9 Ways to Stay on Track at the Tailgate

Article posted in: Nutrition

With football season upon us, you’ll be getting lots of opportunities to head to a tailgate and unleash your team spirit. While tailgating is an age-old tradition known for fun times with friends, it usually involves the excessive consumption of high-calorie foods, snacks and drinks without conscience. To ensure you don’t disrupt your weight loss stride, there are some things you can do to make tailgating before any sports event just as fun, yet diet-friendly. Learn how you can be more cognizant of your eating and drinking habits at a tailgate, so you never miss out on the fun due to your diet.

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Enjoy a healthier tailgate with these nine tips:

1. Avoid alcohol.


It’s no secret alcoholic drinks of any kind are loaded with empty calories your body doesn’t need. So, do yourself a favor and avoid a literal headache, as well as extra calories, and deter yourself from drinking booze altogether. You’ll probably have a better time, and you won’t set your body back or dehydrate yourself due to a hangover the next day. If you do end up indulging in an alcoholic beverage, be sure to stick to light beer or dry wine. Avoid sugary wine coolers or mixed drinks altogether.

2. Drink calorie-free seltzer.


If you need to get your fix for bubbles, bring your own calorie-free seltzer to sip on. Flavored seltzer offers a refreshing and healthy way to stay hydrated at the game, and you’ll feel fuller from those fizzy bubbles—which will keep you from reaching for extra snacks.

3. Socialize standing up.


At tailgates, there are usually lots of people around socializing at all levels. Do yourself a favor and give your seat to someone else, or better yet, don’t bring one. If you make a plan to stand the majority of the time at the tailgate, you’ll burn more calories while keeping your metabolism going. You also won’t have to worry about bringing extra stuff!

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4. Stay hydrated with water.


Dehydration is often an enemy during long tailgates outside. Stay full and focused on your goals by bringing your own water bottle you can refill and reuse throughout the event. Drinking water will also keep you feeling fuller for longer, aiding your portion control.

5. Bring your own low-fat snacks.


Let’s face it, most people aren’t going to bring celery and hummus to a sports tailgate. The snacks you will most likely see are high in calories, sugars and fat. So, don’t skip a beat with your diet and bring your own healthy snacks. Think about bringing veggies with low fat dip, fruit salad or even baked chips to snack on guilt-free throughout the tailgate.

6. BYOBB (Bring your own burgers & buns!).

turkey burger

It’s really not a true tailgate if someone isn’t grilling. And while people will most likely be grilling hot dogs and hamburgers, that doesn’t mean you need to skip out on the fun. You can bring your own veggie burgers, lean chicken or low fat hot dogs along with whole wheat buns to do right by your body.

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7. Limit condiments and sides.


If you’re going to indulge in something hot and delicious from the grill, make sure to keep it as light as possible. You can have your hot dog, barbecue chicken or hamburger, but you might want to think about passing on the loaded chili, excess ketchup, cheese and mayo. If you do add sides and condiments to your meal, be sure to keep your serving sizes in mind. Try sticking to veggies and turkey chili for sides and use yellow mustard,, which is a free food on the South Beach Diet.

8. Stick to single servings.

one serving

It’s almost too easy to constantly eat throughout a tailgate. Friends are likely to be dishing out food out left and right, but you need to be careful and not overload your plate. Stick to one serving of the healthiest options available. Then throw away your plate and focus on something else, so you’re not tempted to go back for seconds or thirds.

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9. Get in on the game!


Instead of hanging around the food tables and friends who are eating, get your body moving and join those who are being active! There’s usually always some fraction of friends who will be throwing a football around, playing cornhole or playing other various games people bring to the tailgate. Get out there and get involved. You may surprise yourself with how much fun you can have, and you may even make some new friends—while completely forgetting about sitting or snacking.