Even though the party is supposed to be about the game, we can't help but get excited about all the good food that comes along with it. Between chicken wings, nachos, bean dips, burgers, beers, and countless appetizers, it's easy to get lost in all the munchies and consume way more calories than you realize. However, if you go into your festivities with the right mentality and a mini game plan, it's easy to scale back on the salt- and fat-laden food without sacrificing your favorite game day foods.

The Super Bowl is one of the greatest days of the year, whether you’re actually watching the football game or just grazing the buffet of football game bites. However, with appetizers and fried food galore at your fingertips, it’s quite easy to go a little bit overboard without even realizing it. During the span of a typical four-hour game, most Americans will consume an average of 2,400 calories and 121 grams of fat. If you factor in your pre-game and post-game festivities, you are looking at a serious marathon of eating and drinking.

Rather than throwing your hands up in the air and accepting the fate of an upset stomach by the end of the fourth quarter, you can scale back on all the food without sacrificing enjoying all the yummy snacks. Whether you’re hosting the party or you’re heading over to a friend’s tailgate, these helpful tips will help you navigate your Super Bowl Sunday snacks.

Avoid Mindless Eating

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We know, that’s much easier said than done, but it truly is a great goal to have when the apps keep on coming. Make it a point to put all your food on a plate before you eat it, and then walk away and sit at a table. This way you'll be able to have an idea of exactly how much you’re consuming. If the game gets tense and you’re feeling a little anxious, reach for some veggies to munch on or maybe a piece of gum. If you park yourself in front of the chip bowl, it will be no surprise that you’re probably going to be munching on way more than you realize.

Don’t Drink All Your Calories

Credit: Photo: Greg DuPree

What’s a game of football without an ice cold beer? If you want a brew to sip on while you watch, then you definitely should have that. We recommend sticking to one to two beers, because with increased alcohol consumption comes poor food decisions down the road. If you like the fizz of beer but don't want the calories, reach for sparkling water with a splash of fresh fruit juice. Whatever you do, don't reach for the soft drinks. Sodas are packed with calories and sugar, and we’re trying to save room for all the snacks, right?

Show Some Love to Fruits and Veggies

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When it comes to dips and spreads, we encourage you to opt for celery sticks, carrots, peppers, or whatever that veggie tray has to offer versus a handful of chips or cracker. This is a great way to save hundreds of calories without entirely surpassing a game day essential. While you’re at it, don’t be afraid to put out a fruit tray (or bring one if you’re a guest).

The Magic Is in the Dip

Credit: Photo: Greg DuPree

It’s easy to tell yourself that a dip is a harmless appetizer, but with all the calories and fat packed into just one scoop, you’d be surprised at the havoc they can wreak on your healthy-eating goals. Opt for protein-packed, clean dips like hummus, fresh salsa, tzatziki, or jalapeno popper bean dip. As much as we love a good cheese or ranch dip, the calories add up faster than with a healthier alternative.

Go For Smaller Portions

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Most Super Bowl spreads are jam-packed with finger foods like dips, wings, nachos, and chips, so it’s important to scale back on portions if you’re hoping to help yourself to a variety of fix-ins. That’s why we think sliders are a great option over a full-size burger. When it comes to dips, a spoonful or two will let you enjoy the flavors without piling up the calories. And those delicious jalapeno poppers that are definitely the best part of a football party? Stick to one or two, and then fill your plate with more veggies.

All in all, the day should be about hanging out with family and friends over a good football game. It’s inevitable that you’re going to throw back some salty snacks and munchies during any sporting event, so there’s no need to get too hung up on calories. So grab a beer and make a plate of your essential game day snacks, because half-time is about to start and you don’t want to miss it.