Fall is here! Not only does that mean you can once again pull your favorite jackets and sweaters out of your closet, but it also means that football season is back in full swing. While avid football fans look forward to the season all year long, the weekly tailgates and watch parties that accompany game day can sometimes be a nightmare for those trying to stay healthy or lose weight.
You can still enjoy the fun of football season without sacrificing your diet for fried or greasy foods each weekend. Keep reading for my favorite tips for healthy game day eats.
Avoid fried foods by choosing healthy alternatives.
Tailgates and watch parties are usually known for fried and greasy foods that are high in fat and calories. Step number one in planning healthier tailgate options is to avoid these foods! Instead of fried foods, it is much better to choose things that are grilled or baked. For example, instead of cooking chicken wings, try making kebabs with grilled chicken and vegetables. If you’re thinking about having pizza, try making a low-carb pizza with your favorite toppings. You can use a cauliflower crust and top your pizza with your favorite veggies.
What about sides and small snacks? Instead of french fries or potato chips, try making some fun and healthier roasted or baked potato options, sure to be a crowd-pleaser at your tailgate. You can also try my recipe for delicious carrot fries, a fan-favorite at the Johnson house. Be sure to include some fruits and veggies in your spread as well as a healthy dip like hummus for a guilt-free snack as you watch the game.
As a general rule of thumb remember to stay away from fried and fatty foods and stick to grilled or baked foods, lean proteins, and healthy toppings when planning your tailgate menu.
Be conscious of portion control.
It might seem like a daunting task to ensure that your entire tailgate menu is healthy. If you have a slightly less healthy option here and there, feel free to enjoy it. Just remember that portion control is an essential factor in weight loss and maintaining your nutrition.
An easy way to do this is to practice mindful eating. There are a few different ways to help you practice mindful eating and portion control during a tailgate:
- Be conscious of long breaks in the game – like half-time – where you might find yourself mindlessly eating at the snack table. Try to keep yourself busy and active during these breaks by playing corn hole or throwing the football!
- Cut less healthy options into smaller proportions. By making smaller, bite-sized portions of anything less nutritious, it’s likely that you will fill your appetite with healthier options and only take a few of the less healthy options. This can be especially useful for things like greasy or fried options.
- Be mindful of your alcohol intake. While there are no ways to make a beer healthier, it’s okay to enjoy a few drinks during your tailgate as long as you remember to practice good drinking habits. Drink a lot of water in between and limit yourself to only a few drinks to curb your calorie intake.
Hopefully, with these things in mind, you will be able to enjoy the more indulgent options at your tailgate while still maintaining your health goals!
3. Have fun with your healthy tailgate menu!
There are so many ways to make exciting, delicious, and fun food options for your tailgate crew while keeping the menu nutritious. Round out your tailgate with some healthy desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth, but won’t leave you feeling guilty.
Being creative with your food for game day is key to keeping the menu interesting and healthy. Whether you’re trying to brand new recipes or making a healthy alternative to one of your favorites, you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite tailgate snacks and maintain your nutrition goals.