Football season is back, and with it comes the beloved tradition of tailgating. However, for those of us trying to lose weight, the endless supply of cheesy dips, fried chicken wings and sugar-loaded drinks can make it challenging to stay on track. But with a little bit of planning and creativity, you can still enjoy the pre-game festivities without impacting your health goals.
Tips for Healthy Tailgating
Use the Grill for More Than Meat
Heat up the grill and add a colorful assortment of vegetables alongside your lean protein sources such as ground buffalo, shrimp and turkey hotdogs. Bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant and mushrooms all taste delicious when cooked on the grill, and you can season them with a variety of herbs and spices. You can also skewer them for a fun and festive look.
Step Up Your Dip Game
Dips are a staple of tailgating, but they don’t have to be calorie bombs. Swap your creamy ranch dip for homemade salsa, guacamole or hummus. These dips are loaded with good-for-you ingredients such as tomatoes, avocados, chickpeas and tahini, and they are bursting with flavor. Pair your dip with crunchy veggies such as carrots, cucumbers and bell pepper strips for a satisfying crunch.
Quench Your Thirst with Infused Water
Sugary sodas and sports drinks are not only loaded with calories but can also dehydrate you. Instead, bring a large pitcher of infused water to quench your thirst. You can add slices of lemon, lime, cucumber or berries for a refreshing and flavorful beverage that won’t sabotage your weight-loss goals.
Get Active with Lawn Games
Not all tailgating activities have to revolve around food. Plan a fun game of cornhole, ladder toss, horseshoes or volleyball to increase your heart rate and burn some extra calories. These games are not only enjoyable but also offer a bonding experience with your fellow tailgaters.
Don’t Be Afraid to Share
Portion control can be a challenge when you’re surrounded by an endless supply of tempting foods. Instead of bringing a large dish, choose smaller individual portions or share a dish with a friend. This way, you can still indulge in your favorite treats without going overboard.
Healthy Football Bites
- Grilled chicken skewers with a tangy barbecue sauce: Skewer chunks of chicken breast with bell peppers and onions, then grill until they’re cooked.
- Sweet potato wedges: Slice sweet potatoes into wedges, then coat them lightly with olive oil and your choice of herbs. Bake until they’re soft and slightly crispy.
- Greek salad on a stick: Thread cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, black olives and feta cheese onto skewers for a portable salad.
- Mini whole wheat pita sandwiches filled with hummus and veggies: Use mini whole wheat pitas to create little sandwiches filled with hummus and thinly sliced veggies like cucumbers, tomatoes and spinach.
- Guacamole-stuffed cherry tomatoes: Hollow out cherry tomatoes and fill them with homemade guacamole for a bite-sized snack.
- Spiced chickpeas: Toss canned chickpeas in olive oil and your choice of spices, then roast them until they’re crispy.
- Greek yogurt parfaits: Layer Greek yogurt with fresh berries, a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of granola.
- Veggie pinwheels: Spread a thin layer of cream cheese or hummus onto whole wheat tortillas, add a layer of thinly sliced veggies, then roll the tortilla up and slice it into bite-sized pieces.
- Fruit skewers: Skewer pieces of your favorite fruits like melon, pineapple and berries for a refreshing, portable snack.
- Baked zucchini chips: Thinly slice zucchini, lightly coat with olive oil, sprinkle with your favorite herbs and a touch of salt, then bake until crispy.
You Don’t Have to Sacrifice Tailgating!
Tailgating doesn’t have to be a weight-loss saboteur. With a little bit of creativity and some smart swaps, you can still enjoy delicious and healthy snacks while cheering on your favorite team.
By incorporating fun activities into your tailgating get-together that don’t revolve around food, you can also burn some calories and make lasting memories with your friends and family. Remember, moderation and balance are key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. So go ahead, wear your team colors and tackle your weight-loss goals, one snack at a time.