A week from now Nittany Lion fans will be lining up at Beaver Stadium preparing for the Blue and White game. Saturday game days have come with a blast of blue and white everywhere and passionate fans getting overly excited before and during the game.
Of course as excited as everyone is about the games, the tailgates are what motivate fans to leave their bed at 7 a.m. Because what could be better than eating, drinking, and socializing with your friends while all sharing that awesome Penn State pride?
With all of the music and fun going on around you, it can be hard to remember your healthy eating habits. Particularly, since tailgating food is notoriously known for being delicious but unhealthy. So when heading to the next football weekend festivities, try to resist the urge to indulge in everything you see and remember these five healthy tailgating tips.
Eating or snacking on something healthy and filling before you leave is crucial. Make this your pre-game to the tailgate. Arriving to a tailgate starving is a recipe for a fumble and will cause you to overeat and binge on unhealthy options that look most appetizing in that moment.
Try to eat a filling breakfast of eggs, whole wheat bread, and fruit if it is a noon game. A light sandwich and a salad for later games will leave you a little hungry for tailgating and still have a little room to eat some tailgate food, but just not as much as you might normally if you arrived starving.
Survey the food line when you get to your tailgate. Try picking 3 unhealthy options out as soon as you get there that you are not going to eat as a way to set limits for yourself.
This leaves you with some room to still eat some of your favorites and fill the rest of your plate up with healthier choices.
Place your chair facing away from the food or stand farther than three feet from the food. Focus on your friends and playing corn hole or other games. This way, you won’t be as tempted to reach and mindlessly snack on chips or cookies while talking.
If you are going to be eating meat, try to choose lean options like chicken, lean turkey or salmon burgers. Always try to choose whole-wheat buns for your burgers and don’t forget to top with tomatoes and lettuce for extra veggies.
Can’t resist the dips? It’s not a bad thing sometimes- try to choose salsa or bean-based dips. These usually will have simple ingredients with less preservatives and calories.
Beans provide a lot of protein and fiber, and salsa is a good way to get some extra vegetables in your diet without the fat of other heavy dips. Instead of regular chips, use raw veggies to top with your dip. Cucumber, peppers, and carrots all have that crunch but without the calories. If you’re worried about the lack of healthy options, bring your own dish! Even all-time favorite football dishes like buffalo chicken dip, can be made a little healthier with some substitutions.
Instead of a full block of cream cheese, choose a half-block of reduced fat cream cheese and replace the other half with 1 cup plain Greek yogurt. This will reduce the fat and boost the protein so you can still enjoy your favorite dip without the calories.
Tailgating is one of the greatest parts of football games and you don’t have to give up your diet for the fun. Tips such as these may help you feel like more of an athlete yourself at the end of the day.