Ready, Set, Snack: easy food swaps for the big game

Snacks on a table. Items include chips and queso, fried items and more.Balancing your game-day grub with healthy options doesn’t have to be a losing call. Courtney Cary, a senior registered dietitian in the Department of Medicine – Gastroenterology and Hepatology, shares some tips for snacking and what to include on your plate when watching all of the action.

Can’t have a watch party without your favorite dip? Cary recommends adding in non-fat Greek yogurt or avocado oil-based mayonnaise instead of regular mayonnaise or sour cream. You can also blend silken tofu or cottage cheese as a cream substitute in casseroles and baked goods if you’re lactose intolerant or want to boost the protein and decrease the saturated fat.

For the chips, corn-based ones are your best bet as they have more fiber than their potato counterparts. If you do go for potato chips, baked is better. Popcorn is another great snack as it’s whole grain and high in fiber.

Break out the air fryer for wings, pizza rolls and frozen potato products. “You’re not only decreasing the amount of fat needed to cook the food, but you’re also decreasing the amount of time it takes to make them,” Cary says.

Looking to add more veggies to your table? Buy bags of carrots and celery in bulk and cut them up yourself. Also, skip the prepackaged dressings and opt for a Greek yogurt-based dressing instead.

The best choices when it comes to adult beverages are seltzers or hard liquors mixed with low-calorie options like club soda, sparkling water or diet sodas. Beer and wine can worsen acid reflux due to the sugars that cause your body to produce more stomach acid to digest it.

When it’s time to start loading up your plate, Cary says to plan around the proteins. Go for chicken wings or nuggets over the sliders or meatballs as the red meat options are higher in saturated fats.

Another tip is to fill your plate and then step away from the snack table. This way you’re less likely to stand around mindlessly snacking during the game.

Cary stresses the importance of having a meal at some point during the day before kickoff. That way when it comes to game time, you’re not eating to “fill the void.” And remember, “it’s one day a year, so don’t stress too much and enjoy the day!”

Learn more about Baylor Medicine Gastroenterology and Digestive Health services

By Anna Kiappes

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