Football season is in full swing! That means parties, gatherings, and tailgating with more food than you can imagine and a host badgering you to eat more. These are the times when we are most likely to over eat, and possibly drink more calories than we can fathom.
Football is not the only event where people are tailgating, you can see crowds in the parking lot at soccer games, baseball games, even concerts! Think about the last time you tailgated – what was available to eat? Chips, dips, burgers, hot dogs, chicken…more chips and dips. According to Men’s Health, the best tailgating foods consist of burgers, wings, pickles, hot dogs, chicken, chili, shrimp, anything barbecue, chips and dip, and beef jerky among others. It’s rare to see a veggie tray and if there is one, it’s usually the last to go, if at all.
While the food typically available during tailgates is not the healthiest, there is the benefit control. You can control what you bring, so if you want to eat something healthier, whip it up yourself! You’ll have a lot of options to choose from, but you can also control your portion size – if you want to have one chicken wing, you can; you’re not forced to buy a plate of five. Instead of beef burgers, you can suggest bringing turkey burgers to decrease fat and calories – add extra vegetable toppings and cut back on condiments to create a healthier alternative. Most dips that have a sour cream base can be made healthier if you substitute it for low-fat plain Greek yogurt. Do the same on a baked potato! You can also opt for the low-fat versions of mayonnaise and other dressings to save some calories, especially in potato salad or macaroni salad.
If you’re not going to tailgate and don’t want to succumb to the food inside the venue, eat before you leave! This way you still have control of what you’re eating and you are able to make healthy choices. Be sure to listen to your body; if you are full, don’t eat anymore. There are times when you may feel you’ve eaten too much, but don’t worry! Go for walk around the stadium to burn a few calories; you can still watch the game and get some exercise in too! If you’re at a concert, just keep dancing to the music!
Tailgating is a great time to spend with family and friends surrounded with your favorite foods. Don’t fret if you feel there are no healthy choices because you can always eat smaller portions or bring your own healthier treat! Have fun this football season!