How to Survive Footy Finals Weekend

If you’re a footy fan, you’ve probably already marked the first weekend of October in your diary. With not one but two grand finals to look forward to, it’ll soon be time to dig out your team colours, pick your spot in front of the big screen and cheer ‘til your voice gives way.

As all fans will know, watching the match goes hand-in-hand with sinking a few cold ones and enjoying some pub grub – but if you’re living with diabetes or if you’ve been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, big celebratory occasions like footy finals can be something of a minefield to navigate.

The good news is that you don’t have to miss out. You can still enjoy all the trappings of footy finals weekend without any of the negative health consequences, simply by making a few small changes to your normal routine. Read on for our guide to surviving finals weekend with your health intact.

  • Say cheers the healthy way

    No one said living with diabetes means you have to become a teetotaller overnight. Everything in moderation is a good rule of thumb, so if you want to enjoy a few beers with your mates as you  cheer your team to victory, choose a low carb, low alcohol variety. Prefer spirits? Stick to mixers with minimal sugar content such as diet tonic water, diet ginger ale and diet cola.

    If a glass of vino is your tipple of choice, then opt for dry over sweet, and red over white. Although both contain similar levels of alcohol, red wine may have other health benefits: studies have shown that it can reduce the risk of heart disease for people with Type 2 diabetes, making it a much healthier choice. Cheers to that!

    Fast fact: Surprisingly, alcohol actually lowers, rather than increases your blood sugar levels. In fact, drinking alcohol can lower your blood sugar for 24 hours, so experts recommend that you check your blood sugar levels before you drink, during, and for up to 24 hours afterwards. Remember, if you’re drinking, you should do so with food to avoid the risk of hypoglycaemia which can have severe consequences.

  • Get creative with your snack options

    If you’re watching the match at home, avoid temptation by whipping up some nutritious snacks in advance. You don’t need to be a master chef to master these simple recipes:

    Healthy chips and dip

    If you’re a sucker for a plate of nachos, this pared-back version will more than satisfy your cravings – and by making your own corn chips and salsa instead of choosing salt and sugar-laden shop-bought varieties, you can enjoy them guilt-free.

    Step 1: Cut four low fat tortillas into eight wedges, spray with non-stick cooking spray and bake for 10 minutes at 200 degrees.

    Step 2: Combine ½ cup each of chopped grapefruit segments, chopped orange segments, chopped cucumber and chopped tomatoes in a bowl. Mix in some finely chopped green onion, fresh coriander, a ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper and a dash of salt.

    Step 3: Arrange your homemade corn chips on a plate around your bowl of salsa and enjoy!

    Mini pizzas

    Avoid the temptation to reach for the phone and order takeout pizza by creating your own low-carb version of this game night classic. Simply place a spoonful of passata or tomato paste onto a low fat whole wheat cracker, add a few thin slices of mushroom or capsicum and top with grated low fat mozzarella cheese. Pop them under the grill just until the cheese melts.

    Spicy popcorn

    Popcorn is a great alternative to cholesterol-heavy snacks like chips – and as it’s also high in fibre it packs a nutritional punch too. As many pre-packed varieties contain added nasties, it’s best to pop your own fresh at home. Get creative and add your own seasoning mix – a pinch of garlic powder, paprika or even taco seasoning added after popping can all lift your run-of-the-mill snack to new heights.

  • Be prepared

    If you’re lucky enough to have match tickets or plan to watch from your local pub, you’re going to need a game plan to avoid temptation. These three rules of thumb will help keep you on track:

    1. Eat

      Make sure you eat well at home before heading out, so you’re less likely to feel hungry later. A well-balanced meal with the right amount of protein will help to keep snack attacks at bay.

    2. Keep yourself moving 

      Counter the extra calories you’re likely to ingest by boosting your metabolism at half-time or pre-match. Park a few streets away and walk to your destination, or get up and stretch your legs at half-time.

    3. BYO snacks 

      Keep a bag of low fat popcorn or unsalted nuts in your pocket to munch on during the match and you won’t even notice that pie truck outside later!


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