Healthy tailgating is possible

Healthy tailgating is possible

Autumn brings cooler weather, football games and tailgating. For some, this football tradition is more important than the game itself as friends and family come together to celebrate their favorite team and fill up on tasty food.

Traditional tailgating foods are high in calories and fat, leaving fans feeling stuffed and sluggish before the game even begins. To stay sharp for the whole game, try some of these healthy swaps suggested by Dana Artinyan, a registered dietitian at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago.

Instead of chips. Chips are a staple for tailgating, but they are very easy to overdo. A 1-ounce serving of potato chips are high in sodium and contains almost 15 percent of your suggested daily intake of fat, along with processed carbohydrates.

Swap chips for vegetables such as sliced bell peppers, carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, jicama and cucumbers and serve them with a healthy dip.

Instead of dips. Speaking of dips, many are heavy cream or cheese-based and are often loaded with unhealthy fats, sugar and sodium.

Switch to a spicy or mild salsa, guacamole or hummus. To make a lightened-up creamy dip, swap the sour cream for plain, nonfat or low fat Greek yogurt.

Instead of burgers. Hot dogs and beef hamburgers are some of the most popular tailgating options. Although hamburgers are high in protein, they are often high in fat and sodium. Hamburgers are typically served on white buns which are empty calories.

For a healthier meat choice, try a chicken skewer or turkey burger, which provide fewer calories and fat. When it comes to the bun swap it for lettuce or other greens which offer a lower-carb and lower-calorie option.

Instead of potato salad. Most potato salads are made with a mayonnaise base comprised of unhealthy fats and excess calories.

To lighten up a side dish like potato salad, try a vinegar or mustard based sauce.

It’s easy to swap a few ingredients to make a dish more healthful without compromising on taste.


Related Posts


One Comment

  1. Is there ever a time we can eat or splurge a bit just for fun? Seriously, over the last year, Advocate has wrote about “healthy” eating while on road trips, at the ball park and now tailgating. Is there anything sacred or off-limits to nanny state criticism?

About the Author

Meghan Robinett
Meghan Robinett

Meghan Robinett, health enews contributor, is a public affairs and marketing intern with Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. She is studying Communication Arts and Digital Media at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. In her free time, she enjoys baking, playing soccer and traveling.