If you love March Madness basketball, chances are you’ll spend a lot of time on the couch or barstool over the next few weeks. All of the upsets, buzzer-beaters and Cinderella stories can leave little time for healthy meals, exercise and sleep. But with a few simple tips, you can enjoy the tournament without having to loosen your belt in April.

Healthy snacks  

Whether you’re watching the game at home, a friend’s house or a sports bar, there are likely plenty of indulgent snacks around. If you still want to fit into your pants at the end of the tournament, choose healthier foods whenever possible and keep portion sizes reasonable.

Healthier, game-friendly snack and meal ideas include:

  • Raw vegetables or whole-wheat crackers with hummus, fresh bean dip, salsa or guacamole
  • Fresh fruit and yogurt dip
  • Snap pea crisps
  • Homemade kale chips
  • Grilled chicken wings
  • Shrimp and veggie skewers
  • Edamame
  • Baked sweet potato fries
  • Turkey chili
  • Trail mix

Enjoy these foods in moderation:

  • Chips
  • Fried foods
  • Creamy dips
  • Cheese
  • Hamburgers and hot dogs
  • Cookies
  • Candy
  • Ice cream

Go easy on the alcohol   

A 12-ounce beer contains approximately 150 calories. Drink a few of those, and you’ve consumed the caloric equivalent of a cheeseburger.

To protect your waistline – and liver – stick to no more than two drinks per day. Alternate alcoholic beverages with water.


Watching multiple games a week can throw a wrench in your fitness routine. Try to stick to your regular workouts or watch a game from the treadmill or while lifting weights.

No time to hit the gym? Do at-home exercises like burpees, pushups, lunges, squat jumps and planks on commercial breaks.

Not only will exercise fend off unwanted pounds, but it will also help keep stress at bay and your energy level high.

Stay calm

If your team’s loss has your blood boiling, take a few deep breaths or a walk. One study found that people are more likely to have chest pain or a heart event in the two hours after a fit of rage.

Regular exercise and getting enough sleep will also help keep your stress levels in check.


Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain, not to mention a rough day at work. Try to stick to a consistent sleep schedule. If you plan to watch a later game, consider watching it at home, so you can go to bed as soon as the game is over.

No matter how your bracket performs, if you follow these tips, you’ll feel great mentally and physically just in time for spring.