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Have a game plan for Super Bowl buffet

Four quarters of Super Bowl football can be grueling, especially for those watching at a house party where there’s a super-sized buffet just an arm’s length away. It’s important to approach kickoff with a solid game plan to assure that you make it to the post-game wrap-up without getting sacked by 10 too many Carolina barbecue wings, or an ill-advised second slice of mile-high pie.

“Before you go to your Super Bowl bash, have a small, healthy snack such as an apple or a handful of raisins and nuts,” said Patricia Salzer, a registered dietitian and workplace wellness consultant at Univera Healthcare. “If you’re hungry when you get to the Super Bowl party, your willpower will go ‘wide right.’”

Salzer suggested the following:

1. Bring a healthy dish

Vegetables and low-fat dip are good choices for every Super Bowl partier. You can crunch away on celery, broccoli, bell peppers and carrots. Be wary of dipping veggies in ranch or a similar creamy dressing, which could load on the calories. Instead, prepare dips using Greek yogurt or light sour cream.

2. Skip the grease

Baked tortilla chips make just as good a base for nachos as their fried counterparts. Stack them high with layers of cilantro, shredded lettuce, beans, fresh avocado, diced tomatoes and jalapenos. If you’re adding ground beef, use the kind labeled “90 percent lean,” and be sure to drain away the fat.

3. Start the party with a strategy

Take a 30-second food time out to assess all the choices on the game day spread before deciding on what you really want to nibble on. “Then move away from the table, walk around and mingle. If you stay next to the food, you’re more likely to overeat,” Salzer said. By being aware of what you are eating and focusing on portion size, you’ll be able to make it to the presentation of the Lombardi Trophy feeling like a winner.

4. Watch what you drink

Beer will be the beverage of choice for many who watch the big game, but Salzer advised making sure you add water to the mix. Drink water with lemon, lime or orange slices between alcoholic beverages as a way to stay hydrated. And if you drink alcohol, don’t drive.