The month of March is upon us again, and this means it’s almost time for March Madness. Following bracket Monday, people everywhere will be consumed with watching college basketball games all day, everyday for the next couple of weeks. As teams get eliminated and emotions flare, you may find that watching games with friends makes them much more memorable.
You can throw a March Madness party and be healthy at the same time with a few simple tips. When you volunteer to throw a party, you automatically put yourself in control of the food that’s served, unless you ask others to contribute. This can help you keep things light and tasty without including lots of extra fat and calories.
Plan ahead: Take the time to plan out your menu before going shopping. This will allow you to be completely prepared with a list versus going off impulse. When making your ingredient list, you can easily see which items are available in a reduced calorie version and most guests won’t notice a difference.
Find healthier versions of crowd favorites: No matter what your favorite party food, you can usually find a recipe to make it healthier. Often times the healthier versions taste just as good as or better than their high fat counterparts. You may also find some ideas for new snack foods that will become crowd favorites. Sometimes replacing just a few ingredients with the lower fat version can make a big difference.
Keep it simple: The focus of the party will really be on the game, so there’s no need to spend hours in the kitchen making snacks. In fact, the more things you can get pre-made for your party, the better. Consider ready-made veggie and fruit trays, spreadable cheese and crackers, and a low-calorie deli meat tray. All of these items can be pretty much taken from package to serving tray with very little or no prep work involved.
Incorporate movement while watching the game: These games are a great time to get your friends involved in a fun ritual to celebrate your team scoring. It could be something as simple as a jumping jack when the score reaches a multiple of five or a jog around the couch to celebrate a three pointer. This can be a fun way to add some movement and keep you from sitting through the entire game. If everyone gets involved, you will all feel like you are part of the game and everyone will view it as a celebration rather than exercise.
Using just a couple of these tips can help you have a great March Madness party that won’t make you feel guilty later.