Five Super Bowl Snacking Tips

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Your colon doesn't care whether you are a Seahawks or a Patriots fan. All football fanatics will encounter hoards of foods and beverages that are not necessarily the most healthy choices available this weekend. You don't have to drop the chicken wing or isolate the keg, but you can make better snacking choices to benefit your health while watching the big game.

Unless It's a Bean, Don't Eat It if It's Black

It's at the top of the list: Avoid the charred meats.

The majority of American grills will likely be brimming with hamburgers, hot dogs and brats set to simmer over the flame during the pregame show. Unless your doctor has you on a special diet, there is nothing wrong with consuming the occasional dish of red meat. However, once that meat gets blackened on the grill, chemical compounds adhere to the meat and are known carcinogens -- things that lead to your increased risk of cancer. If the hot dog is black, put it back.  

Dip the Tips

Nothing beats the aromatic blend of sautéing onions, garlic and melted cheeses. Many pregame appetizers include delicious dips and crock pots brimming with cheesy -- and deliciously high fat -- concoctions. There is a strong link of evidence between eating high fat foods and colon cancer. It doesn't even matter if you are a man or woman; the risk is the same between genders. So save yourself some risk and consume less of the fatty appetizers.

Dip the tip of the chip instead of drowning it. Better yet, reach for a celery stalk, dip it, and fill up on the fibrous veggie, not the fat.

Share the Six Pack

Inebriation on game day is synonymous with a good time...or is it? There is a link between excessive alcohol consumption and cancer. Typically this link is strengthened with increased use over time, meaning if you habitually consume more than one drink a day you are increasing your risk for certain cancers.

Try drinking a glass of water or low calorie soda in between alcoholic beverages and use moderation with consumption. Not only will you save on calories, you might avoid a nasty headache on the next work day.

Fill Up Before You Go

If you're spending Sunday in someone else's home make sure to eat something before you go. You don't have to sit down to a four course meal, but getting a quick, healthy bite to eat will help you feel full sooner and should curb your appetite. Drinking a glass of water or low calorie carbonated beverage can have the same effect: When you feel full you're less tempted to reach for the snacks. This is especially helpful if you are a vegetarian or have dietary considerations, such as food allergies

Don't Hover in the Kitchen

Although it serves as the focal point for most parties, try to avoid the kitchen and find a good seat by the television. You won't be able to completely avoid food -- nor would you want to -- but at least this way you won't be tempted to graze.

For a game that lasts hours, grazing in the kitchen could add up. A simple Web search for calorie counts provided these snack scores:

  • 8 buffalo wings -- about 440 calories for the bagged kind
  • 3 pretzel rods -- 120 calories
  • 2 cans of beer -- about 310 calories, which is brand and style dependent
  • 1 burger -- around 600 - 800 calories, dependent on your toppings and portion

Over the time span of a few hours, the seemingly harmless munching on carbs and protein adds up to more than 1600 calories in grazing. 

When in doubt, using moderation will help. If you can't bring yourself to avoid the amazingly delicious -- but horrifically fatty -- fried appetizers and entrees, sample a few pieces and then do what you came to do -- root for your favorite team and enjoy socializing and a good game.


National Cancer Institute. (n.d.). Colorectal Cancer Prevention. Accessed online January 25, 2015.

The Harvard Medical School. (n.d.).Red Meat and Colon Cancer. Family Health Guide. Accessed January 25, 2015.

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