Any World Cup fans out there? While most of my friends don't follow soccer the way they do American football or baseball, there are a few excitedly gearing up for the start of the World Cup later this week. And according to some researchers, those soccer-loving friends might be a few pounds heavier by the competition's end.
Research conducted by Men's Health magazine found that during each game, a man will drink four cans of beer, eat three slices of pizza, half a bag of chips and half a tub of dip, which is the equivalent of 1,913 calories. This is an average of almost five pounds during the four weeks of the tournament. Another study predicts that fans will spend approximately 38 hours tuned into the event, consuming an average of 20,180 calories - or the equivalent of 72 Mars bars, 37 Big Macs or nearly 14 pounds of cheddar cheese. Woof-dee.
So here are a few tips - many of which have been used to promote health during the Super Bowl - for any couch potato glued to World Cup coverage. Perhaps consider pre-planning your game-time menu to include no-fat and low-fat chips and dips. For instance, choosing fat-free potato chips could save up to 300 calories per person. When it comes to dips, it is possible to cut the fat without cutting the flavor. Try salsa, which is fat-free, or substitute reduced-fat sour cream and non-fat yogurt. Use fresh herbs and spices such as cilantro, parsley and hot peppers to add great flavor. Add fresh vegetables and low-fat dips to your party tray and you’ve got yourself a healthy appetizer! Need a few sweets? Try some sucralose-sweetened brownies and peanut butter cookies to prevent major weight gain. Also, try getting in extra physical activity to burn off the snacks, such as kicking a soccer ball between matches or walking to a neighbors house for a play-by-play.
Check out the Calorie Control Council's appetizer recipe section to find a list of healthy spreads and dips perfect for the next World Cup party.