Health Team

Super Bowl snacks can cost big calories

Nutrition advocate Charles Stuart Platkin, PhD, MPH, founder of, said the average person would have to run 49 football fields to burn off just two handfuls of potato chips or do "the wave" 6389 times to burn off six loaded potato skins.

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The Super Bowl is the second biggest day for food consumption in the United States after Thanksgiving, according to But those snacks can pack some serious calories.


Nutrition advocate Charles Stuart Platkin Ph.D, the founder of, said the average person would have to run 49 football fields to burn off just two handfuls of potato chips or do "the wave" 6,389 times to burn off six loaded potato skins.


He offered these other examples of the caloric cost of familiar game-time snacks:


Two handfuls of potato chips = running 45 football fields

Each handful is about an ounce, so two handfuls of chips have about 300 calories. If you add 2 tablespoons of onion dip (60 calories), you'll be running another nine football fields.

Tip: Make homemade pita chips with margarine spray, or eat Pop Chips and save more than a few football fields. Use non-fat yogurt instead of sour cream to mix up the dip, Platkin said.

Half of a DiGiorno stuffed-crust limited edition bacon/sausage/pepperoni pizza = 299 touchdown dances in the end zone. (Each dance would be 15 to 20 seconds.)

A half of this pizza is about 975 calories. Frozen pizzas can be deceiving, Platkin said.

Tip: There are frozen and delivery pizza choices with a lot fewer calories. If you choose thin crust and avoid meats and extra cheese you can drop the calories down to about 720 for half a 12-inch pizza.

One-cup of creamy macaroni and cheese = face painting 38 wild football fans

Creamy mac and cheese has more than 850 calories in just one cup. It is often made with lots of high-calorie cheddar cheese (or processed cheese), Parmesan cheese, butter, pasta, milk and sometimes sour cream, Platkin said.

Tip: Try using low-calorie cheese, whole-grain pasta, skim milk and cooking spray instead of butter.

Six T.G.I. Friday’s loaded potato skins = doing “the wave” 6,389 times

Each potato skin (half a potato) is 218 calories. But these potato skins are deep fried and topped with cheese, bacon and even sour cream.

Tip: Make them yourself. Microwave the potato, then cut it in half and put it in the toaster oven with some cooking spray.

Two beef empanadas with sour cream = shopping for food for 235 minutes (nearly 4 hours)

Empanadas come in many different varieties and sizes and can be filled with chicken, fish, vegetables or meat.

Empanadas are deep fried and generally have about 298 calories, depending on how they’re prepared and what they’re filled with, Platkin said. (Goya Beef Empanadas are 380 calories for one serving. On The Border Beef Empanadas with Chile con Queso are 540 calories for one serving.)

Tip: Skip the sour cream, and if you make them yourself, bake them instead of frying, Platkin said.

Large meatball sub from Quiznos = climbing the stadium stairs for 109 minutes

The sandwich has meatballs, mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce on a hero roll, adding up to 1,020 calories.

Tip: Try turkey meatballs (made with breast meat), low-fat mozzarella and a whole-grain hero.

Six KFC honey barbecue wings with dipping sauce = playing pro football for 59 minutes. (This is 59 minutes of actual playing time)

Each wing has 90 calories, and the dipping sauce is about 50 calories per container, Platkin said.

Tip: Make your own chicken wings. Go skinless and bake instead of deep frying them.

One pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby Ice Cream = cleaning the stadium after the game for 322 minutes (Nearly 5 ½ hours of cleaning with no breaks)

Each pint has about 1,320 calories.

Tip: Try a low-calorie ice cream. For instance, Breyers All-Natural Vanilla, Chocolate and Strawberry is 110 calories per 1/2 cup or 440 calories for a pint, so you save nearly 900 calories, Platkin said.

Six White Castle sliders = running 129 football fields

These small hamburgers are about 140 calories each and weigh just a bit more than 2 ounces each.

Tip: Just eat one or two.

A large handful of Planters mixed nuts and two gulps of beer = 44 minutes of football training camp

The combination of beer and nuts is costly -- especially if you keep taking handfuls and gulps. Just one handful and a couple of gulps mean loads of push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, sprints and more, Platkin said. One ounce of mixed nuts has about 170 calories and the beer has about 35 calories per gulp.

Tip: Nuts are healthy if you eat them in small portions - maybe seven to 10. More than that is a mistake. As for the beer, try a light beer like Beck's Premier Light, Budweiser Select 55 and MGD 64.

One tortilla chip with a scoop of Mexican re-fried bean dip = dancing to The Who during the halftime show for 8 ½ minutes

Just one chip requires some serious rocking out, Platkin said. Two tablespoons of the bean dip is about 30 calories, and the chip itself is about 14 calories.

Tip: The answer is salsa -- it's very low in calories. And pick baked, low-calorie chips at about 120 calories per ounce. If you're eating the chips, have one at a time, and don't put out huge bowls of them. Make sure you have to get up each time you want more than six chips.

A few bites of a Reuben sandwich = performing in a marching band for 48 minutes

Although this sandwich is grilled, the high-fat pastrami, Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing and butter or margarine on rye bread mean that the whole thing can top out at more than 900 calories, Platkin said.

Tip: Try a turkey breast sandwich with ketchup and low-fat cheese on whole wheat. Put it in a pan with cooking spray and grill it.

Just a few nachos = performing as a team mascot for 97 minutes

It’s not just about wearing a silly suit; it’s hard work running around, getting the crowd going, Platkin said. Each restaurant-style chip has about 14 calories. Now add cheese, beans, ground beef and peppers. Just six nachos will cost you about 569 calories ¬ not to mention the sour cream and guacamole for another 150 to 300 calories. A single tablespoon of guacamole (which can be healthy) -- probably the amount you use on each chip -- adds 20 calories. Sour cream has about 30 calories per tablespoon.

Tip: Make the nachos with low-fat cheese and black beans. Use salsa and make your own whole-wheat pita chips and you'll be even better off.

A single Ritz cracker with Cheez Whiz = preparing, cooking, serving and cleaning up after the Super Bowl party for 21 minutes

A Ritz cracker has 16 calories, and just a tablespoon of Kraft Cheez Whiz contains 45 calories, for a grand total of 61 calories in a single bite.

Tip: Avoid the cracker altogether and cut up small squares of low-fat cheese, you really won't notice the difference, Platkin said.

Eight potato chips with dip = biking to the game from your South Beach hotel

It’s about 18 miles from South Beach to Dolphin Stadium, which is what it would take to burn off the chips and dip. Each chip is 14-15 calories. For each scoop of Ruffles French Onion Dip add another 55 to 60 calories. Grand total: as many as 600 calories.

Tip: Try a low-calorie dip or make your own with nonfat yogurt or mayo. And use Pop Chips, instead.

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