and celebratory supporters often live for the moment and forget about the future. Emotional and social eaters beware of the desire to gather for tailgate parties where gluttonous consumption of comfort foods and alcohol are socially acceptable and considered part of the experience. Here are 10 tips for a healthier bowl season.
1) Pregame with fruits and veggies. Add a veggie or fruit tray to the mix. How about fresh salsa in place of that melted cheese?
2) WATER, WATER, WATER. Water reduces quantity cravings and cuts down on the consumption of high calorie foods. Add lemon for a fresh change.
3) Healthy alternatives. For chip alternatives try baked chips or thin pretzels versus oily potatoes. For another choice try dry-roasted almonds in place of those cooked in oil.
4) Portion control. Portions can be kept in check by using small plates or cups for main dishes.
5) Lean cuisine. For your heavier foods try kabobs with lean chicken or chili made with beans and lean turkey rather than ground beef.
6) Alcohol is metabolic kryptonite. 1.5 oz. of 80 proof alcohol has nearly 100 calories. More importantly, studies show that even small amounts of alcohol drastically slow metabolism and increase appetite. In a study where participants had just two drinks (i.e., 3 oz. of 80 proof liquor) overall fat metabolism was reduced by an average of 73% (Siler, Neese, & Hellerstein, 1999). Alcohol is alcohol, and even most of the calories in light beer come from alcohol.
7) Schedule exercise prior to, during, in-between, or after the games. Schedule exercise as a reminder of how difficult it is to burn calories. Take a brisk walk with buddies, spouse, children or dog. This can replace emotional and anxious eating, while burning off some extra calories. The group can then return for the second half refreshed and ready for action.
8) Fill up on fiber and fat burning foods. Eating foods with fiber will keep you full and reduces appetite. Start with lean proteins and fat burning foods. Some examples are almonds, apples, chicken breast, asparagus, and spinach.
9) Be reasonable with expectations. Holidays are times of fun and frivolity with the usual weight gain. Gaining five pounds is not unusual. It serves as motivation for the New Year for a weight-trimming program that includes nutrition with calorie-burning exercise.
10) If gluttony is imminent, embrace and enjoy it! If you know you are going to participate in binge eating and drinking, make a goal to limit the gluttony to a specific time frame during the game. Perhaps lower your caloric intake the day before and day after or schedule in specific times for extra exercise sessions. Make exercise goals and write your GOALS DOWN!
Often, merely thinking about and making specific plans will keep you from putting on too much excessive weight, while still allowing you to fully enjoy bowling!
Dr. Marion “Will” Evans is the Academy’s Dean of Academic Affairs and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Conrad Woolsey is the chair of Sports Studies at the Academy and be reached at email@example.com. Dr. William “Wirt” Edwards is the chair of Sports Exercise Science at the Academy and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. They vow to eat healthy snacks as they watch all 35 college bowl games over the next four weeks.
Siler, S.Q., Neese, R.A, Hellerstein, & M.K. (1999). De novo lipogenesis, lipid kinetics, and whole-body lipid balances in humans after acute alcohol consumption. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,70, 928–36. Retrieved December 3, 2012 from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/70/5/791.full