Oh football season, weekends spent engaging in activities prepping for the big game, playing corn hole outside (if you don’t know what this is, it’s a midwest/southern thing), pong of some sort, drinking beverages, and eating copious amounts of foods while socializing with friends and family. You may be thinking, these behaviors above don’t necessarily sound too “healthy”. I’m here to tell you, they can be! Take a hint from Brutus the buckeye- he still maintains his fit figure while having fun tailgating all football season long (wink, wink).
If you’re not familiar with tailgating, basically it’s creating a space where you can hang out before a football game often filled with drinks, food, TV’s, tents, games, and of course rowdy friends and fellow football enthusiasts. Tailgating doesn’t have to be singled out to the parking lot at the actual football event. In college, tailgating happened everywhere and anywhere there was a group of people with one thing on their mind “FOOTBALL!”.
A side note on one of the most popular beverages that tailgating celebrates is alcohol. Alcohol contains several health benefits, but unfortunately for the majority of how alcohol is used (or abused), it tends to have less positive effects on our health. Alcohol is a calorie dense food item that lacks, if not is completely devoid of nutrients (a.k.a. liquid calories). The after effects of alcohol (that next morning feeling) on the body includes possible dehydration, headaches, digestive issues, increase in cortisol levels, and not to mention (if in consumed in excess) will sabotage your fat loss goals.
If fat loss and weight loss is one of your goals, be sure to enjoy alcohol in moderation (I really dislike using this phrase because it’s very generalized, but it’s true), set yourself a “rule” of allowing your drinks to be spread out through the day keeping hydrated with water in between [upper limits of alcoholic beverages are gender dependent, 12-14 servings for males, 9 servings for women never exceeding more than 4 servings per day/event= that translates to about 1 drink/day for women and 2 drinks/day for men]. Top 10 Healthy Tailgating Tips:
1. Be prepared
- With water, healthy snacks, entrees, utensils, napkins, ice, etc.
- Don’t skip breakfast/meals
- I often hear people say, “I’ll just skip breakfast so I can eat a lot more at lunch and all day long”… it doesn’t work that way friends.
- Fire up your metabolism in the morning by continuing your normal routine, this will also keep you satisfied and less likely to binge or overeat on alcohol or food when it’s available.
2. Stay hydrated
- Plain water, coconut water, or Simply Infused Water
- Pack a cooler
- Obviously, this is an essential in tailgating by mainly to carry adult beverages, also use this cooler or a separate one filled with fresh veggies, hummus, fruits, nuts/seeds, and other snacks.
- Grill an entree: fish, chicken breast, shrimp, tempeh, tofu, etc.
- Crockpot of a warm and fiber rich bean soup
- Crockpot of vegetable soup with rice
- Prepared Cheezy Polenta Jalepeno Poppers with Mango Salsa, Buffalo Cauliflower Bites with Ranch Dip, 6 Layer Tempeh Taco Dip, and more!
- The key with tailgating is keeping snacks super simple, portable, and filling so you’re not tempted to overeat snacks or at the next meal.
- Check out the SMALL PLATES section under the RECIPE tab or here for more snack ideas.
- Tupperware is your new best friend when traveling and keeping to your health goals.
- It’s a great way to use portion control and keep organized.
- If you’re prepared with pre-portioned snacks and meals, you’re less likely to overeat or indulge in foods that don’t coincide with your healthy eating goals.
- Here are a couple of my favorite brands for tupperware: here and here
6. Set “rules” for yourself
- “I’ll limit to one small plate full of treats I love, cookies, candy, nacho chips, etc.; and after I finish that plate I’ll be finished, no more seconds”
- “I’ll first eat a small plate full of raw vegetable/fruit before eating something heavy and calorie dense such as the buffalo chicken wings, etc.”- Eating raw fruits/veggies before a meal will help you feel fuller faster.
- “I’ll drink 2 glasses of water for every 1 alcoholic drink to stay hydrated and moderate my alcohol intake.”
7. Be mindful
- It’s easy for any of us to get caught up in the moment, chatting around the food table and before we know it, we’ve almost eaten an entire plate of nacho chips versus a couple that we were initially after.
- Strategy: Use a small plate or napkin, fill it with goodies that you’d like and walk away from the food table. This is a perfect and effortless way to use portion control without constantly surrounding yourself with the temptations.
8. Move and have fun!
- Play cornhole, toss a football, take a walk, run around with your friends, the little ones, or play fetch with your dog.
- Tailgating isn’t all about the food, it’s also about enjoying the company you’re with, socializing, enjoying the moment, relaxing, and of course… watching the game!
CLICK HERE: Healthy Tailgating Tips to get a free downloadable tip sheet with these tips! I hope this guideline was helpful to you for your next tailgating adventure! If you use any of the above tips and have success or simply want to comment on something that you do to keep on track, please comment below. I’d love to hear!
OH- IO! (sorry non-Ohio fans, I had to.),