Celebrating Football Season the Healthy Way
Football season brings with it cozy, joyful associations for many. Dressing in special colors, eating delicious finger foods, rooting for the home team, and being with family are part of what make fall wonderful for lots of Americans. Around the world, baseball and soccer bring some of the same feelings of comfort and fun.
Unfortunately, viewing sports also contributes to a lot of high-fat, high-sugar eating. This in turn contributes to worldwide problems like weight gain and sedentary lifestyle, which lead to even worse problems – heart disease, diabetes, cancer and more.
That’s the bad news. The good news? Football season is actually a fantastic opportunity to up your healthful decision-making, both for your own sake and your family’s. Here are some ideas for getting the job done.
Sub Out Sitting with Physical ExerciseNot all the time, naturally. Part of the joy of watching a game is snuggling up on the couch with little ones or palling around with friends. But whenever possible, try subbing in some low-key exercise to compensate.
Halftime WalksUnless it’s the Superbowl and you’ve just gotta catch that halftime show, most halftimes are expendable. You can fit a nice walk around the block or up the hill in those 20 free minutes, so go for it.
Pre-Game GamesTossing the pigskin in the yard is a great way to get your blood pumping while celebrating the spirit of the season. Get kiddos involved young in order to teach them heart-healthy values.
Choose Healthier FoodsCutting out the oodles of fat and sugar associated with football season also helps you stay slimmer and healthier. Go for substitutes such as:
Veggie TraysOkay, so veggies trays have a rap for being just a teensy bit boring. Jazz yours up with untraditional choices that add a little sweetness and fun to your afternoon. Jicama slices, sweet Italian peppers and prosciutto-wrapped asparagus are all creative ways to get more of the good stuff in your diet.
Low-Fat SnacksTry subbing in lean chicken for steak in quesadillas, tortilla chips and salsa for potato chips and onion dip, and sweet potato or kale chips for other high-fat, additive-laced snacks. Make pans of lasagna or meatloaf with turkey instead of beef, and put out platters of fruit instead of cupcakes.
Everyone loves chocolate. Well, except Martians, maybe. Okay, fine, most everyone loves chocolate. Whatever the case, if you serve treats made with chocolate or just plain old chocolate bars, your family and guests will likely be down for the tasty grub.
If so, may we suggest our guiltless sugar-free chocolate bars? They’re delicious, made with cacao and all natural ingredients, and you can still get that milk chocolate flavor - dairy free.
Next time your favorite team is set to play, get ready for kickoff with a plate of healthy treats and a plan for beating the laziness that sets in after hours of sitting around. There’s no saying sports can’t still be a great excuse to get together and take a load off; just do it a little more healthfully and your body will thank you.