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Score a Touchdown with Tips for a Healthier Game Day Spread

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Score a Touchdown with Tips for a Healthier Game Day Spread

Football season tailgate parties can be a lot of fun, but they can also tempt you with some really high-calorie foods and drinks. If you're trying to watch your weight there is no reason to sideline your efforts. Here are some tips to navigate the day more easily this season.

  • Offer to bring something that you know you can eat and others will enjoy. If you are the host, make sure the buffet includes fresh fruit—sliced, in a salad or on a kabob; assorted vegetables with low-fat dips and salsas; lean meats, seafood and low-fat cheeses; wholegrain breads and crackers; wraps, salads or stews made with beans.    
  • Have a small snack before the festivities begin so you will be less tempted to overeat. Try to include a protein and a high-fiber choice like cereal and yogurt.
  • Survey the choices before you load your plate, then select more fruits, veggies and lean meats.
  • Grilling can be healthy—choose the lean meat or make kabobs. Make sure you bring  healthy whole wheat buns. Opt for healthy fixings like avocado, onion, tomato and lettuce and skip the cheese.   
  • Eat from a plate instead of grazing from a table full of food. It is much easier to keep track of your intake this way.
  • Sides and snacks can add up quickly. Try salsa with baked chips; a veggie tray with a low-fat dip, guacamole or hummus; black bean and corn salad; or unbuttered popcorn.   
  • Park your folding chair away from the food table so you can focus on the company and game instead of the food. 
  • Eat slowly and enjoy your favorites—try to resist second helpings.
  • Go easy on desserts by managing the portion. Enjoy just your favorite in moderation. 
  • It is important to remember not to tailgate on beer alone. Water is vital for hydration and if you want to make it to halftime! 
  • If you drink limit alcohol intake to no more than two alcoholic beverages per day for men and one drink or less per day for women. Always alternate alcoholic drinks with zero-calorie beverages throughout the day.
  • Stay away from sugary mixers and opt for a sugar free or lower calorie option. 
  • Take a walk at halftime—a fitness break to move around a bit. Grab some friends and toss the football around yourselves.
  • Send everyone home with a “to go” bag so you don’t have the leftovers for a continued feast.

Equipped with these tips, you are more than ready to head to the parking lot to cheer your team on to victory while continuing your own healthy “losing” streak. Happy Tailgating!  

Artcle provided by Colleen Loveland, MS, RD, LD, CDE, registered and licensed dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Cooper Clinic. Click here for more information on nutrition consultations or call 972-560-2655.