The “Big Game” has become much more than a football game: Except for Thanksgiving, it’s the biggest day for food consumption in the United States. So, to choose the most splurge-worthy foods, here are the exercise equivalents for some of your favorite football-watching snacks from Charles Platkin, PhD, MPH, Executive Director of the New York City Food Policy Center at HUNTER College and editor of DietDetective.com. Since a calorie doesn’t mean much to the average person, the idea is to use exercise equivalents to provide a frame of reference that is familiar and meaningful and thus help improve calorie literacy (Platkin’s Study).
Ten Buffalo Crispy Chicken Wings = Running the length of 149 football fields.
The wings are fried and high in calories, and that blue cheese dressing can be caloric suicide. Ten chicken wings at 95 calories each is 950 calories. Three ounces of Pizza Hut’s Wing Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce have 460 calories. That adds up to 1400 calories. A few interesting facts, Americans’ consumption of the unofficial staple of Super Bowl Sunday – the chicken wing – is projected to hit 1.33 billion wings during the Super Bowl, according to a National Chicken Council (NCC) annual report.”
Fit Tip: Use hot sauce without the blue cheese, and make the wings yourself. Go skinless, and bake them instead of frying. With all that football action to distract you, you probably won’t even notice the difference.
Meatball Sub from Subway (footlong) = 109 minutes of climbing the stadium stairs.
It has meatballs, Provolone cheese and marinara sauce, double meatballs on a hearty Italian roll, adding up to 932 calories.
Fit Tip: How about turkey meatballs (made with breast meat), low-fat mozzarella and a whole-grain hero? Or if sticking to Subway, try the Oven Roasted Chicken which is 467 calories for a footlong sub.
Four Samuel Adams Boston Lager beers = 68 minutes of playing professional football.
The only problem is that, according to The Wall Street Journal, there are only about 11 minutes of actual ball playing in a football game. That means you need to play more than six games of professional football to burn off 4 Samuel Adams Boston Lager beers at 180 calories per 12 ounces.
Fit Tip: There are some great light beers out there. Do a taste test before the game and see if you can make the event more special with some fancy low calorie beers. Miller 64: 64 calories; Bud Select 55: 55 calories; Michelob Ultra: 95 calories; Natural Light: 95 calories; Miller Lite: 96 calories.
Handful of mixed nuts = 44 minutes of football training camp
Just one handful of nuts can mean loads of push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, sprints and more. Just so you know, 1 ounce of mixed nuts has about 170 calories.
Fit Tip: Nuts are healthy if you eat them in small portions – maybe 7 to 10. More than that is a mistake.
Eight potato chips with dip = 35 minutes of refereeing a football game.
Each chip is 10.5 calories, so that’s 84 calories. For each tablespoon of Frito-Lay French Onion Dip add another 30 calories, so assume a small dip, a half of tablespoon for each chip, which equals another 120 calories. Grand total: 204 calories.
Fit Tip: Try a low-calorie dip or make your own with nonfat yogurt or nonfat mayo. And use popped or baked chips.
KFC $10 chicken share (half a share) = 681 touchdown dances in the end zone.
If you have half the chicken share, that’s 3 pieces of original recipe: a chicken breast, thigh, and drumstick, which is 740 calories.
Fit Tip: Bake skinless chicken and use whole-grain bread crumbs.
One slice of Domino Buffalo Chicken pizza XL = Doing “the wave” 2,194 times.
One slice is 450 calories.
Fit Tip: Try cheeseless pizza topped with plenty of veggies — broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms or even artichoke hearts. Also, avoid personal pan and stuffed-crust pizzas: The thick, oily crust means added fat and calories.
One Tostitos Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips with 7-layer dip = 25 minutes of dancing to Lady Gaga during the halftime show.
Just one chip requires some serious rocking out. Twenty calories for each chip (yes 20!!) and 50 calories for 1 tablespoon of the seven-layer dip adds up to approximately 70 calories.
Fit Tip: The answer is salsa — it’s very low in calories. And pick baked, low-calorie chips at about 120 calories per ounce. If you’re eating the chips, have one at a time, and don’t put out huge bowls of them.
Two handfuls of Chex Mix = 30 minutes of jumping up and down after your team scores.
At 280 calories for 2 handfuls the mix is still high in calories in spite of being lower in fat than chips.
Fit Tip: Don’t eat them by the handful, or skip them altogether and go for some low calorie homemade popcorn. Or better yet, make it air-popped.
Five “Pigs in a Blanket” = 70 minutes of performing in a marching band.
Hot dogs wrapped in crescent roll or biscuit dough add up: Each one of those you pop in your mouth has 66 calories.
Fit Tip: Use low calorie franks, maybe skip the dough? Get some fancy mustard instead.
One Deviled Egg = 12 minutes of cheerleading.
Ever try doing one of those cheerleading routines? I didn’t think so. Deviled eggs are made with mayo, and in case you weren’t sure, mayo is very high in calories.
Fit Tip: You can use low-fat mayo, or how about just hard-boiled eggs with hot sauce or mustard?
One cup of chili = Face painting 22 wild fans
A cup of chili packed with beef, beans, peppers, onions and other assorted vegetables comes to about 350 calories. A blob of sour cream and some shredded cheese adds another 150 calories or more, for a grand total of 500 calories.
Fit Tip: Replace the beef with ground turkey breast, or make the chili vegetarian. Top it with low or nonfat sour cream and cheese.
Four pita chips with guacamole = 51 minutes of preparing, cooking, serving and cleaning up after the Super Bowl party.
The chips are about 13 calories each, and each scoop of guacamole is at least 25 calories, for a total of 38 calories. Guacamole is high in calories, but the good news is that avocados are packed with antioxidants, vitamins B6, C and E, as well as folate and potassium (60 percent more potassium per ounce than bananas), and they’re a great source of monounsaturated fat, which studies have shown reduces serum cholesterol levels when used in place of saturated fats.
Fit Tip: Eat one at a time. Don’t just sit with a big bowl of chips and guacamole in front of you while you mindlessly watch the game.
*This is a guest post. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect my own.