Adults Featured Healthy News Seniors — 29 January 2014

How to survive a fattening night out at your local sports bar!

By: Jodie Shield, RDN

Whether you pull up a stool at your local pub or sports bar to watch the game on the big screen or just to socialize, you can count on being surrounded by onion rings, Buffalo wings, and fishbowl-size margaritas.  While greasy fare still rules, the good news is that today’s sports bars offer more choices then ever, including some lighter options.  Regardless of the outcome, here’s how to hang with friends, enjoy the game, and still manage to leave feeling like a winner instead of stuffed like a loser.

Log on before you leave home.  Most popular game-watching venues (like Buffalo Wild Wings, Chili’s and TGI Friday’s) post menu info online.  Check out the menu, and then map out a plan of exactly what – and how much – you’re going to eat.  Or download an app to help you crunch the pub grub numbers. Two of my favorites are Ness and My Fitness Pal.

Arrive early on game day.  Get to the pub at least 10 minutes before your group’s meeting time.  That way you’ll have a chance to place an order for some lighter appetizers (like grilled veggies or lettuce wraps) before you can be swayed by your friends’ picks.

Know the lingo.  Some menu options sound diet-friendly, but items labeled “Low carb” (like a bunless cheeseburger) may still be high in fat and calories.  And pay attention to ingredients, not just names: An entree salad, for example, isn’t’ a diet bargain if it’s loaded with cheese, greasy croutons, or creamy dressing.

Swap sides.  If your entrée comes with fries, ask for a small tossed salad or sliced fruit instead.  Another fail-safe: Order an appetizer as your entrée.

Cheers!  Toasting?  Opt for light beer or wine in lieu of high-calorie mixed drinks.

frozen margarita


Root for your team.  In the end, remember that you’re there for the fun, not the food.  So chat it up and really get into the game!

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About Author


Jodie Shield, M.Ed., R.D., L.D.N. Jodie Shield has been a consultant and spokesperson in the field of nutrition for over two decades. A former national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (1989-1995), she has worked extensively with the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and taught nutrition and medical dietetics at the University of Illinois. Currently she is a complemental faculty member of the College of Health Sciences in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at Rush University in Chicago.

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