Today we ponder whether or not social settings like the Super Bowl, cocktail parties and even going to the movies causes us to eat more. Eating is a social activity, as we join with loved ones and friends to break bread together. One of the things I enjoy most about eating is the fact that you can share wonderful culinary creations with those you care about most. I love good food and love sharing with those who appreciate quality ingredients and delicious recipes. This to me is one of life’s big pleasures.
Here in the USA, the football playoffs are on TV on the weekend, as we are leading up to the grand finale of football season: the Super Bowl. It is a huge social and food-sharing event. The grocery stores are gearing up for the weekly games, with displays of sugary soda, beer, chips, pretzels just for starters. The bakeries have cakes made to look like a football field and cupcakes are made in team colors. Add to this the actual get-togethers where friends gather to watch the game at someone’s home on the big screen TV. It seems like the bigger fans people are of football, the larger the menu at Super Bowl parties. There are kegs of beer, trays of cheese, burgers, chili, wings, hotdogs, chicken tenders, chips, dips and the list just goes on and on.
I can’t help but consider what the ramifications of eating this type of food would be on somebody’s diet. With beer aplenty to wash down football cuisine, it seems like a calorie, fat and sodium avalanche. I’ve seen the menus! How is it that people feel the need to gorge themselves during the Super Bowl or any other football game? Forgive me dear friends, but I am not a football fan. I will watch the Super Bowl and will oftentimes keep up with who is in the running during playoff season, but all of this doesn’t honestly matter to me. It is a current event observation and not a passion. I have been to a couple of Super Bowl parties, but for me, it doesn’t hold the same ritual of reverence that it does to others.
By the same token, I have also observed people in movie theaters. I particularly remember a friend of mine who would go to a movie and buy a huge tub of buttered popcorn and a humongous sugary soda whenever she went to a movie. She is not alone as many people do this. I have to justify the cost of the ticket and if I were to spend extra money on the concessions stand, I would either want to use that money prepare something nice at home or maybe go out and have a special event meal at a restaurant. It’s a lot of extra money for food that is so poor nutritionally and so high calorically, that I would tend to classify that type of “food” as garbage. Then again that is the way I am, as I am very picky about what fuels my body. Not everyone thinks this way. I just like my splurges to be worthwhile.
This causes me to wonder: why is it that we feel it necessary to eat tons of food at a football game or down barrels of popcorn at a movie? Does the action in the films and the action on the gridiron make us feel emotional and essentially become “emotional eaters” during the game or movie to put us in this state? Are we expending our excitement and frustration on the outcomes by eating all of this and then washing it down with beer or sugary soda, both of which have about the same amount of calories? What makes us get caught up in the flow of emotional eating during a game or movie? To me, it is an interesting thing to think about.
We all know about emotional eating. I wrote a post on this, “Are You an Emotional Eater?” During exciting football games or movies, we can go from a gear of being in control to a gear of being out of control. To me as a fit person, this is dangerous territory. If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that I love to do an over-the-top celebration for Christmas and Thanksgiving or any other situation worth celebrating. If it is worth celebrating, it is worth celebrating right with good food prepared well. This is food you don’t need to eat a lot of because it satisfies you. Football food does not even seem tempting from my point of view, it is nothing worth blowing my diet over; but most don’t think that way. If I were hosting a football party, I would have select guests and select things for the menu rather than standard football cuisine.
And when we go to cocktail parties, the same thing can occur. Do we consume more in a lively atmosphere? Do we head over to the table and nibble too much? Do we drink too much? Do we indulge in things that we wouldn’t do at home? Why do we do this? Is it possible to be sociable and still remain in control? How do you handle going to the movies or football parties? Do you participate heartily by eating whatever is there, or do you make judicious and healthy choices? This is just an interesting thing to think about, and with the Super Bowl coming up in a couple of weeks, I just wanted to give you some food for thought. What do you think? How do you handle it?