Tailgating Tips to Help Your Team (and Waistline) Win

Summer has come to an end.  School is back in session and now instead of having Saturdays spent at the lake, many of us find ourselves cheering on our favorite football team. Tailgating and football parties are a great way to spend time with friends, watch the big game and hopefully see our team get a victory.  Most events usually include food, and not always the healthiest options.  Here are some tips to help show your team spirit and to help your waistline win this season.

  1. Plan Ahead: Whether you are organizing the event or bringing a dish to pass, make sure there are healthy options available.  Veggie trays, salads, or fruit trays are all healthy and easy to make. If you are responsible for the main dish consider checking out the American Diabetes Association  for some great low fat, healthy grilling ideas.
  2. Color Coordinate: Use fruits and vegetables that are your team’s colors. My favorite team’s colors are Green and White, so I make a veggie tray with broccoli, green peppers, celery and a plain Greek yogurt dip to eat healthy and show my team spirit. A great dessert idea is making a skewer with kiwi, green grapes, green apples, and green pears then dipping into a low fat vanilla yogurt.
  3. Limit Alcohol: Depending on where you tailgate or watch the big game, there may be restrictions on alcohol. If alcohol is allowed at your party, try to stick to the recommendation: having up to 2 drinks per day for men and up to 1 drink per day for women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines a standard drink as 12 ounces of beer, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits or liquor. By limiting alcohol intake it can help you be more alert for the game and your surroundings, in case a bad pass is headed towards you.  Also by drinking less it helps save on added calories.
  4. Stay Active: Playing catch before the game is a great way to get pumped up for the game and keep your body moving. Also try going for a walk during half time or between quarters, after sitting for a long period of time it will help with blood flow and circulation. Going for a short walk is also a great way to burn a few calories.
  5.  Avoid Mindless Eating: Ever catch yourself eating until you are stuffed just because the food is there?  Try to avoid standing around the food table. Fill your plate with lots of fruits and veggies and wait at least 15 minutes before refilling your plate with seconds.  The stomach can take 15-20 minutes before it sends a trigger to your brain signaling that you are full.

What are some of your favorite healthy tailgating tips? Here’s to a happy and healthy football season! Go Green!

Photo credit: Michael W. May

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