1. Chicken Wings and Blue Cheese
Serving size equivalent: two whistles, one ping-pong ball 264 calories, 20 grams of fat
Fried, battered, and smothered in sweet or savory sauces, skin-on wings have a way of crushing even the healthiest game plans. And while the finger-licking snacks might offer more protein than most Super Bowl favorites, they can run you about 94 calories and 6 grams of fat — per wing. Dip them in blue cheese, and that’s another 76 calories and 8 grams of fat per tablespoon.
For a healthier take on the classic, skip the battered variety and go light on the sauce. Or, opt for grilled chicken skewers to really go that extra yard for your guests.
2. Loaded Nachos
Serving size equivalent: One remote control 244 calories, 8 grams of fat.
This is one party platter that could feed a whole football team. In fact, the T.G.I. Friday’s nacho skillet packs a whopping 1,520 calories and 100 grams of fat (unnecessary roughness, indeed). Armchair quarterbacks might want to go the four-nacho route, loading up those chips with veggies, beans, and reduced-fat cheese. Missing the meat? Shredded chicken or pork tenderloin can really hit the mark.
Serving size equivalent: one ace bandage 100 calories, 0 grams of fat
Twenty-six grams of sugar and all you get are a few measly swigs? Scaling things down to a 7.5-ounce mini-can might still make for some disappointing stats, including 100 empty calories and 26 grams of carbs. And while diet isn’t the worst alternate play, the fake stuff can have its downsides, too. Consider hydrating at the water cooler instead (just like the pros do!).
4. Potato Skins
Serving size equivalent: two rolls of athletic tape 220 calories, 14 grams of fat
At the Snack Bowl, everyone’s a skins fan. But topped with cheddar, bacon, and (if you’re doing it right) sour cream, just two carb-heavy taters can clock in at about 220 calories and 14 grams of fat. Our suggestion: Grab no more than two fully-loaded potato skins and have your closest friend block the tray. Another way to stay light on those feet: Opt for lighter toppings like chopped broccoli and mushrooms with a dollop of low-fat Greek yogurt on top.
5. Mozzarella Sticks and Marinara Sauce
Serving size equivalent: one eye black stick, one game coin 100 calories, 5 grams of fat
Deep-fried cheese may sound like a win, but don’t stretch your luck. One mozzarella stick plus marinara sauce clocks in at approximately 100 calories and 5 grams of fat. For a nice n’ easy cheese fix (and no, we don’t mean Cheez Whiz), keep things simple with a few dice-sized cubes of low-fat cheese and a whole-wheat cracker.
Serving size equivalent: one roll of pre-tape 287 calories, 14 grams of fat.
Ladle out a cup of chili and then chill with that. While recipes vary nutritionally, the canned stuff will run you nearly 300 calories per 8-ounce serving, plus a flagrant 14 grams of fat. And with 1,336 milligrams of sodium, that one cup serves up more than half the recommended value — for the day. Look out for lower sodium options, or call in the special teams to make your own batch of low-fat turkey chili.
7. Chips and Seven-Layer Dip
Serving size equivalent: three football cards, one mouth guard 140 calories, 8 grams of fat
According to the Snack Food Association, football fans will consume an estimated 8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips on Game Day. Unfortunately, for individual snackers that means a sneaky 60 calories for just three chips. And that’s before piling on the Heisman-winning seven-layer dip, stacked with refried beans, guac, sour cream, and cheese. Just remember: At 5 grams of fat per two-tablespoon serving, consider this dip a condiment — not the main event.
Serving size equivalent: one penalty flag 300 calories, 13 grams of fat
Warning: Going all in at the pizza station might earn you a penalty on the play. A slice of pepperoni (the most popular pizza choice according to Pizza Hut) comes charging in at about 300 calories, 34 grams of carbs, and 13 grams of fat. Probably best to leave the pizza eating challenges to Mr. Kobayashi (a 12” pie in just 69.36 seconds? Seriously?).
Serving Size Equivalent: one stick of man-deodorant 96 calories, 0 grams of fat.
The Big Game just ain’t the same without a few cold ones. Just keep in mind those calories can add up. Even light beers can range from about 95 to 110 calories per 12-ounce can (Miller Light, pictured above, packs 96 calories for those keeping track at home). And then there’s the whole drinking responsibly thing, which is nothing to take lightly. Check out this guide for a complete run-down on the healthiest brews for you.
Photos by Jordan Shakeshaft with Kate Morin.