Nachos, fried chicken and other fatty foods are normally the football fan's diet of choice. However, it's possible to watch Tom Brady and Tim Tebow duel while keeping the calories to a minimum.
Jenny Shea, the registered dietitian at Shaw's Supermarket, knows how to have a delicious, nutritious football feast and maintain the appearance of a true playoff party experience.
"If you are the host of a playoff party, you can do things to lighten up your playoff menu without letting your guests know and without changing the flavor of the food," Shea explains.
One of the first things that Shea recommends is to use reduced fat sour creams and cheeses whenever possible. The use of reduced fat products helps eliminate saturated fats, and they have a similar taste to the regular products. Shea warns against using fat-free products, as guests may notice a difference in taste.
Another tip is to change the way food is prepared, such as baking a chicken rather than frying. Small changes in food preparation can make an impact.
"With the majority of Americans being overweight or obese, just tweaking these things a little bit can really make a difference," Shea says.
Shea also recommends having a veggie platter with a light onion dip, hummus and salsa with light sour cream to give various snacking options to guests.
While vegetables are not the first food that pops into the head of the average football fan, having them as a choice is a great alternative because viewers will eat them regardless.
"Since it's in front of them, they will be munching," Shea notes. "Everyone is going to be watching the game, and having a different variety of things that includes some vegetables is a good way to go."
To add some fun to the mix, allow guests to make their own pizzas or quesadillas. Sticking with whole grains and various veggies is the best way to go, but adding shredded rotisserie chicken and other choices will make the activity even more entertaining.
For beverages, everyone knows that the favored choice is beer. Shea believes that light beer is a good way to go, as the smaller amount of calories is better for someone looking to have more than one. Diet sodas and sparkling water are good alternatives for those looking to stay away from alcohol.
And for a good way to burn off some calories, the answer is simple: Stand up and cheer. So when Brady and the Patriots start scoring touchdowns, get up and get excited. The movement will be good for your health.