Football season is in full swing, which not only means you get to cheer on your favorite team every week, but you’re also likely to tackle a variety of food that may or may not always play well with your low-carb lifestyle. Before you inflict a personal foul on your waistline and health, let’s start here:
Hidden Sugars Are Not A Fan Favorite
It’s a no-brainer to avoid the obvious sources of sugar, whether you’re at home, a sports bar or the stadium, such as cookies, brownies or Dippin’ Dots. But, in fact, even the bun that comes with any hamburger or hot dog also converts to sugar in your bloodstream. Your blood can only handle so much of this before it starts turning the excess sugar into fat, and this is called the Hidden Sugar Effect.
But, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good ol’ football Sunday without feeling deprived. Here’s your strategy for a winning game day:
My Low-Carb Tips for the Best Stadium Eats
There’s no intentional roughness if you follow these tips for enjoying some stadium treats (or before you head out to a restaurant, sports bar or party) while still sticking with Atkins:
Eat before you go so you aren't starving when you get to the game—grab an Atkins bar or shake, a handful of almonds and cube of cheese or a slice of deli turkey rolled with a romaine lettuce leaf, a little mayo and a slice of cheese.
- If you’re headed to restaurant or bar, review the menu in advance for low-carb options.
- Be sure to drink plenty of water; it also helps fill you up.
Here’s what to eat and what to avoid:
Roasted Peanuts—You can enjoy a portion of these without guilt. The protein and healthy fats will fill you up. Eat them instead of the popcorn.
All-Beef Hot Dogs—Skip the bun!
Garden Salad—Dig in! Veggies are a healthy source of fiber and will fill you up.
Vegetables Crudité—Pass on the chips and queso and enjoy your vegetables and dip without guilt.
Chicken Tenders—You can eat fried chicken tenders, but skip them if they are breaded.
Cheesesteak Sandwiches—Banish the bun, and make sure you have a fork and plenty of napkins on hand.
You Booze, You Lose?
Say no if you’re on Level 1 of Atkins 20, but as long as you count the Net Carbs as part of your daily total, an occasional glass of wine or light beer is fine at Level 2 or on Atkins 40.
If you're hosting at home or headed to a potluck, I've got the stats for you as well.
If you're hosting, you're in control. You can pick these up at your grocery store:
- Cheese and meat platters
- Veggie trays
- Antipasto trays
- Relish trays
- Shrimp cocktail
Plus, take your pick from these low-carb recipes perfect for game day:
- Avocado Salsa
- Deviled Eggs
- Crockpot Reuben Dip
- Kale Chips
- Santa Fe Turkey Meatballs
- Buffalo Hot Wing Cauliflower
- Super Chili Bowl
Buffalo Hot Wing Cauliflower: Watch how to make this recipe here.
If you're not hosting, you still have plenty of options:
- If there is one food you can't resist, eat one small serving. If you know even that one small serving will open the floodgates to a carb free-for-all, resolve to stick with low-carb options.
- Play the offense. Bring a veggie tray or meat and cheese tray, or prepare a tasty low-carb football-friendly recipe.