You're doing great with your diet, but then your friends invite you to the local sports bar to watch the big game. A few rushes of adrenaline later, you've eaten four slices of pizza and more chicken wings than you can count. Sound familiar? Watching sports with friends can often be a diet disaster for many people--but it's not inevitable. Here are a few strategies to help you enjoy the big game and keep your eating under control, so you don't spend the next week eating lettuce and feeling guilty.
Eat a healthy meal before heading to the sports bar.
If you arrive at the sports bar feeling ravenous, you're inevitably going to dive head-first into the nearest plate of appetizers. By eating a healthy meal, such as a big salad with some lean chicken on top of it, you take the edge off of your hunger. You'll be more able to make rational decisions when it comes to food, and while you may reach for a chicken wing or a slider, you won't be as tempted to eat the whole plate.
Put food on your plate at the beginning of the game, and don't refill it.
If you're sharing plates of finger foods with your friends, as is common during sporting events, place what you want to eat on your plate as soon as the food arrives. Then, don't let yourself take anymore. Challenge yourself to make the one serving on your plate last the entire game.
Ask for some freshly cut veggies for the table.
It's hard not to munch when your team is down by two points and trying desperately to score. Make sure you have some healthy veggies on the table for this high-stress moments during the game. Celery and carrots will satisfy your need to munch without adding calories.
Stick to calorie-free or low-calorie beverages.
Many of the calories you consume during a big game may not be from food, but from your drinks. Even many light beers contain at least 100 calories apiece, after all. If you can't say "no" to beer altogether, at least choose light beer and alternate between beers and glasses of water to keep your calorie intake under control. If you prefer to drink liquor, ask for yours with a calorie-free mixer, such as soda water or diet lemon-lime soda.
Don't let watching the game with friends unhinge your diet efforts. Follow the tips above, and don't be afraid to tell your friends that you're watching what you eat so they can help keep you on track. Chances are, they're trying to eat healthier too; and by working together, you can all adopt healthier sports-watching habits.