Countless fans will be camped out on the couch watching football for the better part of Thanksgiving Day. If you live in one of these homes, you might also be a considerate host who sets out attractive snacks for your armchair quarterbacks.
But a word of caution to all parties: According to the Caloric Control Council, the average American will consume more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat Thursday, with most of these calories coming from all-day snacking in front of the TV.
You need a game plan, one that doesn’t include bottomless bowls of calorie-heavy foods. We consulted with Patricia Kulbeth, clinical dietitian with UCHealth Outpatient Nutrition Services, for tips on providing nourishment for football enthusiasts without spoiling their waistlines or their appetites for the main meal.
Kulbeth recommends these three recipes on diabetesfoodhub.org: turkey sausage and egg casserole; onion, shallot and herb frittata; and egg and veggie casserole. See recipes at the end of this article.
“Having one of the above with fresh fruit and a whole grain small roll or toast with fruit-only jam would decrease the calories significantly over typical Thanksgiving Day brunch offerings,” she said.
Her advice for later in the day is to “have just a few plates of fruit pieces, nonstarchy vegetables and lower-calorie dip.”
It’s OK to have chips, but she recommends a limited amount of whole grain chips.
“And when it is gone, it is gone,” she said. “Whole grain chips are a better choice than having huge bags of chips, dips, nuts and candies out — basically unlimited calories during the game time. Distracted eating is eating too much. People eating during a game are very distracted and not paying attention to anything else.”
To add a party-like flair to Kulbeth’s snack ideas, we adopted some moves from Amy Fairbanks, former executive chef at Garden of the Gods Gourmet. She dreamed up several food boards, which are like charcuterie but with different regional themes.
For example, a Southern Hospitality—USA board features a cheese ball rolled in chopped pecans, house-pickled veggies, smoked ham, pimento deviled eggs and boiled peanuts; a Buen Provecho—Mexico City selection offers al pastor tacos with guajillo salsa roja, jicama dusted with chile lime spice, and paletas de coco (coconut popsicles). And the La Mancha—Spain board includes pesto Spanish ratatouille topped with a soft cooked egg, manchego cheese, chorizo, grapes and sourdough baguette.
Finally, a word about alcohol: The recommendation from the American Diabetes and American Heart associations is a limit of no more than two drinks in a day for men, no more than one drink in a day for women. One serving is 1½ ounces of distilled liquor, 12 ounces of regular beer or a 5-ounce glass of wine.
“Be very careful of mixed drinks,” Kulbeth warns. “A margarita may have as many as 500-plus calories in it, depending on how it is made.”