The Diet Detective: The Superbowl Eating Extravaganza
HALF ORDER OF BABY BACK RIBS = 73 MINUTES OF CHEERLEADING
Ribs are good, but they're packed with calories--as if you didn't know. They're fatty, and the sauce is sugary. And don't kid yourself, cheerleading is serious, hard work.
Diet pro: Try making them yourself, trimming all visible fat before and after cooking. Also, instead of coating your ribs with an excessive amount of sauce beforehand, partially cook them loaded with seasonings, brush them lightly with the sauce and then finish cooking.
EIGHT POTATO CHIPS WITH DIP = BIKING TO THE GAME FROM YOUR SOUTH BEACH HOTEL
It's about 18 miles to Dolphin Stadium, which is what it would take to burn off the eight chips and dip. Each chip is about 14-15 calories. Then for each dip of Ruffles French Onion Dip, add another 55 to 60 calories. That makes a grand total of as many as 600 calories.
Diet pro: Try using a low-calorie dip (two tablespoons reduced-calorie dip: 44 calories) or make your own with nonfat yogurt or mayo.
ONE QUESADILLA WITH CHEESE (5.5 OUNCES) = 176 MINUTES OF STANDING UP AND CHEERING WHILE WAVING YOUR HANDS
A five-ounce mozzarella cheese quesadilla has 516 calories.
Diet pro: Make them yourself with low-cal mozzarella, and try baking, not frying them. Skip the sour cream.
JUST A FEW NACHOS = 97 MINUTES BEING THE TEAM MASCOT (Staley Da Bear or Blue)
It's not just about wearing a silly suit: It's hard work running around, getting the crowd going. Just as a point of reference, each restaurant-style chip has about 14 calories. Now add cheese, beans, ground beef and peppers. Just six nachos will cost about 569 calories--not to mention the sour cream and guacamole for another 150 calories. A single tablespoon of guacamole (which can be healthy)--probably the amount you use on each chip--adds 20 calories. Sour cream has about 30 calories per tablespoon.
Diet pro: You can always make the nachos with low-fat cheese and black beans. Use salsa and low-cal chips and you'll be even better off.
TWO HANDFULS OF CHEX MIX = 30 MINUTES JUMPING UP AND DOWN AFTER YOUR TEAM SCORES
At 280 calories, 1 ounce of this mix is still high in calories even though it's lower in fat than chips.
Diet pro: Don't eat it by the handful, or skip it and go for some low-cal microwave popcorn instead. Even better, make it air-popped and use a margarine spray.
A NICE PORTION OF BAKED ZITI = PLAYING PRO FOOTBALL FOR 39½ MINUTES
This is basically pasta with lots of cheese and sauce. It's the cheese that makes it so high in calories: 420 calories for six ounces.
Diet pro: Have it as a meal, not just a snack after you've already eaten. Try making it with low-fat mozzarella and lower-calorie sauce.
TWO PIECES OF FRIED CHICKEN = DOING "THE WAVE" 3,220 TIMES
That's for one deep-fried chicken breast and one thigh--about 660 calories combined.
Diet pro: You can certainly make your own chicken with breading. Go skinless and bake it instead of deep frying.
A BOWL OF CHILI = RUNNING 100 FOOTBALL FIELDS
A 16-ounce bowl of chili packed with beef, beans and assorted vegetables comes to about 500 calories. A few tablespoons of sour cream and some shredded cheese add 150 calories more, for a grand total of 650 calories.
Diet pro: Use ground sirloin or white-meat turkey, or make it vegetarian. Skip the sour cream and cheese, or go for no or low-fat versions.
THREE TORTILLA CHIPS TOPPED WITH SEVEN-LAYER DIP = 15.5 MINUTES CLIMBING THE STADIUM STAIRS
This is a serious dip that includes refried beans, olives, guacamole, sour cream and cheese, and it costs about 90 to 105 calories (30 to 35 calories per tablespoon) with an additional 42 calories for three restaurant-style chips. The grand total is 147 calories.
Diet pro: If you make the dip, try using low-fat cheese and sour cream and black beans, not refried. Or you can always switch to salsa: two tablespoons have only about 15 calories. Also, go for light or baked chips instead of fried.
* Exercise equivalents are based on a 155-pound person.
Charles Stuart Platkin is an Active Expert, nutrition and public health advocate, author of the best seller Breaking the Pattern (Plume, 2005), Breaking the FAT Pattern (Plume, 2006) and Lighten Up (Penguin USA/Razorbill, 2006) and founder of Integrated Wellness Solutions. Sign up for The Diet Detective newsletter free at www.dietdetective.com.