Sticking to your diet at Super Bowl parties

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DALLAS — If you have resolved to eat healthier to manage your diabetes, blood pressure, or cholesterol, parties can present a challenge, so it’s important to have a game plan before tackling the Super Bowl spread, UT Southwestern Medical Center dieticians say.

“Remember that healthy-food choices and controlling portions are key to good health,” says Dr. Jo Ann Carson, a registered dietitian nutritionist at UT Southwestern.

Tips for the host

If you’re hosting a party, include healthy options such as salad, fruits, and vegetables. Low-calorie and sugar-free selections can help diabetic friends and family control calories and carbohydrates and make sound choices without much fuss.

“For people with diabetes the goal is to keep the carbohydrates down — and encourage more of the protein-rich foods — to enhance satiety,” Dr. Carson advises. She also coaches her patients to eat slowly, so that they consume a limited amount per quarter, and to get up and walk around during each commercial break to encourage activity as well as better eating habits.

Tips for the guest

If you’re a party guest trying to keep control of your diabetes, find out what’s on tap for the Super Bowl party you’re attending. If it’s shaping up to be a high-carb feast, bring some of your own favorite dishes, or coordinate with others with diabetes to ensure the table includes healthier options. It is also important to monitor blood sugar on a regular basis.

If blood pressure is more of a concern for you, load up on fruits and veggies that provide potassium and limit your sodium by avoiding salty snacks, dips, and sauces.

Snacking guidelines

Zero penalties for eating these foods:

  • Broad array of salad options including salad greens, sprouts, mushrooms, onions, peppers, radishes, tomatoes and sugar-free and low-calorie dressings
  • Crunchy low-calorie vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, jicama, asparagus, and cucumbers
  • Varied beverage options such as water, unsweetened tea, coffee, and calorie-free diet sodas
  • Grilled fish, skinless chicken or turkey, and/or soy-based “veggie” burgers
  • Low/Nonfat dairy options including nonfat cheeses, yogurts, and skim milk

5-yard penalties (meaning go sparingly and watch portion sizes):

  • Fruits and vegetables, especially those with edible skin (apples, corn, and beans) and those with edible seeds (berries)
  • Whole grain options for rice, pasta, breads, and crackers in small portions
  • Beans/legumes such as kidney, pinto or black beans, chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), and lentils
  • Unsalted nuts (1 ounce or about 20 nuts is a serving)

15-yard penalty for consumption of these items:

  • Cookies, pies, candies, desserts
  • Potato chips, high-fat dips, and high-fat crackers
  • Regular sodas, alcohol, and sweetened beverages

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