The Super Bowl is less than a week away and besides the commercials, most people’s favorite pastime is snacking on all the indulgent food! It’s no secret that the commercials steal the show for most Americans during the Super Bowl, but it may come as a surprise that this special occasion ranks second behind Thanksgiving for most calories consumed.

If you are just getting back on track from holiday binging, tailgating could really throw your health kickoff course. Don’t panic, there are plenty of ways to enjoy yourself without destroying your diet. Use the tips below to enjoy your favorite snacks without all the guilt.

Give your wings a makeover: Chicken wings are a tailgating classic and most varieties are battered, deep-fried, and covered in sauce. For a healthier option, bake or grill your own wings at home and remove the skin to shave off nearly 75 calories per wing! Traditional wing sauce is made with copious amounts of butter, so instead drizzle your wings with a little hot sauce and skip the blue cheese dressing.

Easy on the nuts: Although nuts are a nutritious snack, because of their high calorie content you may want to avoid them on Super Bowl Sunday. Considering most fans end up grazing throughout the entire game, you could easily consume hundreds of extra calories without even realizing it. Choose light popcorn instead to satisfy your salty snack cravings, at only 40 calories per cup.

Add veggies: Chips aren’t your only choice for dipping. Veggies are low calorie and full of fiber, helping you to fell fuller longer. Fill a tray with a variety of veggies to satisfy your craving for crunch without any guilt. Some great options are baby carrots, colored bell pepper, celery, and cucumber.

Replace creamy dips: Just because there’s a green vegetable in spinach dip doesn’t make it a healthy choice. Cream-based dips can have nearly 100 calories per tablespoon, which adds up quickly. Choose salsa or hummus for low calorie option, or guacamole for a little heart-healthy fat. You can also make a lighter version of your favorite dip by replacing cream cheese and sour cream with Greek yogurt. This not only saves calories, but also adds some protein to your otherwise nutrition-less dip.

Choose your pizza wisely: If you must order pizza, please proceed with caution. Deep dish and stuffed crust varieties have nearly 400 calories per slice! Shave more than half the calories by ordering thin crust and skipping the meat toppings. Go easy on the cheese and add lots of veggies for an even healthier option.
Whether you’re rooting for the 49ers or the Ravens, you’re sure to be a winner with these healthy suggestions. Happy Tailgating!