I hope you're hungry, because chances are you're going to eat a LOT of food during the big game this weekend.

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pile of chicken wings
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Are you ready for this weekend's big holiday and the food traditions that come with it?

Holiday, you ask? You bet. As far as I'm concerned Super Bowl Sunday is right up with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the 4th of July in terms of nearly universal celebration. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, over 190 million Americans are planning to watch the game.

And chances are most of those Americans are going to eat a LOT. In fact, as a nation we eat more food on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day of the year except Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving revolves around gorgeously-roasted turkeys, handmade pies, and harvest-themed side dishes. While that menu represents our highest ideals of eating (homemade, seasonal, and veggie-centric), I argue that the Super Bowl actually better reflects what most of us really want to eat: classic junk food. From chips and wings to nachos and beer, the Super Bowl is our excuse to just chow down and enjoy all the foods that we rarely eat or feel like we shouldn't eat the rest of the year. It should go without saying: There is no place for food guilt during the Super Bowl.

Here is the salty, fatty, delicious scoop:

  • According to the National Chicken Council more than 1.3 BILLION chicken wings will be eaten this Saturday and Sunday. Under Armour's MyFitnessPal notes that on Super Bowl Sunday Americans will eat 327% more wings than on an average day.
  • If you're not eating wings, you're probably eating pizza. Super Bowl Sunday is the busiest day of the year for pizza joints. Domino's expects to sell 12 million slices of pizza that day alone.
  • After wings and pizza, potato chips are the most popular Super Bowl snack.
  • According to the California Avocado Commission, 139 million pounds of avocados will be consumed, largely in the form of (healthy!) guacamole.
  • With guac around, naturally there are tortilla chips on the menu -- 8.2 million pounds in fact.
  • It's unclear how many calories we'll ingest during the game. Estimates range from an average of 1000-2000 per person, nearly as much as we generally eat in an entire day.
  • According to FOX News, almost 52 million cases of beer are sold on Super Bowl Sunday...and about 6% of Americans call in sick for work the next day. (Ha!)
  • The folks at Pinterest report that cheese is their users' top party snack. Snack-adiums are also popular. Check out the Panthers Party and Broncos Bash boards for recipe and decor inspiration.

Here is the place where I could offer tips on how to eat less and/or better during the Super Bowl. Instead I say enjoy the game (or commercials or Puppy Bowl) with your family and eat some food you truly love.

Me? I'll be making short rib nachos, and this year I plan to go double-decker, piling high the cheese and guacamole. It is a holiday after all.

What's on your Super Bowl menu?

Jenna Helwig is Parents' food editor, the author of Real Baby Food, and a lifelong Denver Broncos fan.