Don’t Let Football Season & Tailgating Sideline Your Healthy Eating Efforts

Tailgating veggies and dip

It’s officially football season!  A common concern I hear from clients is how to enjoy tailgating and all the fun without completely ruining all of their efforts to eat healthier during the week.  It is possible, but takes some pre-planning for sure.  Here are some tips to try…

Come prepared.
Keeping things light at these events is nearly impossible. Bring your own healthier dishes and snacks so that you are guaranteed to have some lighter options to choose from.  Some options to consider might be a veggie chili, some grilled wings, a veggie tray with dip, or a pasta or quinoa salad with veggies and beans.  Who knows, maybe your desire to make it a healthier tailgate will inspire others to do the same!  Also, tuck a piece of fruit or a protein bar in your pocket for during the game in case you get hungry.  Need some inspiration?  Check out my recipes section.

Don’t binge on beers.
It is not difficult over the course of a few hours of tailgating to drink 3 or 4 or more beers.  Aside from the extra calories you will be getting, drinking too much will likely make you feel hungry and create more of a desire to overdo it with the high calorie, high fat tailgate fare.  Make up your mind before you go how many beers you will drink and stick to it.  Try to drink plenty of water in between too.

Don’t go famished.
Showing up to a tailgate hungry is a bad idea. If you arrive feeling starved, you’re going to gobble up whatever you can get your hands on the fastest. Make it a point to eat regular balanced meals – with some lean protein, some high-fiber carbohydrate, and a fruit and/or veggie – leading up to the festivities so that you set yourself up for success.

Be a picky eater.
Don’t just mindlessly load your plate up.  Survey all the offerings before you fill your plate, then select plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.  Try to eat from a plate instead of continually grazing from the smorgasbord. This will help you keep track of how much you’re eating.

Stay mindful.
Amidst all the fun try to still pay attention to your hunger and fullness.  With many tempting foods around it is easy to eat past the point of satisfaction and on to the point of being uncomfortably stuffed.  Check in with yourself throughout the course of the day to avoid that miserable overly full feeling.

Tailgates, parties, and celebrations can create a challenge when it comes to staying on track with healthy habits, but with every challenge there are solutions.  By making just a few small gradual changes you can make tailgating and celebrating just a little healthier.  Try one of these tips this weekend!