Every spring, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) features a single elimination basketball tournament to determine the national championship of the major college basketball teams commonly known as March Madness. This is a fun time for all you sports fans as you focus on creating your perfect bracket and gathering with friends to watch your favorite teams compete for the championship.
While you should never miss out on the fun of March Madness, like other sporting events, these basketball games tend to promote an array of junk food whether you are at the arena, a local bar or in your friends basement. So how exactly will you be able to enjoy yourself while watching the game with family and friends without indulging in all of the chips, wings and burgers?
Here are some tips to help you stay healthy during this year’s March Madness.
Don’t Arrive On An Empty Stomach: Before you go to the bar or to your friend’s house to watch the game, eat a healthy meal or snack. Yogurt, fruits and vegetables are great go-to snacks before you head out the door. You won’t arrive “starving” which means you will more than likely make more informed food choices.
Bring Your Own: Often times, people prefer watching the game at home with friends and family rather than going to a crowded bar. Use this to your benefit! Make a big salad to go along with the chicken wings or make healthy swaps like choosing whole grain pasta, or salsa and guacamole rather than other high fat dips. Offer a fruit salad as an option along with the chips and pretzels.
If you do prefer to head to the sports arena, there are now healthier options available like grilled chicken sandwiches, salads or smoothies. Choose water over soda, eat half of the burger bun and choose a bag of nuts instead of the chips.
Be Mindful: Watching TV while eating is one of the most likely times overeating can occur, especially when you have others around you doing the same thing. Practicing mindful eating is very useful during events like these. Being aware of what is on your plate and listening to your hunger and satiety cues will prevent you from eating a whole bowl of chips without even realizing it. Portion out your favorite snack onto a plate and put the bag, box or bowl away. Then sit down and enjoy what you portioned out.
Now, of course, these tips will work great if you WANT them to work great. Ultimately the decision is up to you.
Your turn to take action: What are your strategies for eating healthy during March Madness?