Friday, February 03, 2006

Ah baht dem Stillers

Pittsburgh Steelers HelmetSo it's that time again, sports fans! Time to snuggle up in front of the tube for the Super Bowl, this year featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks.

And this year, as every year, we will have to have to proper snack food for the game. Pepperoni rolls and kielbasa sausage for dem Stillers! But remember, this is Super Bowl XL - be ready to walk from DC to Pittsburgh to work off the munchies!

Now don't get me wrong. I love to eat good food. But sometimes the food doesn't love me back. Like polish sausage. Kielbasa, which any true Stillers fan would know is an essential for the big game. One - one - eight ounce sausage has 80 calories and eight grams of fat. (For you Weight Watcher folks, that means that one sausage - no bun, no sauce, no nothing works out to be two points).

Now put that on a regular hot dog roll, (116 calories and two grams of fat) and it's up to four points, for one sausage! Add some onions or peppers or ketchup or cheese and it gets even higher. Now let's say that you have some potato chips to go with that sausage. Your typical 1 oz. bag o' chips has 159 calories and 11 grams of fat (4 points!) and that's only one ounce. (These figures are courtesy of the Calorie Control Council; check out their website for more helpful stuff).

So what else do we add? How about some chicken wings - 99 calories and seven grams of fat if they are roasted. That's each. So about 100 calories a piece for each chicken wing. And a typical serving could be anywhere between 10 and 15 wings. So that's between 1,000 and 1,500 calories for the wings!

Add some beer to that mix - light beer even - 100 calories for light and 150 calories for a regular beer -- and the cals keep pilin' on like the Steel Curtain!

Now hang on! Like I said I love to eat. I enjoy a good meal - and a good celebration - just as much as the next guy. So what to do on Super Sunday? Alternatives!

Check it out. If you replace the polish sausages or other high-fat meat products with something like a Boca sausage, which can have as few as 47 calories and no fat, you could have three of them for the calorie content of one regular hot dog. Boca Italian Sausage (c)

(FYI the Boca sausages - smoked, Italian, and Bratwurst, all have between 120 and 140 calories and about 6 g of fat each. They have one gram of fiber which works out to 3 points for the sausage alone. Still expensive, if you are counting cals, but it might be worth it. An addendum, these things can give you gas, so you might get some Beano to go with them).

Add a light bun, like Sunbeam or Wonder fat free, and you could really pig out and not do nearly as much caloric damage as a regular Super Feast.

Chips? You could replace them with something like Pirates' Booty, which is a lower calorie chip that also has less fat. Or you could literally try Skinny Chips, which also have a good flavor and lower calorie content.

The U. S. Calorie Council estimates that Americans will consume up to 11.2 million pounds of potato chips, 8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips, and 4.3 million pounds of pretzels during the big game.

We will also choke down more than 3.8 million pounds of popcorn and 2.5 million pounds of nuts. The average person will eat an extra, 1,200 calories during Sunday's game, and that doesn't include alcohol!

A pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories. One dietician said that it would take a person three hours of walking around a football field or 1:45 of running to burn off the 1,200 extra calories. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 31% of the U.S. population between age 20 and 74 are obese, meaning our Body Mass Index is above the safe range. And we are dying younger. The Centers for Disease Control estimated that the average annual cost of obesity in the United States was $117 billion!

So make some healthy choices this week. It's been a long, long time since "dem Stillers" won the big game. Eat well so you can be around the next time they make it to the show.

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