How do I Handle Watching the Game?

Have you ever asked yourself, ‘How do I Handle that Situation?’ In our new series of blogs, Revive’s Registered Nutritionists will put their heads together and provide strategies to help you handle a variety of tricky situations.

From eating strategies while watching sports with friends to how to be mindful while eating out, we will show you how to handle a variety of situations. Along the way, Revive’s Registered Nutritionists will share some of the obstacles they encounter in their own lives and the tools they use to overcome them.

Watching the Game

So the big game is this weekend. You are hoping to have a good time cheering on your team in the company of friends, but you are anxious about how to maintain your health and nutrition goals when food is plentiful and the drinks are flowing. Have no fear! Our Registered Dietitians have put together a comprehensive guide to keep your goals in sight while Watching the Game.



If you are hosting the big game-day event, there’s a definite expectation (sometimes from others, sometimes from ourselves) to have good food… and lots of it. There are a couple of factors to a sporting event that makes it great opportunity to overindulge. Think of the timing of the day and the duration of it. Sports events can fall over the lunch and dinner timeframe and can last for 4-6 hours. As the host, there’s pressure to keep the chip bowls full and the drinks refilled for the duration. Here are a couple of easy strategies to implement if you are responsible for hosting the crowd:

  • Plan your menu ahead of time and include a variety of options. If you put out a tray of vegetables, they will get eaten!
  • If people offer to bring food, let them. I will often ask guests who offer if they would like to bring the chips or other “snack/finger” food. Then I don’t have to purchase it, and can focus on providing other options.
  • Serve one big main dish that requires a utensil to eat (for example, chili or a clam chowder soup). Your guests will eat less with a utensil than we will with our fingers.
  • Offer a beverage when your guests first arrive, and then again at half-time. Keep a pitcher of cold and fruit-infused water at the ready for your guests to help themselves in-between.
  • Set out the food at half time. This helps manage the “grazing” mentality and will allow people to have the feeling of a “meal” rather than snacks all day.


Mindfulness Before and During the Game


In preparation for game night (which usually comes with an abundance of drinks and appetizers) it can be easy to think that the right thing to do is to minimize your calorie intake throughout the day, as a way of saving up for the night ahead. However, if you are anything like me, missing my regular meals and snacks results in hanger, and I end up reaching for everything and anything in sight. Instead of adopting the ‘saving-up’ mentality, focus on maintaining your usual routine of eating regular, balanced meals and snacks throughout the day. This will ensure that you are able to make mindful decisions as to what you would like to have to eat and drink throughout the evening.

If you are hosting or preparing dishes to bring to a friend’s house for the game, you may be running around throughout the day. I find that when I’m busy, it’s easy to forget to eat. Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time, and bring some quick and easy options with you if needed!

Okay, you’ve arrived at the party, or all your guests are hanging out around your living room and the game is starting. You did a great job of fitting in your meals and snacks throughout the day, and you even kept up with your water intake! You can feel your stomach starting to grumble and you look at the array of dishes and drinks in front of you. If you are anything like me, the first thing you will seek out at a party is the Chicago Mix. Yes, the caramel and cheddar popcorn (I’m not that person who picks out the caramel or the cheddar, I like both together). In this type of setting, it can be easy to continually pick away at the variety of dishes until you end up with that “turkey dinner stuffed” feeling.

I find it helpful to put all of my options on a plate instead of continually nibbling. I stick to half my plate veggies or salad, and if I am still hungry, I go back for more veggies. Now, when it comes to the Chicago Mix, or whatever your favorite option is, I stick to the same strategy. I use a red solo cup to portion out an amount I am comfortable with, and I take the time to savor it! That way, I can enjoy the game and time with friends, and go home feeling good about my decisions.


Alcohol Consumption while Watching Sports


It can be difficult to keep focused on our health and nutrition goals while watching sports with friends. Most of us don’t want to drink water; we want to partake in the celebration. Alcoholic drinks can be tricky because they don’t just add calories; they can lower our inhibitions, making it easier to make unhealthy choices that we may regret the next day.

When invited to go over to someone’s house for the game, make a game plan for alcohol.

Determine your goal for the event

Are you going to have a drink or treat/dessert (this is dependent on your boundary around treats)? How many drinks are you going to have?

If you goal is to have two drinks, for instance, start with water until the game starts. Then, try to have your drink during the latter half of the game after eating a balanced meal. Drink a large glass of water between drinks.

Bring or have on hand what you need to be successful

If you choose to have a drink, make sure it is something that you really enjoy and make sure it is the proper portion.

Standard Drink Sizes (~½ oz.  or 15 ml Alcohol)
Wine 3-4 oz. (90-120 ml)
Wine Cooler 10 oz. (300 ml)
Beer 12 oz. (360 ml)
Hard Liquor 1 ½ oz. (45 ml)


You can make calorie-free drinks more exciting by:

  • Adding some fresh lemon, lime, or ginger to mineral water for a fizzy treat
  • Make colorful flavoured water; try green apple, lime, and mint for a delicious drink

Having something on hand that you enjoy drinking will make it easier to stick to your health goals. Depending on what your goals are, it’s ok to have a drink. Creating a strategy will help you to stay committed to your goals, even on game day.


Dealing with Guilt


Have you ever gone out for a night and let loose, but regretted your actions the next day? That emotion is called guilt. It’s our internal watch dog telling us we did something that didn’t fit with our goals. However, we shouldn’t see this as a negative but rather a positive. This feeling arms us with a great deal of information in planning for the next night out so that we can increase the likelihood of having a guilt-free time! This doesn’t mean you have to give up everything you love. It simply means you need align your actions with your goals.

Think about how and why you feel bad after a night out watching sports with friends. It could be one or several things. Maybe you feel you over-ate, over-drank, didn’t get enough sleep, or spent too much money. Ask yourself how much you are going to allow yourself to eat, drink, lose sleep, or spend without feeling guilty. This will give you a high end. Then define what the minimum is. You now have a boundary. This is powerful because it gives you a plan to follow for next time. Having a plan will dramatically increase your success rate the next time you are out watching sports with friends. When you wake up the next day feeling free of guilt you will feel completely exhilarated! No one else can set your boundaries but you!

Contact us in the comments below or through our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages if you have a situation you would like us to discuss!