Game-Day Strategy Runs Up the Score

There is nothing like the early winter months for a sports enthusiast.  The can be a non-stop marathon of games for the coach, home commentator and even the non-fan.

Coming out a champion in managing calories can be more challenging than the Eagles winning the Super Bowl.

A competitive game-day strategy separates the studs from the spuds.  Add up your score and win.

A score of 0-15 means you mashed out.  A score from 16 to 34 qualifies a person as twice-baked.  A score of 35 points or more powers you out of the potato category completely.

Pre-game begins with a strategy.  Make a plan and write it down.  Include friends and family to help coach you and your commitment to stay on top of a healthy game.  (Three points for writing down a plan, 1 point for every person told or included.)

Go out for a pass. Get up, go to the kitchen and return with snack or beverage.  Standing up, stretching and walking to the kitchen keeps a calorie-burning body heated up.  (One point for each trip, not exceeding 3 points total.)

Prepare deliciously low-fat fare.  Try a few hot and spicy roasted soy nuts instead on oily canned nuts.  Include lots of fruits and veggies.  Dip sticks of fresh zucchini, turnip, carrot, bell pepper and jicama in low-fat dips flavored with curry, herb, cayenne or Southwestern or Cajun flavors.  Making several flavor combinations keeps snacking interesting.

Dip with baked chips, toasted pita triangles or bagel chips.  (One point for every 1 cup raw vegetables, ½ cup cooked vegetables or ½ cup fruit; no limit.)

Pre-portion snacks.  Eating from the bag leads to too many servings or eating everything in the whole bag.  Linebackers are probably the only ones who need extra calories to keep their weight this season.

Divide economy bags of baked chips, popcorn and pretzels in to single-serving sandwich or resealable bags.  Use a bowl or plate for one serving at a time.  Serving utensils help reinforce standard serving sizes.

Seconds may be available if you are still hungry, but you are better able to keep score of servings.  (Five points for first serving on a plate or in a bowl, 3 points for second serving, 1 for the third, and no points after that.)

Avoid playing the same position all day.  Change chairs.  Moving around works different muscles.  With friends and family around, you can visit personally with more people.  (One point for each chair change.)

Build strength and cardiovascular fitness while watching televised sports.  Try floor exercises or in place calisthenics, walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike.  While the pro teams rest, power up a brisk half time walk.  (One point for every 5 minutes of activity.)

Drink lots of water.  Save the sports and high-calorie drinks for athletes on TV.  A winner stays hydrated and full of calorie-free water.  (One point for each glass of water.)

Keep your hands busy.  Work a puzzle, address thank you cards, fold laundry or be like the former pro Rosie Greer and needlepoint.  (One point for each 10 minutes.)

When high-fat food comes around, quarterback.  When the pigskin lands in your hands, stop, think, stick to the plan and pass.  (Two points for each time you pass on high-fat foods.  No point limit.)

Don’t give up if the score is low.  Practice makes the athlete.  Offer Curry Dip with a low-fat dipper to keep the defense strong but light on it’s feet.

Curry Dip

1 pkg. (10.5 oz.) light silken-firm tofu, drained

2 tsp. Curry powder

1 rounded tbsp.  Chopped sweet onion, such as Vidalia

1 clove garlic, chopped

1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper

½ cup pineapple juice (or apple or orange juice)

Remove tofu from package and discard liquid.  Press moisture for tofu between clean paper towels.  Place in blender.

In small nonstick pan over medium heat, warm curry, pepper, onion and garlic in juice covered, 5 minutes.  Uncover.  Reduce liquid to one tablespoon.

Add cooked ingredients and juice to tofu in blender.  Process 1 minute.  Refrigerate.  Makes twenty-two (1 tablespoon) servings; 20.1 calories, 1 g carbohydrate, 4 g protein, less than 0.5 g fat and no sodium or cholesterol each.