Enjoy game, but don't turn into a football
The Super Bowl has become one of the biggest eating events of the year. And many of you will be indulging big time, enjoying a buffet of calorie-laden dishes. What follows might spoil the party for you but it's meant as an opportunity to illustrate the cost of various foods in a language you can understand. So read on to make sure that your choices are splurgeworthy.
• Half a DiGiorno Pizza Cheese-Stuffed Crust Limited Edition bacon/sausage/pepperoni = 299 touchdown dances in the end zone.
That's 975 calories per half. Frozen pizzas can be deceiving. Have you seen some of those end zone dances? This is serious business. Plus, I'm counting on your doing each dance for 15 to 20 seconds.
Fit tip: There are frozen and delivery pizza choices with a lot fewer calories. Choose thin crust and avoid meats and extra cheese to drop the calories down to about 720 for half a 12-inch pizza.
• One cup of creamy macaroni and cheese = face-painting 38 wild football fans.
Mac and cheese has more than 850 calories in just 1 cup. It's made with lots of high-calorie cheddar, parmesan, butter, pasta, milk and sometimes sour cream.
Fit tip: This dish is really easy to make over. Use low-calorie cheese, whole-grain pasta, skim milk and cooking spray instead of butter.
• Six T.G.I. Friday's Loaded Potato Skins = doing the "wave" 6,389 times.
Each potato skin (half a potato) is 218 calories. That's a lot when you consider that an entire potato is 160 calories. But these potato skins are deep-fried and topped with cheese, bacon and sour cream.
Fit tip: These are easy to make yourself. Microwave the potato, then cut it in half and put it in the toaster oven with some cooking spray.
• Two beef empanadas with sour cream = shopping for 235 minutes (almost four hours).
Empanadas can be filled with chicken, fish, vegetables or meat. They're deep-fried and generally have about 298 calories.
Fit tip: Skip the sour cream, and if you make them yourself, bake them instead of frying.
• Large meatball sub = climbing the stadium stairs for 109 minutes.
It's meatballs, mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce on a hero roll, adding up to 1,020 calories.
Fit tip: How about turkey meatballs (made with turkey breast meat), low-fat mozzarella and a whole-grain hero? You won't even taste the difference.
• Six KFC Honey Barbecue Wings with dipping sauce = playing pro football for 59 minutes.
That's 59 minutes of actual playing time — standing on the sidelines or in the huddle doesn't count. Each wing has 90 calories, and the dipping sauce is about 50 calories per container.
Fit tip: You can certainly make your own chicken wings. Go skinless and bake instead of deep frying them.
• One pint of Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby ice cream = cleaning the stadium after the game for 322 minutes.
That's almost 5 1/4 hours of cleaning — no breaks. And yes, that pint has 1,320 calories.
Fit tip: There are many very tasty low-calorie ice creams. For instance, Breyers All Natural Vanilla, Chocolate and Strawberry is 110 calories per half cup or 440 calories for a pint, so you save nearly 900 calories.
• Six White Castle Sliders = running 129 football fields.
In case you don't know, a slider is a small hamburger — and people eat many of them. Each one weighs a bit more than 2 ounces and has about 140 calories.
Fit tip: Could you eat just one or two?
• Large handful of mixed nuts and two gulps of beer = 44 minutes of football training camp.
Just one handful of nuts and a couple of gulps mean loads of push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, sprints and more. One ounce of mixed nuts has about 170 calories. And the beer — about 35 calories per gulp.
Fit tip: Nuts are healthy if you eat them in small portions — maybe seven to 10. More than that is a mistake. As for the beer, there's Beck's Premier Light, Budweiser Select 55, MGD 64 and several others — do a taste test.
• One tortilla chip with a scoop of refried bean dip = dancing to The Who during the halftime show for 8.5 minutes.
Just one chip requires some serious rocking out. Two tablespoons of the bean dip is about 30 calories and the chip itself is about 15 calories.
Fit tip: The answer is salsa — it's very low in calories. And pick baked, low-calorie chips at about 120 calories per ounce. Have one at a time and don't put out huge bowls. Make sure you have to get up each time you want more than six chips.
• A few bites of a reuben sandwich = performing in a marching band for 48 minutes.
Although this sandwich is grilled, the high-fat pastrami, Swiss cheese, thousand island dressing and butter mean that the whole thing can top out at more than 900 calories.
Fit tip: What about a turkey breast sandwich with ketchup and low-fat cheese on whole wheat? Grill it in a pan with cooking spray.
• Single Ritz cracker with Cheez Whiz = preparing, serving and cleaning up after the Super Bowl party for 21 minutes.
Yes, that's right, a simple Ritz cracker has 16 calories, and just a tablespoon of Kraft Cheez Whiz contains 45 calories, for a grand total of 61 calories in a single bite.
Fit tip: Avoid the cracker altogether and cut up small squares of low-fat cheese — you won't notice the difference. In fact, you would probably eat cardboard if someone put it in front of you during the game.