When the crew gets together to watch a fight or game, you know there will be some serious snacking involved. The typical food spread isn’t usually the healthiest, but there are many ways you can let yourself indulge without compromising taste – or your diet.
You may think that a boxer’s meal plan doesn’t ever include game day go-to’s like pizza, wings, chips and dip. Even the most disciplined fighter knows that you should never cheat yourself out of flavor. A ‘cheat day’ for the health-conscious fighter may just mean making some slight (and tasty!) changes to everyone’s favorite treats.
Remember, a healthy lifestyle starts with small, conscious changes that will soon become second nature. Making better choices about food every day is a great start. Like FightCamp Trainer Shanie Smash says: “If you are going to have a ‘cheat meal,’ make it a healthy one!”
With Boxing and MMA fights and the Super Bowl right around the corner, consider some of these tips inspired by a boxer’s diet.
Get Creative In the Kitchen
Eating healthy is best achieved when you prepare your own food. If you know what ingredients go into your meals, you have control over the nutritional balance of your diet.
A boxer’s diet is high in lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. Preparing your own game day smorgasbord means you know what recipes to look for – and which ones to skip.
Generally, here are some things you want to avoid in your meals and snacks:
High sodium foods
High sugar foods
Explore New Recipes
One great opportunity to flex your creative cooking talent is with a game day staple: pizza. Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest pizza delivery day of the year. Pizza delivery is fast, easy, and convenient, but usually unhealthy. If you happen to have an artisan pizza shop in your area, you are one of the lucky few who may be able to enjoy fresh ingredients and healthy upgrades. For the rest of us, it is worth it to make your own.
If pizza is in the plan, it’s fun and easy to make customizable personal pizzas with nutritious ingredients. Choose healthy options, like a cauliflower or whole grain crust, and toppings like fresh veggies, low fat cheese, and lean meats. Get creative with spices and add-ons that make it one-of-a-kind.
Another crowd favorite that may be on the menu is tacos. Instead of using starchy flour tortillas, you can offer up multigrain or corn tortillas to add flavor and fiber, and include plenty of fresh toppings like cilantro, onions, peppers, and plant-based cheese. Pick your proteins wisely, and opt for leaner meats like chicken and fish. Or maybe go straight for nutrient-dense plant proteins, like beans or soy chorizo instead!
Planning to beat the winter cold with some spicy chili? Instead of beef, which is often high in saturated fat, try a recipe with lean ground turkey, and load it up with black beans for added fiber. Turkey is also a great substitute for other popular fight night finger foods like meatballs – which pair perfectly with a yogurt-based tzatziki sauce. If you want to dial down on meat, you can swap it out for high-protein chickpeas.
If traditional burgers or sliders are the main dish, you have another perfect opportunity to think beyond beef. If turkey burgers aren’t your thing, consider making black bean burgers or getting one of the many meat-free patty options now widely available. You can also go gourmet with a delicious salmon burger for a boost of omegas.
Do Some Snack Swapping
A few choice words to describe most game day appetizer staples are: salty, greasy, and artificial. Just like you’d swap ingredients to make a healthier meal, swapping out a few of the worst snack offenders is easy and delicious.
Here are a handful of simple switches you can make come game time:
Skip the super salty nacho chips – opt for whole grain, low sodium, or even veggie chips
Pass on cheese dips – grab some nutrient-rich guacamole, creamy hummus, or fresh salsa
Take it easy on the sour cream spreads – try protein-packed Greek yogurt, zest it up with garlic and herbs
Avoid high sugar treats – make a colorful fruit platter and a yummy yogurt dip sweetened with a touch of honey
Fire Up The Air Fryer
Not only can you swap ingredients to make fight night foods and snacks healthier, you can also use different methods of preparation to increase the health factor. Fried foods tend to be a staple for sports events, but not for a healthy diet, but this doesn’t mean you can never enjoy that crispy crunchy goodness ever again.
Investing in an air fryer is a fantastic upgrade for your kitchen and your health. Studies have shown that air frying cuts calories by as much as 80% over using an oil fryer, while also decreasing fat content. Cooking with an air fryer can even drastically reduce the harmful effects of traditional oil frying, specifically the chemical production of acrylamide which has been linked to cancer.
The possibilities are endless as more people cook up an array of creative air fryer recipes, from traditional chicken wings to Brussel sprouts that your kids might actually want to eat.
Don’t forget that although air frying food is often the healthier option by far, you are still technically preparing fried food and these foods should not be diet staples. For the fitness-minded fighter who has that kick-butt game day wing recipe, an air fryer is a must-have appliance for those special occasions.
Burn It Off
Remember, when you are training regularly you are burning more calories, even at rest. A fit, healthy body is more capable of using food efficiently - even the occasional bite off the bad food list. Don’t let yourself feel guilty over a few extra calories or a naughty nibble every now and then, just burn it off with a high-intensity boxing or kickboxing workout, and jump right back into your healthy routine.
At-home fitness programs like FightCamp make it easy to stick with an effective fitness routine that’s convenient and fun. Boxing and kickboxing training burn an insane number of calories, and as you build more muscle, your body will require even more nutrients on a daily basis. The fitter you become, the easier it will be to make healthy food choices as your body begins to crave better, quality fuel.
Find out more about how you can start incorporating health-conscious habits into your lifestyle through FightCamp.