Football season is always a favorite time of year, and for many of us the tailgate party before the game is almost as important as the game itself. What could be better than hanging out with family and friends and eating great food?
But that doesn’t mean it has to derail your healthy habits. All you have to do is make smart food choices.
Typical tailgating foods can easily add up to more calories than you think, but if you come up with a game plan beforehand and stick to it, you can make your tailgating table more colorful and with fewer calories.
Choose a variety of colors.
When bringing something to a tailgate, choose fresh fruits or vegetables so that you know there will be a healthy option for you to choose.
Be social away from the food table.
Make yourself a plate and move away from the food table to avoid mindless snacking. Toss around the football, play corn-hole or throw a Frisbee to keep your mind off those tempting treats.
Focus on baked options.
Baked foods have fewer calories from fat, so try to skip the fried foods on the table.
Dip with vegetables rather than chips.
Instead of enjoying your dips with chips, try using raw vegetables to help keep your carbohydrates in check while also providing additional nutrients.
Drink plenty of water in between other beverages to stay hydrated and try to limit the number of alcoholic or sweetened beverages like soda, as they are empty calories.
Keeping smart food choices in mind will help you fight the battle of the bulge and keep you feeling fresh and ready to cheer on your favorite team!
Not sure what to bring to your tailgate? Check out our recipe library for ideas!
Reviewed by Robyn Rohrig, a registered dietitian with Carilion Clinic's Dining and Nutrition team.