This Sunday, at least one of your friends will be hosting a football-viewing party in their living room. Watching sports plays with our emotions as our adrenaline peaks and crashes. With a tasty spread of finger food within arm’s reach and with the stress of a championship game at stake, the risk of mindless eating is at an all-time high.
Reasons Why We Overeat When Watching Sports
Watching sports, or any television, while eating is a distraction–one that has been shown to lead to weight gain and 25-percent more calories being consumed.1 Besides avoiding eating, there’s no sure-fire way to prevent mindless eating or over-indulging, but these tricks can help:
- Portioning out your food: Even if the appies are finger foods, grab a plate and make your selection.
- Incorporating healthful foods and ingredients: Choosing healthful fats, protein, and fiber may increase your feelings of fullness, which may reduce how much you’re (mindlessly) eating.
- Using the same plate: A dirty plate with uneaten food scraps is a reminder that you have eaten. One study showed that football viewers who had their plates of chicken wing bones removed from the table by a waitress and replaced with fresh plates ate more wings, when compared to those viewers who did not have their dirtied plates removed.2
Now, onto the healthier recipes!
Three Recipes for a Healthier Football Party
- 2-3 ripe, pitted avocados
- 2 spoonfuls of plain Greek yogurt
- 2 spoonfuls of salsa
- Empty the contents of the avocados into a medium bowl. Mash with a fork for either a creamy or chunky texture.
- Add the yogurt and salsa. Stir to combine.
- Serve with tortilla chips, grilled whole-grain pita, and carrot and celery sticks.
- 1 10-ounce bag of whole grain or corn tortilla chips
- 1 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 10-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 avocado, pitted, skinned, and chopped
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 cup creamy guacamole
- Preheat the oven to 350⁰F.
- In a 9×13-inch oven-friendly dish, evenly spread one-third of the chips. Add one-third of the cheese, beans, and peppers.
- Create two more layers, alternating the chips with the cheese, beans, and peppers.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
- Once cooled, top with avocado and serve with salsa, yogurt, and creamy guacamole.
Buffalo Chicken Dip 2.0 (serves 6-8)
We used the recipe developed by Ali of the “Gimme Some Oven” blog.
- 1 pound of lean ground chicken
- ½ cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup reduced-fat cream cheese
- ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
- ¼ cup hot sauce
- 1 tbsp. ranch dressing
- Preheat the oven to 350⁰F. Oil a 9×13-inch dish.
- Over medium heat, cook the chicken in a saucepan until white. Allow to cool.
- In a large bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients. Once cooled, stir in the chicken.
- Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared 9×13-inch dish. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- Once cooled, serve with tortilla chips, grilled whole-grain pita, and carrot and celery sticks.
1 Robinson, E., Aveyard, P., Daley, A., Jolly, K., Lewis, A., Lycett, D., & Higgs, S. (2013). Eating attentively: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of food intake memory and awareness on eating. AJCN, 97(4): 728-742. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.045245
2 Wansink, B., & Payne, C.R. (2007). Counting bones: environmental cues that decrease food intake. Percept Motor Skills, 104(1): 273-276. doi: 10.2466/pms.104.1.273-276
Updated February 3, 2017