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“The Big Game” Plan for Healthy Eating

“The Big Game” Plan for Healthy Eating


Develop a winning Big Bowl "food game plan" by thinking like a football player on the playing field. Only, instead of the opposing team, your field is filled with food and refreshments. Here are eight winning strategies:


Have a Game Plan

Plan a successful defense against food that is excessive in fat and calories:

  • Equip yourself — include some lower-calorie drinks and munchies.
  • Position yourself away from heaping platters.
  • Go in knowing what you will eat. For example, choose to have the three choices you will enjoy the most. You don't have to eat some of everything just because it's there.
  • Bring a healthier dip or appetizer to the football party.

Size up the Opponent

  • Look at the stats on different foods. Check for a Nutrition Label that tells how many calories per serving.
  • Eat food from a plate versus directly from a bag or box so you're not blindsided by the amount you're consuming.

Get in Condition

  • Exercise at least twice a week and take walks. The sooner you start, the greater the benefits. Physical activity and added muscle boost your metabolism and burn calories.

Watch What You Eat Before the Game

  • Resist overloading on calories before the game. Keep a few calories in reserve so you can enjoy goodies later without guilt.

Avoid Penalties

  • Avoid later weight penalties from too many calories by choosing smaller portions.
  • Don’t let anyone get a penalty for drinking and driving. Remind your guests to have a designated driver and offer alcohol-free beverages.

Keep Yourself in the Game

Don't get taken out of the game because of food poisoning:

  • Follow the "two-hour rule." Leaving perishable food at room temperature more than two hours is a big mistake. When food sits out for more than two hours, bacteria can easily multiply and cause foodborne illness. Set out small amounts of perishable foods and replace those with clean plates of food within two hours.
  • Or, keep hot foods hot (140°F or hotter) with chafing dishes, slow cookers, and warming trays. Cold foods should be held at 40°F or colder. Keep foods cold by nesting dishes in bowls of ice or using party trays filled with ice.

Keep Advancing Toward the Goal Line

  • Pace yourself by alternating between higher and lower calorie foods.
  • Make a successful passing play by bypassing seconds at the buffet table or take half as much the second time around.
  • Take an occasional time-out to put a halt in your eating.


  • Plan an effective running (or walking) conditioning strategy. Bypass excessive food intakes and avoid penalties which keep you from moving toward the goal line, and you will score a successful Big Bowl "Game Plan for Healthy Eating."

Source: Nebraska Extension Food Calendar

Photo sourced from Sargento

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