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FOOD HOLIDAY: Monday Morning Quarterbacking The Super Bowl Food

This got buried under zillions of emails, so we didn’t read it before the Super Bowl. But we find it just as interesting the day after.

The “Big Game” has become much more than a football game: It’s the second biggest day for food consumption in the United States, after Thanksgiving.

So, says Charles Platkin, PhD, MPH, assistant professor at CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College and editor of, here are the eye-opening exercise equivalents for some favorite football snacks, along with Dr. Platkin’s recommended alternatives. While football season is over, snack time never is.

  • THREE FRIED MAC AND CHEESE BALLS = RUNNING 249 FOOTBALL FIELDS. At more than 500 calories per ball, made with peanut oil, egg, cheese, butter, flour, macaroni, milk and more, what do you expect? Fit Tip: Try baking, adding veggies, and using whole-wheat pasta and low-fat cheese.

    Are you kidding: 68 minutes playing “catch” to burn off three pigs in blankets? Photo courtesy Pepperidge Farm.

  • THREE PIGS IN BLANKETS = PLAYING CATCH WITH A FOOTBALL FOR 68 MINUTES (NONSTOP). Hot dogs wrapped in a crescent or biscuit dough adds up: Each one you pop in your mouth is 66 calories. Fit Tip: Low calorie franks (fat free), with low-fat crescent dough.
  • THREE SLICES OF PIZZA HUT MEAT LOVER’S PIZZA = 1,229 MINUTES OF TEBOWING. That’s more than 20 hours of continuous praying to burn off those calories. Each slice is loaded with high-calorie meats, including pepperoni, ham, beef, bacon and sausage. Fit Tip: Try cheeseless pizza with plenty of veggies—broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms or even artichoke hearts—on top. Also, avoid personal pan and stuffed-crust pizzas: The thick, oily crust equals added fat and calories.
  • SIX BOTTLES OF BUDWEISER BEER = DOING “THE WAVE” 4,280 TIMES. Beer and football may go together, but keep in mind, each beer is 145 calories. Fit Tip: Planning on having a few bottles? Try Beck’s Premier Light at only 64 calories per 12-ounce bottle, or MGD Light, 64 calories, Michelob Ultra or Natural Light at 95, or you can go very low with Budweiser Select for 55. Best bet is to sample a few light beers before the game to see which ones you prefer.
  • BLIMPIE’S SUPER STACKED BLIMPIE BEST = 313 MINUTES OF CHANTING, POINTING AND WAVING A FOAM-HAND NUMBER ONE. This calorie-laden sub includes cholesterol-filled slow-cured ham, salami, cappacola, prosciuttini and provolone. Fit Tip: Go for low-fat cheese and skip the mayo. If you’re buying at Blimpie, try the Deli Trio Sub, a low-cal combination of ham, oven-roasted turkey and roast beef at 330 calories for a 6-inch sub.
  • ONE DEVILED EGG = 12 MINUTES OF CHEERLEADING. Deviled eggs are made with mayo, and mayo is very high in calories. Fit Tip: Use low-fat mayo, or how about just hard-boiled eggs with hot sauce?
  • ONE SLICE OF HOOSIER SUGAR CREAM PIE = 58 MINUTES OF CLIMBING THE STADIUM STAIRS. It’s been said that this is the unofficial state pie of Indianapolis (where the Super Bowl is being held this year). The name says it all. “Sugar cream pie” is made with sugar, flour, whipping cream, milk and butter in a pie shell. Fit Tip: Go to or and put “healthy cream pie” in the search box.
  • ONE KFC EXTRA CRISPY CHICKEN BREAST AND ONE EXTRA CRISPY DRUMSTICK = 203 TOUCHDOWN DANCES IN THE END ZONE. That’s a lot of dancing! Deep-fried chicken is very high in calories, especially the extra crispy kind. Fit Tip: Bake skinless chicken and use whole-grain bread crumbs.
  • APPLEBEE’S CHILI CHEESE NACHOS = 159 MINUTES OF PLAYING PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL. That’s nonstop time. Just like beer, nachos and the Big Game go hand-in-hand. Fit Tip: Make your own nachos with low-fat cheese and black beans. Use salsa and make your own whole-wheat pita chips and you’ll be even better off.
  • TEN LAY’S CLASSIC POTATO CHIPS WITH KRAFT FRENCH ONION DIP = 134 MINUTES DANCING TO MADONNA DURING THE HALFTIME SHOW. Dancing is actually great exercise (if you don’t get ill from all the food you’ve eaten already). Each chip is 10.5 calories, and every dip of dip is 60 calories. Fit Tip: Try Popchips, and make your dip with low-fat mayo or non-fat yogurt.
  • FIVE TOSTITOS RESTAURANT-STYLE TORTILLA CHIPS WITH 7-LAYER DIP = 110 MINUTES CLEANING THE STADIUM AFTER THE GAME. Each chip has 20 calories (yes, 20!) and 1 tablespoon of the seven-layer dip is approximately 70 calories. Fit Tip: The answer is salsa: It’s very low in calories. And pick baked, low-calorie chips at about 120 calories per ounce. If you’re eating the chips, have one at a time, and don’t put out huge bowls of them. Make sure you have to get up each time you want more than six chips.
  • ONE PIZZA HUT CRISPY BONE-IN WING BUFFALO BURNIN HOT WITH BLUE CHEESE DRESSING = FACE PAINTING 8 WILD FANS. You ever see some of the fans who get their faces painted? Traditional wings are deep fried, not to mention the super high-calorie ranch or blue cheese dressing. Fit Tip: You can easily make the wings yourself. Remove the skin (it saves lots of calories), soak them in hot sauce or roll them in egg whites, dip them in bread crumbs and bake them in the oven. Skip the blue cheese dressing, which has about 305 calories for 4 tablespoons. Dip them in hot sauce instead.
  • ONE BACON CHEDDAR JALAPENO POPPER = 60 MINUTES PERFORMING IN A MARCHING BAND. Those poppers are made with cream cheese, bacon and Cheddar cheese. Each one will cost you a bit of marching. Fit Tip: Use turkey bacon, low-fat cream cheese and Cheddar cheese. Bake, don’t fry.
  • JUST ONE PEANUT = COACHING FOOTBALL FOR A LITTLE OVER A MINUTE. One peanut has about 5.5 calories. A handful, or about one ounce (30 peanuts), is 166 calories. Fit Tip: Nuts are healthy, but they’re very high in calories. Don’t keep a huge bowl in front of you. And try to eat one at a time; don’t shove a handful in your mouth all at once.

    Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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