March Madness: Healthy Game Day Snacks

College basketball season means a lot of game day get-togethers and snacks, which aren’t always healthy options. It’s perfectly fine to splurge and eat your favorite foods on special occasions, but there are a few steps you can take to not completely wreck your diet or waistline throughout the season. You can approach these days in two ways: eating the things you want in small amounts or eating a normal amount of healthier options.

If you want to eat some of your normal game day favorites, go ahead - just pay attention to how much you eat. A healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean avoiding all of your favorite foods, but it may mean adjusting your portion size. To help you avoid overindulging, practice some of these tips:

  • Grab a smaller plate – that way you can’t put as much on it.
  • Don’t sit by the food – you are more likely to keep eating when you’re not hungry if all the snacks are left out in front of you while you watch.
  • Drink water and eat regular meals before the party – by starving ourselves all day, we are more likely to overeat and overindulge when it’s time for the game.

If you would prefer to avoid splurging, you’ll need to look for some healthy alternatives to snack on. This is where reading food labels is really important, because you need to consider the calories as well as the nutrient content of each item.

Some items such as salsa and chips have lower calorie counts PER serving, but overeating these items is so much easier since they don’t fill you up. If you do overeat, don’t feel guilty and don’t give up on eating healthy at your next meal or snack. Think of every day as a fresh start to making healthy choices.

Physician Background:

Nathan Franks is a clinical dietitian at Cone Health’s Annie Penn Hospital in Reidsville. He received his Bachelor of Science in nutrition with a minor in kinesiology from Pennsylvania State University. He also completed a dietetic internship at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.