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You Got Game!

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Enjoying football festivities doesn’t have to sabotage your healthy eating habitsyouve-got-gameCooler weather and football season are finally arriving! Many of us will be headed to tailgating parties or the Dome to catch a game.

If thoughts of typical game-day fare like nachos, seven-layer dip and chicken wings are causing concern because you’re trying to trim down after a long and indulgent summer, you can still nosh on tasty snacks without all the extra fat and calories. A few simple changes can save hundreds of calories, while still tasting great!

If you are hosting or bringing a dish to a party, remember that healthy doesn’t have to be boring:

Pizza can be surprisingly nutritional. Try store-bought wheat crust or a light wrap and pile on plenty of veggies, grilled shrimp or chicken, with part-skim mozzarella cheese. This will save about 200 calories per slice when compared to extravagant pizza.

Shrimp with cocktail sauce is a low-calorie dish. A medium-sized shrimp is only about 10 calories and is low in saturated fat.

Dip fresh veggies in Greek yogurt flavored with ranch seasoning mix. This will provide plenty of protein and fiber, a sustaining snack to keep you fuller for longer.

Grill hamburgers with 93 percent lean ground meat (leaner than ground turkey!), and serve on a light wheat bun. A four-ounce patty and bun amounts to about 370 calories. A thick tomato slice, spinach leaves and a spread of hummus make it delicious!

A better version of buffalo chicken wings: grilled chicken strips with spicy buffalo chicken sauce, sprinkled with blue cheese crumbles.

A great low-cal addition to a buffet is a big salad with plenty of veggies and a vinegar-based dressing.

A fruit platter with light Cool Whip or yogurt for dipping makes a sweet treat.

There’s good news for those headed to the Dome for a game. Choices are no longer limited to pizza, nachos and hot dogs. The New Orleans Superdome and Ochsner’s Elmwood Fitness Center have teamed up to provide fans with healthy game-day selections. The focus of this collaboration was to provide fans with flavorful meals that are a great source of lean protein and are lower in calories and saturated fat. Added to the menu are turkey dogs and burgers, blackened chicken and turkey sandwiches, kabobs, Caesar salad and sushi. Over the course of the game, trade in a regular hot dog and nachos (a whopping 1,100 calories) for a blackened chicken sandwich and a Caesar salad (about 450 calories), and save 650 calories! That amounts to a whole other meal!

Despite diligent efforts, we may inevitably overindulge a bit. Some pre-party tips: Don’t go hungry. “Saving” calories for an event is sure to backfire. Eat small meals and snacks as usual. Eating every three to four hours maximizes metabolism and may prevent overeating at game time.

In addition, remember to pay attention to liquid calories. Creamy, sugary drinks usually pack 400-plus calories each. Stick to light beer or wine for about 110 calories each. Alternate alcoholic beverages with water to remain hydrated. Keep in mind, alcohol not only adds calories but may also lower our inhibitions to stay on track.