With the Super Bowl here, plenty of folks are planning their game-day menus. But according to public health advocate Dr. Charles Platkin, distinguished lecturer at CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College in New York City, people may not realize what exactly they're putting into their bodies.
Platkin, who is also editor of DietDetective.com
, thinks one problem with nutritional advice is that most people don't have a reference point for what a calorie actually is, and what it would take to burn off a particular food. That's why he has reviewed data and conducted his own analyses to come up with Super Bowl-themed ways to burn off foods commonly eaten during game. For example, to burn off six wings with a little ranch dip, a person would need to do "the wave" 6,480 times, as Platkin determined from watching tape and charting his findings.
Would you run more than 140 football fields to burn off a handful of chips and dip? From Platkin, here are common foods you might find at your Super Bowl party and wacky ways you can burn off the calories...
Credit: Left: Photo by Elsa/Getty Images); Right: Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Handful of pita chips with artichoke dip
Each chip contains 13 calories, plus a chips worth of artichoke dip -- about a tablespoon -- amounts to 80 calories. According to Platkin, you would need to run the length of 141 football fields to burn off the amount of calories you're getting from this common combo, according to Platkin.
Fit tip: He recommends making your own 100 percent whole-wheat pita chips and using salsa instead of artichoke dip. Salsas contain about 15 calories per tablespoon, he adds.
People may reach for soda to wash down their snacks, but Platkin notes that a 12-ounce can of Pepsi contains 100 calories.
To burn this off, you might want to DVR Pepsi spokesperson Beyonce's halftime performance, because Platkin says you'll need to dance 57 minutes to burn off those calories.
"Have you danced for an hour straight?," he asks.
Fit tip: Water, flavored seltzer and unsweetened ice tea are among the many low- or no-calorie drinks you could reach for, Platkin recommends.
Credit: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
This popular party sandwich includes fatty ground beef, sugar, ketchup and flour, so when you tack on
a 150 calorie-bun, a guest is looking at more than 500 calories off one sandwich. To burn those calories,
you would need to climb stadium stairs for 59 minutes, he said.
"I don't know if you've been on a Stairmaster but that's no easy task," says Platkin.
Fit tip: He recommends using lean ground beef, opting for a low-calorie, sugar-free sauce and finely
chopping vegetables like onions, peppers and broccoli to add to the meat. "It will still taste great," Platkin
There are some high-calorie beers out there, according to Platkin, and he says one of the highest is
Sierra Nevada's 12-ounce Bigfoot Ale, which contains about 330 calories. He says you would need to
sweat your way through 211 minutes of coaching football to burn off the calories consumed by drinking
three of these beers.
Fit tip: Platkin says your best bet for the big game is a micro-light beer such as Beck's Premier Light
and MGD Light, which contain 64 calories per 12-ounce bottle or Budweiser Select, which contains 55
calories. "Sample a few light beers before the game to see which ones you prefer," he recommends.
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Mac and cheese
Macaroni and Cheese boasts 850 calories in just one cup, because it's loaded in high-calorie foods such
as cheddar, Parmesan cheese, butter, milk and sometimes sour cream. Platkin's analysis revealed that
one would need to paint the faces of 38 wild football fans to burn this many calories.
Fit tip: "This dish is really easy to make over," says Platkin. He suggests using low-calorie cheese, whole-
grain pasta, skim milk and cooking spray instead of butter.
Beef empanadas with sour cream
Empanadas can be filled with chicken, meat or vegetables, but more often than not, they are deep fried
and contain about 298 calories. To burn those calories, a person could take to the grocery store and
shop for healthier Super Bowl foods for only 235 minutes, or about four hours.
Fit Tip: "Skip the sour cream, and if you make them yourself, bake them instead of frying," says Platkin.
Besides eggs, this appetizer contains mayo and "In case you weren't sure, mayo is very high in calories,"
Platkin explains. To burn off one single deviled egg, a person would need to grab some pom poms and
cheerlead for 12 minutes.
Fit Tip: You can use low-fat mayo, but he recommends hard-boiled eggs with hot sauce to quell the
Pigs in a blanket
Ben & Jerry's ice cream
Some ice creams can pack a caloric punch, according
to Platkin, including Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby ice cream. One pint contains 1,320 calories, and to
burn those off, a person could clean the stadium after the Super Bowl for 322 minutes, or almost 5.5
hours -- without breaks.
Fit Tip: Platkin says some ice creams are lower in calories, including Breyers All Natural Vanilla,
Chocolate and Strawberry, which are 110 calories per half cup or 440 calories per pint.
Credit: Jamie McCarthy
For those of us watching the game with our hands in a snack bowl, Platkin notes only two handfuls
of Chex Mix contain 280 calories. To burn those calories off, a person could jump up and down for 30
straight minutes after their team scores.
Fit Tip: Skip these snacks for low-calorie microwave popcorn, or better yet, air-popped popcorn with a
margarine spray. Or simply "Don't eat them by the handful," Platkin adds.
A common catered food item, hoagie platters may not be fried but could still pack a fair amount of
Take the 12-inch Super Stacked Blimpie Best, which contains slow-cured ham, salami, cappacola,
prosciuttini, provolone -- and 1,100 calories. To burn this sandwich off, Platkin estimates a person would
have to chant, point and wave one of those foam "number one" hands for a whopping 313 minutes.
Fit Tip: Opt for low-fat cheese and skip the mayo if you really crave this sub, says Platkin. Other subs sold
at Blimpie, such as the Deli Trio Sub with ham, oven-roasted turkey and roast beef, contain 330 calories
for a 6-inch sub.
If you're opting for pizza for this year's Super Bowl, Platkin notes some products from one popular chain
could be loaded with calories.
For example, one slice of Domino's Bacon Cheeseburger Feast hand-tossed specialty pizza contains 490
calories. If you're eating two of those, Platkin suggests you can perform in the stadium marching band
for 209 minutes to lose the calories.
How about Domino's Stuffed Cheesy Bread with Bacon & Jalapenos? Platkin calls these "calorie
killers" at 160 calories a pop, so if you eat four -- 640 calories worth -- you would have to perform 193
touchdown dances in the end zone to burn off those breadsticks.
Fit Tip: A healthier breadstick could be made from 100 percent whole-wheat pita bread, toasted with
butter spray and Parmesan cheese. If you're really craving pizza and want to be healthy, Platkin asks,
how about getting pizza without the cheese and adding your own Parmesan?
White Castle Crave Case
Just because the burger is small, doesn't mean it's low in calories. Each White Castle Original Slider with
cheese contains 170 calories, so if you half a Crave Case -- or 15 sliders -- you'd consumer 2,550 calories.
Platkin's analysis revealed a person would have to find 111 fans and face paint them.
Fit tip: Try making your own burgers with white meat turkey or at the very least lean ground meat,
Platkin recommends -- or just limit your consumption to one or two sliders.
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Buffalo Wild Wings
Have you ever done "the wave" at a sports game? According to Platkin, you would need to raise your
hands a staggering 6,480 times to burn off six Buffalo Wild Wings' Traditional hand-spun wings dipped
in ranch dressing. Six chicken wings contain about 990 calories, and then two servings of ranch at 170
calories add up to 1,330 calories for this small meal.
Fit tip: You can certainly make your own chicken wings -- go skinless and bake instead of deep frying
Credit: Getty Images
Two handfuls of Cheetos Jumbo Puffs -- or about two ounces -- contain about 320 calories. The
energy expenditure required to burn off those snacks would amount to playing professional football
for 30 minutes. However, as The Wall Street Journal
reported in 2010, the average football game
contains only 11 minutes of actual game play. "That means you need to play almost three games of
professional football to burn off two handfuls of Cheetos," says Platkin.
Fit tip: Try making your own popcorn for a less-caloric alternative.
Nuts and chocolate contain about 160 calories per ounce or handful, "Which is not bad if you don't take
five handfuls before you've even noticed," says Platkin. However, to burn off just one handful, a person
would need to perform 49 touchdown dances in the end zone.
Fit tip: Try having only nuts. "Nuts are healthy, but they're very high in calories, so don't keep a huge
bowl in front of you," he recommends. Also, try to eat nuts one at a time instead of shoving a handful
into your mouth.
Bubba Gump Jambalaya
Jambalaya is typically made with chicken, shrimp, andouille sausage, peppers, onions, rice and spicy
sauce. At the national chain restaurant Bubba Gump, the dish packs 1,100 calories.
If you want to burn off this jambalaya, Platkin recommends hosting a Super Bowl party. That's because
you would need to prepare food, cook, serve it and clean up for a total of 375 minutes to expend these
Fit tip: Use boneless chicken breast and brown rice to make your own jambalaya, says Platkin.
Outback Baby Back Ribs
A full order of Outback's baby back ribs contain 1,156 calories, given ribs are fatty and the sauce
contains sugar. To burn off these calories, Platkin says to break out the pads and join either the
Baltimore Ravens or San Francisco 49ers in team practice and conditioning drills for 123 minutes.
Fit tip: Platkin says try to make ribs yourself, and trim all visible fat before and after cooking. Also,
instead of coating ribs with lots of sauce beforehand, partially cook them loaded with seasonings, brush
them lightly with the sauce, and then finish cooking.
Take a little sausage, wrap some bacon around them, and next thing you know you
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