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Have a Healthy and Safe Super Bowl LV During COVID-19

January 30, 2021
Have a Healthy and Safe Super Bowl LV During COVID-19

Super Bowl LV is on February 7, and it is already making history in more ways than one. The start of the game pitting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Kansas City Chiefs will mark the first time that a team has been in the Super Bowl on their home turf. 

More easily visible will be the other piece of history, which is the fact that this Super Bowl will be the first one played in a pandemic. The stadium’s seats will not be packed with screaming fans, and most Super Bowl parties will be canceled or limited due to local restrictions or personal choices to stay safe or reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

Super Bowl parties traditionally include a lot of people and a lot of unhealthy food. Like so many other things over the past year, the way you watch this year’s Super Bowl may be different than usual, but it can still be a fun, safe, and healthy celebration. Here are some ideas.

Virtual Viewing Parties for Safe Socializing with Friends


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain that the safest way to interact with people from other households is virtually. Though a virtual event may not be quite the same as an in-person gathering, it still allows you to interact with friends and family next door and across the country or world without any risk of spreading COVID-19. 

There are several apps that allow you to create a virtual watching party. FOX Sports GO Virtual Theater is one of them. Another is Bigscreen, which requires that one person in the group have access to streaming coverage of the Super Bowl. 

Extra Precautions for In-Person Events


In-person events carry the risk for spreading COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These are some practices that are safer and less safe when hosting or attending events.

Safer Less Safe
  • Outdoors
  • Wearing masks
  • Washing hands frequently
  • Each person bringing their own food, beverages, utensils, cups, and plates
  • Smaller gatherings within your own “pod” or “bubble”
  • Indoors
  • Removing masks, including for eating
  • Shouting, such as cheering at a sporting event
  • Elbow bumps, handshakes, and hugs
  • Sharing food, beverages, utensils, cups, and plates
  • Larger gatherings

These are some additional precautions.

  • Having ample hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes encourages people to use them.
  • Keeping a guest list will allow for contact tracing later should a host or guest test positive for COVID-19 later.

Healthy Snacks


Now, for the most important part of the Super Bowl: what to eat! It may be the second biggest food holiday of the year after Thanksgiving, but this year’s Super Bowl does not need to throw you off your healthy eating plan. 

These are some ideas for getting your fix of top Super Bowl snacks without the calories, fat, and carbs that typically come with them.

Instead of… Try…
Pizza
Tomato sauce and low-fat mozzarella on a portobello mushroom
Nachos
Low-fat mozzarella or cheddar cheese on halved, roasted mini bell peppers
Potato chips, snack mix, and pretzels
Baked kale, radish, or turnip chips, or plain popcorn
Blue cheese, ranch, or onion dip
Salsa, roasted eggplant dip, bean dip, and dips with Greek yogurt
Deli tray with crackers, cheese, and cold cuts
Deli tray with fresh raw or grilled vegetables and cut fruit
Subs with mayo, Italian meats, and cheese
Open-faced sandwiches on whole-grain bread with canned tuna or cooked chicken, mustard, lettuce, and tomato.
Cookies and brownies
Fresh fruit, nuts

Order In


Super Bowl Sunday is the most popular day of the year for ordering takeout or delivery, so why not join the crowd? Ordering restaurant food to go or for delivery has little risk of contributing to the spread of COVID-19, plus it supports local restaurants. It frees up time since you do not need to cook, and, best of all, it can be healthy!

Thinking twice before ordering the standard pepperoni pizza, breaded wings with ranch dip, mozzarella sticks, and pad thai can help you get a less extravagant party meal. The following healthier options are examples of ones that are likely available in most areas.

  • Grilled, skinless wings with dijon mustard.
  • Thin crust pizza with light cheese and veggie toppings.
  • Chicken or bean tacos.
  • Broccoli chicken or shrimp with vegetables.
  • Chopped salad or grilled chicken sandwich on whole-wheat bread.

Warming Up with Some Physical Activity


What do you and the best NFL players have in common? You both have a chance to get in a good workout on Super Bowl Sunday! Their activity may be a little more publicized, with about 100 million people watching, but yours is just as important, as your health depends on it. The game does not start until 6:30 p.m. Eastern (3:30 p.m. Pacific), leaving you plenty of time to get your workout in before kickoff.

Any kind of physical activity can help. Walking, running, biking, skiing, ice skating can all be outdoor possibilities, depending on where you live and the weather conditions. Tossing around a football and playing tag are ways to get your family involved. Indoors, a quick spin on a stationary bike, a dance party to the radio or an online music video compilation, or a session with your dumbbells or household weights (such as a gallon of water or a can of beans) can all let you:

  • Burn calories.
  • Work up an appetite for your party later.
  • Clear your head so you remember to focus on eating healthy later.

This year’s Super Bowl will be different, to be sure, but it can also be healthy while being fun. By staying in touch with but physically separate from friends, and choosing healthier food options, you can come away from the big game feeling proud of yourself no matter what the result is.

Written by Natalie Stein on January 30, 2021
Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health
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