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The Rugby World Cup is finally around the corner! We cannot wait! But let’s be honest… there is a slight worry of what it’s going to do to our waistlines. For most, snacking is part and parcel of watching rugby. These snacking habits in addition to too much excitement could easily add too many calories and too few nutrients to our diets. It doesn’t have to be this way.

What do South Africans generally eat and drink when they watch rugby? Well, beer is a given as is a braai especially when your friends or family come over. The popular foods include boerewors rolls, sosaties, braaibroodjie, chips and dip, biltong and droëwors, to name just a few.

So how can we still keep our traditions GO’ing without overdoing it and undoing all the hard work we have done at the club or on the road? Remember when you eat while watching a game you are not focusing on the food and rather eating mindlessly. This is generally the reason for overeating! However, this act of eating while being busy with something else is a habit that can be changed.

Four simple steps to stop mindless (mid-game) eating:

  1. Be aware of what your general routine is when watching rugby.
  2. Decide on what you need to change to make it healthier.
  3. Prepare in advance (i.e. have all the correct foods available).
  4. Stay mindful around the food choices and quantities that you eat. An easy way to stay conscious of your portions is to serve yourself some snacks onto a plate. Once you have enjoyed that one plate, stop!

Smart savoury snacks:

  • Air-popped popcorn homemade popcorn made in a pot with one teaspoon of oil. Enjoy with some salt
  • Flavoured mini rice crackers
  • Pretzels
  • Pita chips (see recipe attached)
  • Potato and sweet potato strips baked in the oven with a small amount of oil, herbs and spices
  • Ostrich or game biltong with little spice or salt
  • Boerewors rolls made with ostrich or chicken sausages. Make the roll without margarine or butter and use mustard or tomato sauce
  • Toasted cheese using low GI whole wheat bread and mozzarella. Grate the mozzarella to use less and add a tomato for extra flavour
  • Vegetable crudités with cottage cheese, hummus or tzatziki (made using yoghurt, cucumber, dill and spices)
  • Other dip ideas include:
    • 1 cup yoghurt with 1 tsp. pesto
    • 1 cup yoghurt, ¼ cup blue cheese, 2 tbsp. parsley and ½ tsp. hot sauce
    • 1 cup yoghurt, 1 avocado, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, ½ tsp. cumin, salt and pepper

Smart sweet snacks:

  • Fruit kebabs
  • Frozen mashed banana
  • Baked apple with cinnamon
  • Try Me’s nutella chocolate gluten free muffins
  • Raw chocolate balls made with a cup of finely ground almonds, ¼ cup cocoa powder and 3 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup
  • Chocolate avocado pudding made with 1½ avocados, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup, ¼ cup milk and 2 tsp. vanilla essence (Link to Happy.Me site)

Drinks:

  • Water with lemon, mint, cucumber or berries added for flavour
  • Flavoured ice cubes in a tall glass of water
    • Combine water, cucumber, basil, and salt in a blender and freeze in an ice-cube tray.
    • Combine orange juice, lime juice and lime zest in a bowl and freeze in an ice-cube tray
  • Give lite beers a try! They contain about 30% less calories than the regular ones. Or have a beer shandy (made with coke lite/zero) or a wine spritzer instead

Pita Chips

Ingredients

  • 12 pita bread pockets
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp died parsley

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C
  2. Cut each pita bread into 8 triangles. Optional: cut the pita bread horizontally in half before cutting it into triangles. Place the triangles on a lined baking tray
  3. In a small bowl mix the oil, pepper, salt, basil and chervil. Brush each triangle with the oil mixture
  4. Bake for about 7 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy. NB: You have to watch them as they can easily burn!