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Your Game Plan for a Healthier Super Bowl Sunday

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Super Bowl is right around the corner and millions of Americans are making winning game day plans packed with quintessential football fare.

When it comes to eating holidays, Super Bowl Sunday comes in second only to Thanksgiving, with some reports suggesting that the average football fan consumes more than 2,400 calories during the game! That’s a pretty big number, even by linebacker standards. If you want to stay clear of nutritional penalties while still scoring a touchdown for great snacks with your guests, try these plays.

FIRST HALF:

Chips

Chips and dip are a classic first play for any Super Bowl shindig. Whether you’re going for potato or tortilla chips, a good rule is to keep the ingredient lists short. If possible, avoid flavored chips like “hint of lime” or barbecue. Regardless of whether manufacturers use natural or artificial flavors, flavoring chemicals aren’t what they seem. Keep an eye out for chips blitzed with salt and check labels for sky-high sodium amounts. Here are some keys to making a first down without tipping the scales:

  • Keep it simple and look for chips with short ingredient lists.
  • Stay clear of flavored chips like barbecue, cheddar or lime.
  • Watch the sodium: Aim for less than 80 mg per serving in corn chips or less than 120 mg per serving in potato chips.

Some chip recommendations:

Salsa

Salsa can be a great healthy dip if you know how to spot a few penalties. As with chips, you want to steer clear of salsa with a lot of salt. There is tasty salsa with NO added salt.

And don’t get blindsided by another sneaky offender – sugar. Sugar is often snuck into salsa to improve taste. Seeing “cane sugar” or the like on the label is a good reason to look elsewhere.

  • Hold the line on sodium: look for 120 mg or less per serving.
  • Avoid added sugars, such as evaporated cane juice, fruit juice concentrates, agave, honey, molasses, sugars, syrups, dextrose, glucose, sucrose or fructose.

Some salsa recommendations:

HALF TIME:

Takeout

If you’re ordering food for the final play of the game, you may consume potentially hazardous PFCs. A new EWG report revealed that these sneaky chemicals are commonly used in food wrappers, so watch out for those grease-resistant papers commonly found in wings containers, wrapped around burritos or tucked under pizzas.

Whenever possible, eat fresh foods and prepare meals at home to avoid the potential health risks of PFCs.

FOURTH QUARTER:

Pizza

Who doesn’t want to enjoy a cheesy slice of pizza halfway through the big game? But we all also want to limit heart pounding to game-day excitement. Pizza is the second-highest source of artery-clogging solid fats in the American diet, and the third-highest source of blood pressure-raising sodium. With a good game plan, though, you can eat a slice that’s easier on your heart.

Make your own pizza if you can. As guests arrive, break the ice by inviting them to add toppings their own pizzas. Then pop them into the oven at kickoff and dance in the end zone when your home is filled with the smell of sizzling, fresh, personalized pizzas. Here’s a fun, fumble-free recipe.

If you need to buy store-bought pizza, use these tips:

  • Keep the servings small.
  • Serve it alongside a crunchy seasonal salad to help guests eat more vegetables.
  • Avoid food additives such as sodium nitrite, BHA or BHT.
  • Steer clear of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
  • Do your best with sodium: 750 mg or less per serving is a realistic goal for this special occasion.

Steer clear of the worst pizza options and go with these recommendations instead:

STAY HYDRATED

Don’t forget to make sure the whole team is hydrating throughout the game – but skip the sugary sodas and opt for filtered tap water instead.

SUPERBOWL SUNDAY SCORECARD

No matter who you’re cheering for this Super Bowl Sunday, everyone wins when you serve healthier options that still satisfy all the fans at your gathering.

Whatever you’re looking for, EWG can help you find a better option in the store with our Healthy Living app.

Here’s how EWG’s picks stack up against standard football party fare:

See how all of your favorite foods match up by searching in EWG’s Food Scores.

 

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