MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Not only is the Super Bowl one of the most watched TV events of the year, but it’s also one that gives us a good excuse to splurge on some of our favorite foods.

Besides Thanksgiving, Americans consume more calories on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day of the year.

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The most popular items are wings, nachos, pizza, and beer. But Sara Bloms, a registered dietitian, says the calories can creep up quick.

“The average person eats around 2,500 [calories] during those hours of the game,” Bloms said. “It’s a little overwhelming.”

An average dozen of chicken wings, for example, will run you around 800-1,000 calories.

“It’s not that … [they] just don’t have a lot of great nutrition … it’s that we eat a lot of them,” she said.

If you aren’t willing to give up all of your food favorites, then what’s the “healthiest”? Bloms says it all depends on the toppings.

Fully-loaded nachos (with meat, cheeses, sour cream, guacamole, etc.) would be the worst option of the three for calories, fat and saturated fat.

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But Bloms says they can be made much healthier through modification.

“A lot of the nachos you’re going to find don’t have to be that unhealthy as long as have, you know, beans, lean meats,” she said.

Junior Kraus, the executive chef at the Bulldog Northeast in Minneapolis, says servers are happy to take accommodations and offer suggestions to makeover heavier Super Bowl foods.

“The restaurants that have success are used to it, and we’re happy to do that,” Kraus said.

As for beer, you should stick to the light variety. For a cocktail, try a Bloody Mary, which is less than 200 calories.

Still, Bloms says one day of overindulging won’t make or break your health.

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“Be a little more active. Swap ingredients where you can,” she said. “As long as you prepare, Sunday doesn’t hit as bad.”

Kate Raddatz