The Super Bowl has become much more than a football game: It’s the second biggest day for food consumption in the United States after Thanksgiving. So, to help you make the healthiest Super Bowl food choices Charles Platkin, PhD, MPH, public health advocate, editor of DietDetective.com and Distinguished Lecturer (professor) at the CUNY School of Public Health at HUNTER College has compiled a list of some favorite Super Bowl snacks with their calorie counts – and what it might take to burn off those calories. The idea is to use exercise equivalents to provide a reference for calories and to eat mindfully during the Big Game. After all, is devouring a bucketful of Buffalo wings really worth risking a big butt? While no one expects you to run the length of 141 football fields or dance for an hour straight, the following information should get you thinking about just how many calories it is you’re about to consume. The point is to still have fun and enjoy the food. Just do the latter thoughtfully.
Here, some favorite Super Bowl foods and the exercise equivalents it takes to burn off their calories …
HANDFUL OF PITA CHIPS, EACH WITH ARTICHOKE DIP = RUNNING 141 FOOTBALL FIELDS
Each chip is 13 calories, plus just 1 tablespoon, probably just about a chips worth, of dip is 80 calories.
Diet Pro: Make your own 100 percent whole-wheat pita chips, and use salsa instead of the artichoke dip. There are many different kinds of salsa, many with only 15 calories per tablespoon.
FOUR DOMINOS STUFFED CHEESY BACON & JALAPENO BREADSTICKS = 193 TOUCHDOWN DANCES IN THE END ZONE
While the stuffed cheese bread is probably very tasty, with all that fat it’s also a calorie killer at 160 calories per piece, or 640 calories for four.
Diet Pro: You can toast 100 percent whole-wheat pita bread with butter spray and Parmesan cheese. Or snack on some low fat flatbreads. JJ Flats are good ones.
TWO SLICES OF DOMINOS BACON CHEESEBURGER FEAST HAND-TOSSED SPECIALTY PIZZA (16 inches) = 209 MINUTES PERFORMING IN A MARCHING BAND
Pizza AND a cheeseburger? What will they think of next? Each slice is 490 calories, but it is hand tossed.
Diet Pro: Try thin-crust pizza, and if you really want to be super healthy, how about getting pizza without the cheese? Just add your own Parmesan.
HALF OF A WHITE CASTLE CRAVE CASE WITH CHEESE = FACE PAINTING 111 WILD FANS
These are sliders with cheese. Each slider is 170 calories. That’s 2,550 calories for 15, but they’re not very large, and there are 30 in a case.
Diet Pro: How about having just one or two? Or, make your own burgers. Opt for white meat turkey burgers if you really want to be super healthy, or, at the very least, use lean ground meat.
THREE SIERRA NEVADA BIGFOOT BEERS = 211 MINUTES OF COACHING FOOTBALL
There are some high-calorie beers out there, and this is one of the highest.
Diet Pro: Unless you love Sierra Nevada and realize the calories, your best bet is a regular beer or even better, one of those micro-light beers. The best would be Beck’s Premier Light at only 64 calories per 12-ounce bottle or MGD Light, also 64 calories. Michelob Ultra and Natural Light have 95, or you can go very low with Budweiser Select for 55. Sample a few light beers before the game to see which ones you prefer.
ONE SLOPPY JOE = 59 MINUTES OF CLIMBING THE STADIUM STAIRS
This is a Tex-Mex creation that includes fatty ground beef, sugar, ketchup and even flour. Sloppy Joes have more than 500 calories with the bun, which is about 150 calories.
Diet Pro: Use lean ground beef and try a low-calorie sauce (without sugar). It will still taste great. Also, add chopped veggies (onions, peppers, broccoli) to the meat to lower overall calories and increase health benefits.
SIX TRADITIONAL HAND-SPUN BUFFALO WILD WINGS DIPPED IN RANCH DRESSING = DOING “THE WAVE” 6,480 TIMES
Stand up, wave your hand and be counted 6,480 times. Six wings from Buffalo Wild Wings have 990 calories. Then add about two servings of ranch dressing at 170 calories each for a total of 340 calories. That’s 1,330 calories if you have only a small dip of dressing per wing.
Diet Pro: Make your own chicken wings. Go skinless and bake instead of deep frying them.
TWO HANDSFUL OF CHEETOS JUMBO PUFFS = 30 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 almost three games of professional football to burn off two handsful of Cheetos. Keep in mind, that’s 320 calories for about 2 ounces. Yes, only 2 ounces.
Diet Pro: How about making your own popcorn? Sprinkle it with Parmesan cheese and spray it with butter spray.
ONE HANDFUL OF TRAIL MIX = 49 TOUCHDOWN DANCES IN THE END ZONE
Keep in mind that nuts and chocolate have about 160 calories per ounce, which is not bad if you don’t take five handsful before you’ve even noticed.
Diet Pro: Try having ONLY nuts. Nuts are healthy, but they’re very high in calories, so don’t keep a huge bowl in front of you. And try to eat them one at a time. Don’t shove an entire handful into your mouth all at once.
BUBBA GUMP JAMBALAYA = 375 MINUTES OF PREPARING, COOKING, SERVING AND CLEANING UP AFTER THE SUPER BOWL PARTY
That’s more than six hours of cooking, preparing and cleaning. Yes, Bubba Gump is a chain, and the Jambalaya has 1,100 calories. Jambalaya is typically made with chicken, shrimp and andouille sausage sauté with peppers, onions, rice and spicy sauce.
Diet Pro: Make a healthy jambalaya with boneless chicken breast and brown rice. That’s the way to go.
OUTBACK BABY BACK RIBS, FULL ORDER = 123 MINUTES OF TEAM PRACTICE AND CONDITIONING
Ribs are fatty, and the sauce is sugary. For the record, Outback Baby Back ribs are 1,156 calories.
Diet Pro: Try making them yourself, and trim all visible fat before and after cooking. Also, instead of coating your ribs with an excessive amount of sauce beforehand, partially cook them loaded with seasonings, brush them lightly with the sauce, and then finish cooking.
FOUR BACON-WRAPPED SMOKIES = 156 MINUTES BEING THE TEAM MASCOT
Popping just four of these little sausages wrapped in bacon will cost you 156 minutes of jumping around and acting a bit foolish. (The good news is you’ll be wearing a costume). The bacon alone (without the sausage and brown sugar) is more than 80 calories, for a total of more than 160 calories per appetizer. Four of them go down easy for 640 calories.
Diet Pro: If you need to eat some type of bacon-wrapped hors d’oeuvres, go with Applegate Farms Organic Hickory Smoked Uncured Turkey Bacon. Its only 35 calories per slice. Hebrew National Beef Franks in a Blanket are 60 calories each. And watch your consumption. Portion control is key.
THREE PEPSIS = 57 MINUTES OF DANCING TO BEYONCE DURING THE SUPER BOWL HALFTIME PERFORMANCE
Each 12-ounce can is 100 calories. So to burn off just three Pepsis you need to dance for more than an hour to a Beyoncé song. Can you dance for an hour straight?
Diet Pro: Opt for water, flavored seltzer, unsweetened iced tea. There are so many low- or no-calorie drinks.
Eat healthfully and enjoy the game!