Some tips for enjoying a healthy and safe Super Bowl

Posted 2 February 2016 at 12:00 am

By Nola Goodrich-Kresse and Kristine Voos, Genesee-Orleans Public Health Education Team

This Sunday is one of the biggest sports events of the year – it is also one of the most anticipated commercial events. It is Super Bowl Sunday!

Whether you are rooting for your favorite team or your favorite commercial, there is bound to be food at your Super Bowl party.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, more than 1.3 billion chicken wings and 4 million pizzas are expected to be eaten during the big game.

With any event longer than 2 hours that has food as a focus, it is important to be aware of food safety to avoid any penalties. Food poisoning can put a damper on your game so consider the following safety plays for a touchdown:

Make sure hot foods stay hot and cold foods stay cold. The “Danger Zone” is the temperature between 45°F and 140°F where bacteria multiply rapidly. Use a food thermometer to make sure your meets are cooked properly.

Make sure you watch the clock and don’t bring out foods too early or leave them out too long. Perishable foods should not be kept at room temperature for more than two hours. Put out smaller portions at a time to prevent waste and switch them out often.

Make sure you wash your hands properly and often. Always wash before starting to prepare foods and after handling raw meat, poultry or seafood. Remember to wash your hands after handling the trash. Handwashing is never a Hail Mary play – take your time using hot water, soap and washing your hands and wrists for at least 20 seconds.

Remember also to limit the high fat, sugar snacks. It is easy to overeat when you have a wide variety of foods in front of you. Use a smaller plate, don’t load it up and avoid multiple grazing sessions.

Choose fresh veggies to get a crunchy snack or make your own chips by baking tortilla chips to limit the oil and salt. Salsa is a good alternative to heavy dips and is also very flavorful. Tackle physical activity too by tossing a football during commercial breaks and dancing along with music during half-time.

Call a time-out on alcohol by taking steps to make sure you, your friends and family members avoid driving under the influence. Avoid the risk of hurting yourself and others by arranging a designated driver or cab to bring you to and from the celebration(s). It is also important to have alcohol-free beverages available for designated drivers and those under the age of 21.

Stay safe and healthy this Super Bowl Sunday.