The National Football League defines the Super Bowl as the annual championship game culminating the regular season between the champions of the AFC and NFC conferences. In New England, it is more commonly known at the last game of the Patriots season.
Super Bowl Sunday comes with a barrage of traditions ranging from superstitions, official jerseys, large-screen televisions and, of course, food. On the checklist: Where we will watch the game? With whom? What will we eat? What will we drink? How late we will stay up? What will the best commercials be? Most concerning, how will we possibly make it to work on time Monday morning?
Although this event is typically filled with laughter, cheer, excitement and fun, it also comes with a bunch of not-so-great food and beverage choices. I challenge you to make a few minor changes to your Super Bowl extravaganza, to help make Monday morning seamless. Here are some ideas to still enjoy the game and make some healthier choices.
Here are five steps to your Superbowl LIII makeover: (Friendly disclaimer: If for some unknown reason you are not a Patriots fan, skip steps 2 and 3.)
1. Snack attack: Take your favorite dishes, choose one recipe and revamp the ingredients. Instead of your traditional guacamole, salsa, sour cream, cheese, bean, olive, jalapeno seven-layer dip, swap it out for some homemade cowboy caviar. It takes less than 10 minutes to make and will make your taste buds happy.
1 can of steam fresh white shoepeg corn (no sodium)
2 ripe avocados mashed with a fork
3 tomatoes, diced
½ cup of cilantro, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced (you can use the garlic already chopped in the jar)
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for 3 hours.
Pro tip: If you make it the night before, save the pit from the avocado and place it in the mix. It will prevent the avocados from turning brown.
2. Gear up or get out: Get excited! Buy the dang T-shirt. It doesn’t have to be Nike, or the hand-stitched official Brady jersey. Grab one at the local drug store for $9.99 and get in the spirit. If you’re not the T-shirt type, buy a hat, foam finger or Patriots-themed socks. If you’re a newbie to game day gear, start small, maybe some football-themed nail polish, a simple headband or carry a regulation football around with you. Dressing the part helps tell our brain that we are excited and anticipating a desired outcome (can we say ring No. 6 for Tom?). Feelings of positive energy and passion originate from neurotransmitters. These endorphins help the process of creating the feeling of pleasure. This naturally occurring chemical is released in the brain, which in large amounts can make you feel relaxed or full of energy. Did you ever wonder why grown adult sports enthusiasts cover their bodies in paint and are fanatical about head-to-toe Patriots garb? Their endorphins made them do it.
3. You’re NOT too old, and neither is Tom: Go ahead, yell at the television (of course know your audience and appropriate language first). Jump up and down. Pace back and forth. These behaviors can help with your mood. Edward R. Hirt, Ph.D., professor of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University, states that “Basking in Reflected Glory” (also called BIRGing) is a real thing. By identifying with a team (using pronouns like us and we), it allows us to feel the same pride of winning as if we were literally on the roster. A win for the Patriots is a win for all of New England. Conversely, CORFing (cutting off reflected failure), can simulate feelings of dissociation where your team becomes that team when they don’t have the outcome you were hoping for (hopefully this applies to L.A. Rams fans only).
4. Forward progress: Just say no to couch potatoes! Do not allow you or your guests to sit the entire Super Bowl. Encourage excessive celebration (no penalties here). Make a game out of every play. Use the chart below to burn some calories while you cheer on the Patriots.
Kickoff = high five the person closest to you
Touchdown = Make your own touchdown dance
Flag = 10 push-ups
Interception = 10 Burpees
Time out = 10 squat jumps
Fumble = 10 sit-ups
Field goal = 10 jumping jacks
Extra point = 30-second jog in place
Personal foul = 10 high knees
Beer commercial = plank the entire time
Offsides = 10 butt kicks
2-point conversion = 30-second wall sit
Delay of game = 10 couch dips
Sack = 10 squats
Onside kick = 10 alternating reverse lunges
5. Do your job: Clean up before you go to bed. I know it is tempting to stack the dishes in the sink with the intention of dealing with it tomorrow. Trust me, practice the “clean as you go” method instilled in me by my mother since childhood. If you’re using special or odd-shaped serving dishes that have to be hand-washed, wash those as soon as they are empty and leave in drying rack. Take a blitz every 30 minutes to see what needs to be refilled and what needs to be bought to the kitchen graveyard. Veggie trays can be repurposed to vegetable soup or a quick and easy egg bake. Take the leftover cheese platter, cut all cheeses into cubes and store in an airtight container. Use the blend of cheese to make homemade mac and cheese. Random crackers left? Place them in Ziploc bag, smash them using a rolling pin, add some bread crumbs and parmesan shaker cheese and voila! Topping for the mac and cheese. (See? The cook once, eat twice method applies here!) Pro tip: Buy recycled paper products, have zero dishes and throw everything away.
Practice what you preach (or at least what I preach). Bring a reusable water bottle to the Super Bowl party with you. Stay hydrated by alternating a beverage of your choice with a 16-ounce glass of water, and remember to walk up or down a flight of stairs to use the restroom.
(Crystal Reynolds is an owner of 43°Athletic Club and recommends you don’t add goat to any of your Super Bowl dishes.)