Game day dining tricks

(This interview was originally posted to: Polymediathlete’s Blog)
Okay, I think I’ve gotten all of the hooting and hollering out of my system. It’s time to face the reality of what happens when I watch the Canucks play.
Whether I’m watching the game out at a pub or at home, I invariably end up stuffing my face with an unhealthy assortment of food, like pizza, nachos, M & Ms and the like. I do put out veggie and fruit plates too when I have people over, but it probably only ends up comprising a tenth of what I end up consuming that night.
With the Canucks set to play at least three more games in the run to the Stanley Cup, I figure it’s time to get the game day noshing under some semblance of control.
For that, I’m turning to Alyssa Bauman of Nourished Health Consulting Firm. I can’t promise to follow everything that she’s recommending, but some is better than none.
Q. Why do we crave salt and fat when we’re watching the game? Is it to balance all of the adrenaline racing through our veins?

A. We crave salt and fat for different reasons. Cravings are our body’s way of saying “Hey, pay attention to me. I am out of balance here. Something is missing.” So when the cravings arise, stop for a minute, have a large glass of water and think about what your body is trying to tell you. Are you tired, run down, angry, nervous or upset?
Cravings for salty foods is often an indication of a mineral deficiency in your body. Examine your diet. What is it missing? Deprivation does not work. So if you are still having the craving, indulge. But make sure to eat that food consciously, chewing it slowly and thoroughly enjoying it. This way you will eat less and enjoy more. It’s a win win.
Q. How can I limit the sugar, salt and fat content without sacrificing flavour?
A. There are lots of healthier alternatives out there. For salt cravings, I love popchips. They have all the flavour and crunch of regular potato chips, but only 100 calories and less than half the fat per serving. They are popped, not baked or fried so you can have a whole serving without the guilt.
Dipping them into hummus, bean dips, guacamole and salsa are great ways to add power nutrients into your snacking habits. Not to mention these dips are loaded with flavour and fiber, keeping you satisfied longer.
(There are also lean meat and veggie skewer type options. Alyssa didn’t really say much about sugar here, but I guess if I’ve already filled up on these other snacks, I won’t have as much room for the sweet stuff.)
Q. People are so distracted by the game they often don’t pay attention to how much they’re eating. What can we do about portion control, without being considered stingy hosts?
A. When I am hosting, I always like to stagger my food. I don’t fill the whole table with different foods and choices. I do courses with my snacks. Once the first course is finished, I clear it away and will wait a good half hour until I serve my next snack. That way my guests don’t just eat to eat. I know I’m not being stingy because my guests always leave full, yet happy they haven’t overeaten or loaded up on junk food. They actually thank me for it.
This interview has been condensed and edited.