COVID-19 Information

We're here to keep you informed, and care for your health. MultiCare facilities are open for all patients. COVID-19 Resource Center

< >

You ate what?! Top 5 worst game day foods

Posted on Feb. 1, 2013 ( comments)
Each year, Americans consume billions of calories on game day. From nachos to pigs in a blanket, buffalo wings and more, the day is second only to Thanksgiving for food consumption. Even small treats or seemingly healthy treats can be packed with extra fat and calories, so be mindful of your consumption this Sunday. Here we've compiled five of the worst game day calorie offenders: 

Stadium smorgasbord

Although they may be nifty to look at, these crafty food-constructed stadiums are towering in calories, chemicals and potentially germs!

Processed lunch meats (think bologna, salami, ham, bacon, hot dogs, etc.) contain sodium nitrates - a preservative that some studies have shown can act as a carcinogen when it reacts with stomach acids. Be safe, and opt for fresh deli meats!

Processed meats and cheeses can also be a breeding ground for bacteria. If you set out deli trays, remember to wash your hands before and after handling them, and do not leaves items out for more than 2-4 hours without refrigeration.

Calories from sliced processed meats add up quickly. If you were to eat only two slices of each, you’d consume over 230 calories and 20 grams of fat, but who really stops after two slices? One example, featuring Twinkies and bacon, had more than 24,000 calories.

Exercise debt: for every two slices you consume, you'd need to do 26 minutes of high-impact aerobics, 46 minutes of snorkeling, or 31 minutes of coal mining.

Delivery pan pizza

Although a fan favorite, one slice of large pan crust meat lover’s pizza has more than 470 calories, 28 grams of fat (nearly half from saturated fat), and more than 1100 milligrams of sodium (the American Heart Association recommends most Americans consume fewer than 2300 milligrams per day).

Having more than one slice? Two slices hold the equivalent fat content of more than half a stick of butter! That is bad news if you’re watching your waistline or concerned about your heart health.

For a healthier alternative, choose a thin crust pizza with veggie toppings for half the calories and a third of the fat.

Exercise debt: for every slice of meat lover's pizza, you'll need to do 42 minutes on the elliptical machine, two hours of frisbee, or an hour of swimming.

Spinach and artichoke dip

How could something with two veggies in the name be so bad? The veggies by themselves are fantastic, however once we mix them in a slurry of mayonnaise and cheese, we’re kidding ourselves to call it a vegetable dip.

The average spinach and artichoke dip has around 250 calories in each ¼ cup, not to mention the chips, crackers or bread that go with it. For a lighter version, make this dip a day ahead using light mayonnaise and serve with baked chips.

Exercise debt: for every 1/4 cup of dip you consume, you'll need to do 20 minutes of jump-roping, an hour of hang-gliding, or 29 minutes of stationary biking.


If you plan on washing down your Super Bowl feast with a cold beverage, beware of hidden calories that can add pounds quickly. One 12 ounce Coke has 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar (the same as eating 10 sugar packets). If you like fizz, you can liven up your drink choice by mixing 6 ounces of 100 percent juice with club soda. Or, if you’re watching your waistline, keep a pitcher of ice water with lemon, lime or other citrus on hand.

If you plan on contributing to the more than 50 million cases of beer consumed on game day, try to stay away from winter brews and IPAs that can have 150-300 calories per beer. Stick to light beers or the ever-popular Miller Genuine Draft 64 for lower calorie options. If you like a little more oomph in your beer selection you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that Guinness Draft has only 126 calories per serving.

Exercise debt: for every 200-calorie beer you drink, you'll need to do 53 minutes of weight-lifting, 4 hours of sleeping, or 40 minutes of raking the lawn.

Buffalo wings

Americans consume more than 1.25 billion chicken wings each year on game day. Store-bought or delivered wings average around 200-250 calories and 15 grams of fat for just two wings. Blue cheese or ranch dipping sauce adds an additional 150 or more calories and 14 or more grams of fat in a two-tablespoon serving. Let’s do the math … six wings with ranch dip totals around 1600 calories and more than 110 grams of fat (nearly twice what the American Heart Association recommends daily for healthy adults).

Exercise debt: for every two wings with dip you consume, you'll need to do an hour of gardening, 22 minutes of running, or 28 minutes of kickboxing.

If you still want wings, you can ditch more than half the calories and fat by baking them at home. They can be prepped the day ahead and baked fresh in the oven the day of. Your guests will love them!

About The Author

Chelsey LIndahl Chelsey Lindahl, RD, CSSD, CD

Chelsey Lindahl, RD, CSSD, CD, is a wellness dietitian program manager at the MultiCare Center for Healthy Living, which helps educate children and families in Pierce County about healthy lifestyle choices through programs such as “Ready, Set, Go! 5210.” If you have questions, call Chelsey at 253-301-5095 or email [email protected].

More stories by this author
View all articles