1. Remember, the mission is to watch the game, not demolish the snack buffet!
Several hours of non-stop snacking and drinking can add hundreds of - if not a few thousand - excess calories that could sabotage your dieting goals.
2. Never go to any party on an empty stomach.
Hungry people don’t make wise eating choices. Before going, have a snack like an apple together with a higher protein food such as a hard-boiled egg, string cheese, small handful of nuts or yogurt.
3. Quench your thirst on water or sugar-free soda or iced tea.
Importantly, understand that those salty snacks, chicken wings, hot dogs and pizza will likely fuel an insatiable thirst that may last for hours - even well after the game is over.
Be warned: you can easily end up imbibing more calories from drinks than from food. Remember, each regular soda, beer or even fruit juice will set you back 150 calories or so. Ideally, avoid salty foods, as well as tomato juice brands with added salt.
4. Go easy on the alcoholic drinks - they are loaded with calories.
Alcohol also weakens your resolve to eat and drink sensibly. Have a non-alcoholic spacer between drinks - ideally water or mineral water. Also go easy on "light" beers which generally have only 25% less alcohol and calories. If there's a beer keg, use a small glass instead of over-sized tank receptacles. Of course, if you are driving, you have a reason not to drink alcohol at all.
5. Limit food portion sizes by serving yourself on a small plate.
Also be aware that when food is served on large serving platters it's common to serve yourself proportionally larger helpings.
6. Beware of mindless eating and drinking.
It's easy to become so captivated by the game you may not realize you've reached the bottom of that tub of nuts as well as a six-pack!
7. Strategic Positioning:
Settle into a seat that's not within easy reach of the snack bowls, pizza boxes, and nacho platters. Have the water jug within easy reach.
8. Practice saying "no" to food offerings that you do not wish to eat.
Decline politely but firmly. Point out a healthier option you’ll try.
9. If hosting a party, be considerate of guests you know would prefer lighter food selections.
Make sure plenty of fresh vegetables, fruit wedges, lower-fat dips, reduced-fat crackers, diet soda and sparkling waters are available and set out prominently. Present foot-long hoagies sectioned out on a platter to offer a smaller portion size. Provide pizzas with lower fat toppings such as extra vegetables, and not overloaded with cheese and sausage meats.
10. Use a buddy system for extra support.
If you think you might be too easily swayed to finish off the nachos or "have just one more", tap a friend to keep a subtle eye on you and perhaps make it a mutual agreement.
11. Upgrade your exercise routine a day or two before the game in anticipation of some dietary indiscretions
- and maintain it at least a week after the game. Aim for at least one hour of brisk walking each day and do some light weights.
Note that it takes a lot of extra physical activity to compensate for those extra food calories. Example: a 12-oz soda or beer requires some 30 minutes of brisk walking to burn the excess calories.