Photo Credit: GreenNut.org
The biggest snacking day of the year is upon us.
Don’t believe it? Check out this Super Bowl stadium built ENTIRELY OUT OF SNACKS!
“Snack engineers” in Los Angeles erected a miniature field from buttercream frosting, candy-coated end zones, a Hershey bar JumboTron, and Vienna sausage football players.
Total calories for this snacky behemoth? 110,428.
But don’t let Super Bowl munchies unleash your inner Refrigerator Perry. Los Angeles nutritionist Alyse Levine offers her tips on snacking your way to better health.
Snack, Don’t Gorge
People naturally get hungry every three to four hours, so snacks prevent you from going into your next meal starving. Too many people get into a bad cycle where they don’t eat all day, and then consume most of their calories at night. They wake up full and start the cycle all over again.
Snacking Survival Kit
All too often people end up in situations—like being stuck in the car—where the next meal or snack isn’t easily accessible. That’s why a snacking survival kit is so important. Try to incorporate some protein with carbohydrates to stabilize your blood sugar: nuts, trail mix, light string cheese, light yogurt. Energy bars can be good, but avoid the ones that incorporate sugars and processed fillers. Brands like Lärabar are made with fruits, nuts and seeds that are basically smashed together. Kind bars and Pure Bar are other good choices.
The Truth about Nuts
Certain nuts are excellent for curbing appetite, lowering cholesterol and can even be helpful with weight loss or maintenance. I’m an ambassador for GreenNut.org [a partnership between the Western Pistachio Association and Prevention magazine], and I’ve learned that pistachios are one of the best nuts out there. One portion is a huge serving: 1 ounce is about 49 pistachios. (For comparison, according to the Cleveland Clinic, a one 1-ounce serving equals 18 almonds, 12 hazelnuts, 35 peanuts, and 12 macadamia nuts.) Those 49 pistachios get you 160 calories, 6 grams of protein, and 13 grams of fat, only 1.5 of which is saturated fat. But even though nuts are made with the “good” fats, don’t overdo it; we’re talking about a quarter-cup serving.
Drinking on Game Day
Alcohol is fine in moderation, but go for a glass of wine or a spritzer, light beer, or a spirit with non-caloric mixer like diet soda or club soda. A serving of beer is 12 ounces; wine is 4 to 5 ounces (not a full glass), and shot is 1 to 1.5 ounces. A good trick is to alternate with a glass of club soda to stay hydrated—no one will ask questions since it looks like a mixed drink.
If you crave salty, crunchy snacks like chips, PopChips are a great alternative. They’re popped, not baked or fried, and a 100-calorie pack is a significant portion. Whole Foods and other health stores carry Just Tomatoes, Etc. which is a line of dried fruits and vegetables—bell peppers, carrots, blackberries, apples, etc. Mix up a few items in a big bowl, or throw some into yogurt, and you’ve got a perfect snack.
Alyse Levine, M.S., R.D., is the founder of NutritionBite LLC, a nutrition consulting practice based in Los Angeles. Visit her online at www.nutritionbite.com.
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