During Nebraska football this season, game anxiety is real, which means stress eating is all too easy every weekend. You can feed your passion for Nebraska football without feeding your face. By applying a few mindful habits each weekend, you can keep that brand new Frost jersey fitting perfectly all season.

Hit the gym on game day

Get up early if necessary to get it done. A good calorie-burning cardio session can help manage stress and anxiety. As the game begins, you might find you feel more relaxed and mentally focused. Need an exercise goal to get you going? Commit to 10 minutes of cardio for every light beer you plan to drink that day.

Mix up the party foods

Sugar, fat and caffeine can increase anxiety and make you feel grouchier, tired and tense. Satisfy that urge to munch with fresh vegetables and hummus or a yogurt-based dip for some mood-balancing protein. Need something sweet? Go for chocolate- or cinnamon-dusted almonds. They will fix your sweet tooth without the sugar overload.

Keep it in the kitchen

Game anxiety makes mindless snacking all too easy. When food is out of reach, mindless eating is minimized. If nerves keep you snacking, go for Chex Mix and pretzels over chips and cookies. Even better, switch to just vegetables after your first full plate of meats and game fare. It takes a lot of broccoli to push you out of your favorite Husker sweatshirt, so feel free to chow down.

Take commercial breaks

Get up, stretch and take a few deep breaths, all of which are known stress-management techniques. This routine can also enhance mindfulness, helping you realize your stomach is full, and it is time to just sit back, relax and watch the game unfold — hopefully in Nebraska’s favor.

Think before you drink

Pace yourself by drinking a calorie-free drink between every beer; drink one beer per quarter; or set a drink limit, and once you meet it, switch to water or iced tea. Being able to function after a game, or the next morning, can have numerous stress-reducing effects and prevent that less-than-desirable spare tire from developing over the season.

Coach Frost looks strong and focused. He is not packing a spare tire from overindulging, so why not get fit like Frost yourself? Find your inner athlete by focusing on the game instead of the food. Get off the couch and read team stats and updates on the treadmill. With a healthy combination of regular exercise and a few healthy diet changes, you can handle the pressure and high expectations of football season.

Niki Kubiak is a registered dietitian who specializes in sports dietetics. She works as the director of nutrition and health at Infinite Sports World in Ralston. She writes regularly for livewellnebraska.com.

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