It’s game day! Time to break out the chips, buffalo wings, and beer… Right? Not so fast. As fun as it is to split some junk food with your friends and family to watch the big game, those unhealthy habits can add up, especially if this is a weekly event.
If you’re trying to get in shape, lose weight, or just stay healthy in general, then you should consider putting a healthy twist on your game day watch parties. Below are some tips for hosting a game day that’s fun, memorable, and healthy.
Everyone knows the food of a watch party is almost as important as the game itself. Your team can win or lose, but it’s a lot more bearable with some delicious snacks in hand. For your healthy-snack party, ditch the nachos and pizza rolls and consider some healthy alternatives.
You can buy snacks like kale chips at a grocery store, but for an even healthier alternative, make your own veggie chips at home. These are super easy to make in addition to being addictively good, and healthy to boot! Toss your favorite vegetables like kale, carrots, sweet potato slices, beets, or zucchini with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast them on a baking sheet in your oven at 350 degrees. To earn some bonus points with your guests, prepare a homemade dip like this healthy ranch dressing.
There’s no reason that eating healthy can’t also be delicious. Instead of ordering pizza, prepare your own at home with all of your favorite toppings. This will help you control what ends up on your plate and cut down on the greasy stuff from fast food chains. Load it up with vegetables, low-fat cheese, or basil and burrata cheese for an elevated touch. Making pizza is a fun and easy way to get everyone involved in cooking.
You may not think of drinks as particularly unhealthy — you’re hydrating, after all! — but some of our favorite beverages, like beer, can contain loads of calories. But that doesn’t mean that all you need to be serving is room-temperature water! All of your go-to game day drinks can have healthy alternatives.
For the beer die-hards, serve up some beers that are lower in calories, like light lagers or ales. If you’re feeling adventurous, grab a brew that’s infused with herbs or ginger. Look for beers that are organic so that you know they were made without pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
But why stop there? Treat your guests to some of your homemade drink creations. For a non-alcoholic alternative, make your own infused seltzers with fresh fruit, mint, and a hint of lemon. For healthy alcoholic drinks, stick to low-calorie alcohol, cut down or eliminate added sugars, and use freshly squeezed fruit juice when you can.
Commercial breaks are a great time to refill drinks and stock up on snacks. But they’re also a great time to catch up on the latest stats and analysis on your favorite sports, which is why many networks feature clips from commentators during breaks. They’re also an opportunity to get out of your seat and get your blood pumping again. Take advantage of breaks, especially halftime, to play some games that involve getting up and moving around. Do a bit of light stretching or take a walk around the yard. If you’re in charge of food, get up and chop a few veggies to offer up a fresh platter.
Use the time before or after the game to do some healthy activities and stay pumped for your team. Play football or shoot hoops in your yard. If you don’t have that kind of space, set up a dartboard or a mini basketball hoop indoors. Competitive games and sports are the best option, since everyone will be motivated to participate. Kids can play games like tag or capture the flag.
You can also get creative and set up an activity that takes up the whole space, like having various trivia stations about your sports team in different corners. This exercises your legs and your brain, too. If guests are hanging out before the game starts, wait before you put out chairs so that more people are standing for longer.
There’s no limit to how creative your healthy game day can be. Think about ways to make every detail of your party healthier, from snacks and drinks to how you spend your time while you’re not watching. Being healthy doesn’t have to be a chore, and guests will leave your party feeling active and energized for more reasons than just the game.