Virtua Health

3 Ways To Do Gameday Healthy

It’s a crisp Sunday afternoon, and you just wrapped up some yardwork around the house. You sit down on the couch with your favorite adult beverage in hand. You’ve got all your fantasy football apps open, making last minute adjustments to your lineup. And after an unbearably long offseason, you’re about to watch your favorite team, which of course, should be Eagles, but we’ll accept anyone other than the Cowboys. The wait is over friends, football season is finally upon us, and whether you watch the game from home, your local bar, or live from the stadium, our friends at Virtua Health have some tips to put a healthy spin on gameday. Tailgate Treat If you're looking to grab a bite but still want to eat clean and healthy, here are a few pointers. First, what's gameday without wings? They’re a Sunday staple, and can be made just a tad healthier! Just look to see if grilled wings are available. If not, naked wings are still better than breaded. If you’re not a wing fan, we’re not here to judge. Give this tasty recipe a try: Buffalo Chicken Meatballs These meatballs are versatile and delicious – make a sandwich or eat them right out of the skillet. Either way, these are sure to please. Ingredients: 2 tsp olive oil or avocado oil 1/4 cup minced carrots 1/4 cup minced celery 1/4 cup minced yellow onion 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed 1 pound 90-93% ground chicken 1/4 cup almond flour or flour of choice 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp Buffalo sauce, divided Low-fat ranch for drizzling Garnish – green onions and/or cilantro (optional) Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat, add the oil, celery, carrots, onion, and garlic cloves. Sauté until onions are translucent and vegetables are cooked through. Remove from the skillet and let cool slightly. In a separate bowl, combine and mix together the chicken, flour, 2 tbsp Buffalo sauce, and veggies. Form into 16-20 golf ball-sized meatballs. The meat will be sticky, but damp hands will help to prevent the meat from sticking. Place them on a large baking sheet and bake 14-18 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and the insides are no longer pink. Flip meatballs after about 10 minutes of baking. Total baking time will depend on the size of the meatballs. Return the meatballs to the skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3/4 cup of Buffalo sauce (more if you wish). Toss gently. Allow the sauce to simmer for about 2-3 minutes. Serve as desired. Pregame Warmup Tailgates may be all about the food, but games like cornhole or a classic game of catch are great ways to add a little movement before the game. Want to kick-it-up? Doing some simple football are perfect for getting your heart rate up. Or, if you really want to add some intensity, try running some routes and catching the ball on the move to further increase your heart rate. Stay Calm Have you ever found yourself on the edge of your seat with your heart racing while watching your favorite team? Or felt truly heartbroken after a big loss? You are not alone! In fact, did you know that your brain releases cortisol, a stress hormone, as you become anxious during the game? Or dopamine if you’re feeling excited following a big win? The most important thing to remember is that it’s just a game. Consider trying some breathing exercises to help you stay centered during intense moments! We hope you get a kick out of this season! And remember, it doesn’t “Hurts” to check in with your health. If you are looking for a primary care clinician close to home, check out our friends at Virtua Primary Care.