Ahhh football season! While this time of year brings fans together to admire and celebrate their favorite teams, it also means we have to get trained in navigating the Football Food Frenzy.

Here you are amidst football season. All set for Fall with your new meal plan, weight loss goals and a renewed feeling of confidence. That is of course until you receive a text from your friend, “Hey, come over this Sunday and watch the game!” [Cue deep breath]. You know as much as I do that this invitation means a heck of a lot more than just “watching the game”. It involves facing a taunting and seemingly endless platter of wings, nachos, dips (and the list goes on) all right before your eyes. 

As you stare down at the text I imagine your thoughts sound a little like this: “AHHH what do I do!?!” You may immediately imagine locking yourself inside your apartment and shutting off all forms of communication; however, something inside of you tells you that’s likely not the only problem-solving strategy in the book. Nor is simply “winging it” (no pun intended) by showing up on game day with high hopes your friend forgot to put in that food order.

Well I’m here to offer you hope and some guidance. At Beacon, we strongly believe in the importance of Meal Planning. Planning your snacks, planning your meals and planning for full adherence. This doesn’t mean you have to decline every social invitation but you do have to put in the leg work to prepare. As the familiar saying goes: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

First and foremost, make sure on game day you adhere to your plan by maintaining three meals and a snack. Meal regulation is key to preventing overeating! Perhaps you bring a snack to your friend’s house (a protein bar is an easy option) or you have your snack beforehand. Another planning tip is to contact the host and inquire what she/he will be serving. Hey, if this feels awkward just frame the conversation as you wanting to know what to bring!  This opens the doorway to bring something to share that fits with your meal plan (think of a big salad or a veggie platter). The benefit? You don’t end up feeling left out while everyone gorges on nachos AND you help out the host #winwin 

It’s also important to be mindful of several coping skills you can use at any moment – just in case those wings get tempting! For example, you can excuse yourself and go to the restroom to splash cold water on your face or simply offer to help the host with clean up. Hey, distraction works!

Bottom line: you don’t have to deprive yourself from football season or from socializing with friends. With thorough planning and realistic expectations you can enjoy life while maintaining your integrity with your food and your goals. Now that’s a score! 

Shine Bright!