Daily Archives: September 15, 2010

Tailgating without expanding your tail

Football and food naturally go hand and hand.  I mean clearly when you are watching huge, beefy men go at in on a field you think — nachos!  wings!  But football season is pretty long, and if you’re trying to stay on track with your goals and be healthy…indulging in these foods every weekend may not be your best gameplan.  So how can you enjoy football season and stay healthy?  For this question I turned to SELF magazine’s nutritionist, Cristin Jones for some helpful tips on how you can make any tailgate healthier.  Here are her great tips!

Grains: A simple swap to make is whole grain buns instead of typical white buns. You likely will be eating hot dogs, hamburgers, meatballs, sausages and pulled pork at some point this season so serve them on something with a little fiber! You might be making a pasta salad or baked ziti for your crowd of guests so use whole wheat pasta in there as well to make everything a little more filling. Lastly go for baked chips – you’ll save a lot of calories and fat by doing so.

Fruit: If you watch the game outside of your house, pack an apple to eat it after the game. You likely didn’t eat much fruit at the game so snacking on a piece now won’t be as awkward as eating it pre-game and it’ll be a nice way to get back on track. If you are hosting at home, make a fruit salad to go along with the other fare.

Vegetables: You really can get a lot of vegetables into a classic tailgate. Saute peppers and onions to have on your sausage, burger, or fajitas. Make homemade salsa with fresh tomatoes, onions, and cilantro for your baked chips or burger. Or try a pasta salad but make it so that has at least as much vegetable as there is pasta (ideally a little more Veg:Pasta). Coleslaw is another great side. If you make it yourself you can chose light mayonnaise and use less salt.  And of course a veggie tray with ranch dip (use lowfat sour cream or whipped cottage cheese) is great for snacking on throughout the game.

Meat & Beans: Swap out your hot dogs and sausages for their healthiest alternative. Try chicken sausage and all beef, uncured hot dogs. Hamburgers and grilled chicken are excellent choices. Shrimp makes an easy, healthy, filling appetizer. Be sure to grill or bake your meats rather than have them fried. Don’t forget about beans! They make a nice appetizers and side dishes or can be incorporated into a main entree like chili.

Beverages – Beer calories add up fast, especially when you are eating typical football fare along with it. There is really no way around it, you need to limit your beer intake if you want to avoid gaining weight. It’s fine to have 1-2 beers but that is the max. Zero calorie alternatives are seltzer, diet soda,  coffee, tea and of course water. Whether you are hosting at home or tailgating at the stadium you should have a few of these on hand as beer-alternatives!

Now go and get your game on!