By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

For many Super Bowl fans – along with the commercials and the halftime show – the day is all about the snacks. Wings. Chili. Pizza.

But whether you are pulling for repeat contenders, the New England Patriots, or the underdog Philadelphia Eagles, all good die-hard fans can come together on one point: Sunday’s football marathon can be accompanied by food that’s both tasty and healthy.

Whether gathering for a large viewing party or just with family or friends, staying on track with a healthy diet and having fun aren’t mutually exclusive, said Penny Kris-Etherton, a distinguished professor of nutrition at Penn State University and past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee. But being mindful about health is key.

“Planning gives you a little more freedom,” Kris-Etherton said. “Then you don’t find yourself trying to make up for it afterward.”

Here are five ideas to help intercept those empty calories:

Play offense: Be proactive and choose wisely. Try chicken wings without the skin or, better yet, research baked wing recipes. Include a robust vegetable tray to eat with that dip instead of chips. And yes, please, on the guacamole – avocadoes are rich in nutrients. Grab small appetizer plates so you can keep track of your portions.

Use those substitutes: Choose lean or extra-lean beef. Add shredded vegetables like zucchini and squash to ground beef for healthier chili or burgers. Swap the beef for turkey or salmon and sub the bun for a lettuce wrap. Offer chicken, seafood or lean beef kabobs with vegetables.

Call foul on too much alcohol: Drink individual bottles of beer or pour your own wine to keep track. Too much booze adds calories and can impair your healthy eating judgment. The AHA recommends drinking in moderation, up to two drinks a day for men and one for women.

Avoid the Gatorade shower: Avoid sugary drinks and stick with water. You may be feeling hungry, but you may just be dehydrated. So, stay hydrated.

Head for the end zone: Don’t give up. Even if you make a misstep here or there and draw a foul, remember the endgame.

Going for the extra point? Find more ideas for your playbook here:

How to eat healthy

Take-a-break snack mix recipe

Yummy Texas caviar