The American Heart Association | American Stroke Association set the scrimmage line on game day feasts.

 It’s time for the big game, and you know what that means! Time to grab your jersey, don your lucky socks, and grab some munchies before kickoff.

But can you keep it healthy at your game-watching bash? Yes!

Whether you’re cheering on your favorite team or checking out the game day commercials, you need to check out this heart healthy ‘playbook’ from the American Heart Association to make sure your celebration equals a touchdown. No need to bench the chili and wings.  With just a few minor tweaks, your menu can go from second string to starter while lowering your risk for heart disease and stroke, the No. 1 and No. 5 killers in the U.S.

The Food Playbook:

  1. Eat your fruits and veggies. Mom and Dad were on to something when they taught you to eat an apple a day. Fill up half your plate with these low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods that keep you satisfied. Choose veggies with hummus, salsa or other low-fat dip for a crunchy snack.
  2. Stay hydrated. Water is the best way to stay hydrated. Reach for water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages like soda and sports drinks, which add extra calories with little nutritional value. Plain water too boring? Try sparkling water or add fruit wedges to jazz it up.
  3. Put down the double bacon cheeseburger. Instead, reach for a grilled turkey burger piled high with veggies like avocado, tomato, onions and lettuce. In other words, choose lean cuts of meat and poultry without skin and extra fat removed. And add lots of veggies for an extra boost of nutrients.
  4. Hold off on the wings. A game day staple, wings are delish and often loaded with calories and trans fats. For the same spicy kick, toss grilled or baked chicken breast strips in your favorite hot sauce. You’ll barely notice the difference!
  5. Drink responsibly. Alcohol contains a lot of empty calories and can have other negative effects on your health. Watching football can mean enjoying a few beers or cocktails, but spacing them out by drinking a cup of water between each drink will help keep you on track.
  6. Toss the chips. Game snacks can be full of sodium. Along with the veggies, try a low sodium dip, unsalted nuts and seeds, and whole-grain crackers.
  7. Take your phone out. No, not to tweet. To check your portions. Portion control can help you keep track of the foods you are consuming without going overboard. For instance, a serving of chicken breast (3 ounces) is about the size of a smart phone and a medium banana is about the size of a pencil. For more portion comparisons, check out www.heart.org/PortionDistortion.

Looking for more healthy game day tips? Visit www.heart.org/GettingHealthy.