February is here and although it is the shortest month with it comes tons of holidays and events, such as Black History Month, National Wedding Month, Valentine’s Day, and of course, the Super Bowl. This year, the Super Bowl LV will be played on Sunday, February 7, in Tampa, Florida, and will host only 22,000 fans for the first time. As the United States continues to face COVID-19 surges, many football fanatics will stay at home, increasing the number of food delivery orders.
Restaurants are already gearing up for the big day. The consumption of chicken wings, pizzas, and salty snacks is expected to break records and reach astronomical figures. With so many chains and stores offering these high caloric foods, Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Head of Nutrition and Wellness of WW (formerly Weight Watchers), wants to make sure we are mindful of what we put in our bodies that day.
The Registered Dietitian and New York State Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist, shared with HOLA! USA six tips to help us all manage our food intake and avoid indigestion and heartburn.
Tips for Ordering Takeout for the Big Game according to Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Head of Nutrition & Wellness at WW
Scan menus for keywords
Fritti, crunchy, crispy, doughy, breaded, crusted, “sweet and sour,” tempura, potstickers/dumplings,” “coconut crusted,” stuffed, battered, baja, creamy, cheesy are just a few examples of keywords on different cuisine menus that can trip you up.
You’re always set with: Steamed, poached, sautéed, air-fried, spicy (so long as there’s no breading/deep frying — check if it’s a rub vs. a sauce + dough); raw bar/crudités platter; sous-vide; seared (without “crust” or “crunch,” which implies breading); sauces and soups with a vegetable base or broth, e.g., salsa, tomato soup; miso vegetable, etc.
Double up on veggies no matter what you’re ordering
Burrito today? Extra sautéed veg. Chinese? Add a side of the garlic green beans. Pizza? Have a veggie slice and start with a salad. Any opportunity you have to eat more veggies, add them to your plate. That way, no matter what you’re ordering, you’re already displacing foods that are less nutritious and filling up on foods that will help you stay satisfied and energized.
Prioritize flavor vs. “filler”
This is my go-to dining out tip, but with the caveat that “flavor” and “filler” mean different things for everyone. A few examples: Chips and guac? The star may be the guac. Are you going for sushi? You’re there for the fish! Are you going for Chinese? Skip the fried rice, and you’ll get the umami flavor from sauces you love added to staples like string beans and broccoli. Italian food? Opt for great cheese over mozzarella sticks.
Just be wary of where “fillers” live and know that it’s okay to go for it if that’s what you’re really in the mood for, but be mindful of the things you’d personally consider filler so that you can max-out on actual flavor. Reframing your order this way will help you make any meal, snack, app, or happy hour nosh that much lighter.
Lean in on customization
Whether you’re hunkering down on the couch or serving a group, starting with a customizable base, like a pizza crust, chili, pasta, baked potatoes, or nachos, and adding veggie-heavy toppings to your order is a simple and fun way to eat what you love while trying different flavors (and having something for everyone).
Choose your base and order the build-on from there:
- Tacos 100% stone-ground corn taco shells; add avocado, salsas (of all flavors/spiciness levels!), beans, and sautéed fajita veggies, plus part-skim cheese (you can also try swapping sour cream for Greek yogurt, which can help you fill up since it’s higher in protein).
- Pizza (I love a homemade or frozen cauliflower crust!) Sautéed extra veg (roasted broccoli, sautéed spinach, grilled mushrooms, and peppers, plus multiple types of part-skim cheese/cheese combos!), and you‘ve got a filling meal that can stay meatless in its own right. You can also DIY the pizza & veg at home and order takeout rotisserie chicken or turkey, grilled fajita, or flank steak).
- Baked potato bar/nachos bar (good as a side dish or a main dish in its own right!). Opt for black or navy beans vs. baked beans, and add all of your favorite veggie sides plus shredded cheese, salsas, sour cream (or swap for Greek yogurt). You can always order beef crumbles (in the form of bun-less burgers!) to level up your toppings bar game, too.
Go hard on spices
BBQ sauces, dips, and condiments can be loaded with added sugar, but you can get the same flavor of what you love ordering something grilled and adding flavor with a spice blend, dry rub, or whatever combo of fresh and dried herbs and spices you love. You’ll keep the satisfying staples you love, but shift the prep to something a little bit lighter — without skimping on flavor (win-win!).
Plan for what you love
Sounds basic, but here’s the deal. Added sugar from cocktails, sodas, tonic, sweetened coffee and tea beverages, and lots of pre-packaged, highly processed snacks, ingredients, and condiments (like savory-tasting crackers, BBQ and wing sauce, ketchup) can sneak into your game-day even when you weren’t consciously choosing something “sweet!”
That’s also true of your takeout order since sauces and dips can be a sneaky source of added sugar. Stealthier sources on menus include “sticky,” “sweet and spicy,” “glazed,” “honey-coated,” “sesame crusted,” but that doesn’t have to render them off limits!
Plan for the sweets you love by opting-in on unsweetened beverages and eating more real, whole foods throughout your day so you can prioritize the treats you love during the game—my personal preference for 2021: confetti cookie dough.