Having your mates around to watch the footy is one of the best parts of the winter season, but can lead to some overindulgence. Balancing delicious footy snacks and a healthy lifestyle can sometimes be difficult, so here’s our guide to healthy alternatives to traditional footy snacks.
We all look forward to getting together with friends and cheering on our teams, but watching a game can turn into a food festival that your body won’t be happy about. Between pre-game snacks, half-time meals, post-match celebrations (or commiserations) and all the excitement during the game, it’s easy to fill up on whatever’s handy and lose track of what you’re eating.
Eating well while you’re watching a game can be tough – especially when companies like Mars and McDonalds are major sponsors for the AFL, and KFC and Coca-Cola being sponsors for the NRL. Each time their logos appear on-screen, your brain recalls what they’re offering and your body to starts to crave the high fat and sugar-laden treats they sell.
Make the switch to healthier footy snacks
The best way to feed your hunger and counteract advertising cues you see while watching the game is to create an irresistible display of food within arm’s reach. And you don’t have to give up everything, a few easy alternatives can deliver all the taste while giving your body the nutrients it needs. Here are some easy switches:
- Baked sweet potato chips instead of deep-fried potato wedges will hit the spot, without adding extra calories and fat.
- Carrot sticks can mimic the crunch of crisps, and if you add salsa or hummus you’ll have a filling treat that leaves cravings for unhealthy nachos far behind.
- Popcorn instead of potato chips, in an interview with taste.com.au, nutritionist Louise Keats notes that popcorn has about 30% less calories and 50% more protein than chips, as well as more than twice the fibre and less fat.
- Dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate will give you more iron, zinc and magnesium — but you should limit chocolate in general, as both milk and dark chocolate are high in calories.
- Bliss balls, instead of lollies, are made with almond meal, nuts and dates and give your body slow-release energy and protein that will keep you satisfied for longer than fast-burning sweets. Try this recipe from The Organised Housewife.
If you know you’re going to indulge, there are a few things you can do to minimise the impact on your body:
- Workout or go for a walk before you join your mates
- Drink lots of water
- Focus on the foods you know to be healthy
- Keep track of what you eat and drink, so you can check in with yourself to see if you’ve had enough
- Plan some light exercise with a friend the next day. Knowing you’re accountable to someone else may prevent you from indulging too much.
Looking after yourself, your friends and family, are all part of a healthy life and making the switch to these healthier alternatives to your beloved footy snacks lets you enjoy the footy as well as continuing that healthy life.