Summer is coming to an end and you all know what that means! No, not pumpkin-flavored foods, it means its football season! My husband and I are huge Pitt football fans, which means a lot of tailgating over the next few months. Getting together with friends and family before a big game is one of my favorite things about this time of year. Between the hot dogs, dips, desserts, and drinks, tailgates can really add up in calories. Read on for a few of my favorite ways to make your tailgate a little healthier.
- Take control of the foods available.
- Leave it to other people to bring the unhealthy foods and instead bring some fresh veggies and hummus or fruit so you know there will be something healthy and low-cal you can nosh on. Tailgate food tables are usually not very colorful, so solve this problem by bringing a big green salad, fruit, or veggies with hummus.
- Two words: Shish kabobs! These are great for keeping the main meal healthy! Load them up with lots of veggies and lean meats such as chicken, shrimp, or fish and skip the higher-fat grilled foods altogether. You’ll save some calories and people will think you are super creative!
- If you aren’t ready to part with burgers, opt for extra lean beef and healthier toppings such as veggies and avocado. Skip cheese on the burger and save about 100 calories and 5 grams of fat, and choose a whole wheat bun.
- Avoid foods you think may have a high amount of fat and calories or offer to make these types of foods yourself and swap the ingredients to lighten it up.
- Sub fat-free Greek yogurt for sour cream or cream cheese in your favorite tailgate recipe.
- Be mindful! Put your food on a plate and move away from the food table. This will help you to see how much you are eating and realize when it is time to stop. Sit down when you’re eating and really enjoy your food.
- Alcohol adds up. Give yourself a drink limit, alternate with a glass of water between every alcoholic drink to stay hydrated, or choose lower calorie options.
- Get moving! Play cornhole or take a walk around instead of congregating around the food.
- Have a plan before you go that aligns with your health goals. Know you will stop after one plate of food and to fill half your plate with veggies. Set a drink limit or give yourself a step goal for the day. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
- Remember that it’s not all about the food! Enjoy spending time with family and friends while rooting for your favorite team.