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Surviving the Super Bowl Spread

Check out these Super Bowl recipes to help avoid the 'Super Bowl spread' of your waistline.
By
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

On Super Bowl Sunday, millions of Americans will be devouring pizza and gorging on potato chips while watching elite, finely tuned athletes perform from one edge of the big-screen TV to the other. While those pro football players will be burning thousands of calories from the opening kickoff to the final whistle, Joe Sixpacks from sea to shining sea will be loading up their plates and stretching their stomachs with enough calories to leave most bathroom scales screaming for mercy.

There may be a few dozen talented athletes providing the entertainment at the Super Bowl, but as dietitian Susan Kleiner, PhD, RD, says, "The biggest exercise on Super Bowl Sunday is from hand to mouth." And at a time when nearly 65% of men and women in the U.S. are overweight or obese, the biggest football game of the year will provide them with yet another opportunity to overindulge.

According to the National Restaurant Association, more than one-quarter of all Americans who watch the game will be picking up takeout food or having it delivered. Many more will be turning their own kitchens into small factories that produce tempting, king-size platters of chicken wings, juicy hamburgers, and nachos dripping with cheese.

At last year's Super Bowl, if you had consumed an average serving of each of the snack foods and beverages advertised during the game itself, you would have ingested at least 925 calories from first quarter to last (nearly half the calories of a full day) as well as 38 grams of fat and 890 milligrams of sodium -- from chips to beer to candy bars.

Eat Like a Super Bowl Quarterback

In 2004, football legend Joe Montana joined WebMD in a live event -- accompanied by cardiologist James Rippe, MD -- and offered up some tasty and nutritious recipes for your Super Bowl party.

"Food can taste wonderful without being salty," said Rippe.

"All of these recipes are either very low salt or no salt and low fat, yet they taste delicious. If you think that low- or no-salt food tastes bland, you should try some of these recipes. You'll be very pleasantly surprised."

"I was blown away by the brownies," said Montana, who led the San Francisco 49ers to four Super Bowl victories.

"I don't eat a lot of starches, but I do like potatoes, and must admit that the potato skin recipe is a great alternative with great flavor. I'm a difficult sell, when it comes to alternative for something I love to eat."

First, Do No Harm

Even if you're watching your weight and corralling your cholesterol, can you have your cake and eat it, too, on Super Bowl Sunday? Just maybe. A single day of splurging isn't necessarily going to derail all the New Year's resolutions you've made for your diet.

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