Seven Realistic Ways to Stay (Sort of) Healthy on Super Bowl Sunday

Eat your wings. Just read these refreshingly simple tips from Julie Starr first.

Super Bowl food

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Julie Starr does not want you to give up your buffalo wings on Super Bowl Sunday.

Instead, the certified nutrition specialist and founder of Starr Life has a simple message: “If people think that they are not healthy because of their choices on Super Bowl Sunday,” she says, “that’s not the case.”

While there are certainly ways to make your game day choices a little better, Starr says obsessing over every last calorie is a waste of energy. Here, she offers her refreshingly realistic tips for keeping your nutrition in check—without ruining your party vibes.

1. Chill Out.

Even the healthiest eater is likely to over-indulge amidst a sea of cheesy, crunchy, salty snacks, and that’s okay. “It’s going to be one day,” Starr says. “You’ll probably be reminded of why you don’t eat like that every day, and then you’ll go back.” Cut yourself some slack.

2. Prioritize.

If you love chicken tenders, don’t deprive yourself. But if you only sort of like French onion dip, don’t let it find its way to your plate. “Figure out the foods that you [associate with the Super Bowl], and then choose which ones you really like and why,” Starr says. “Don’t sit next to the food that you don’t love, because you’re going to eat whatever is in front of you.”

3. Eat to Enjoy.

“I want nachos with nacho cheese that’s, like, orange,” Starr laughs. “I’m not going to make nachos with reduced fat cheese and yogurt instead of sour cream.” (If you do want healthy nachos, we’ve got you covered.)

The point being, once you’ve selected your quintessential Super Bowl foods, you should savor every last bite. Trying to trick yourself into thinking buffalo cauliflower is a buffalo wing, for example, will likely only leave you unsatisfied and more likely to aimlessly snack. Eat reasonable portions of the foods you genuinely want, then think about switching to tasty-but-healthier choices like veggies and dip, chili, or popcorn.

4. Use a Plate.

You know that moment when you realize you’ve accidentally eaten an entire bag of chips? That won’t happen if you use a bowl or plate. “If you don’t eat directly from the larger container, it’ll at least help you figure out what you’ve actually eaten,” Starr says.

5. Drink Up.

Water is your best friend at a football party, Starr says. It’ll help regulate digestion, combat a sodium-heavy spread, and keep you from mindlessly shoving cheese puffs into your mouth.

6. Take a Half Time.

Check in with yourself midway through the game. Are you still hungry? Uncomfortably full? Somewhere in between? If you decide you’ve eaten enough, move away from the food and busy yourself doing something—anything—else. “Put something else in your hands,” Starr suggests. “If you’re doing something else, you can’t eat.”

7. Host Smart.

If you’re the host, Starr has two suggestions.

First, have a few nutritious options. “You’re not going to be the only person who is trying to be a little bit healthier,” she says. “People don’t want to feel pressured to have something healthy, but people appreciate options.”

Second, save your guests from themselves and clear food platters when people are done eating. Nobody needs to eat the globs of cheese that have been stuck to a plate for hours—but if it’s sitting there, they will.