Tips for Healthy Tailgating
Oh, college football season. There’s a different vibe — a carefree buzz filling the entire city when the first game day is approaching. It’s a feeling of excitement you can’t deny.
Football season equals dominating cornhole at your tailgate, socializing with old friends, sporting your best Gator gear, enjoying alcoholic beverages, and eating generous amounts of tasty, not-so-paleo finger foods. You may be thinking some of these actions don’t sound very healthy, but I’m here to tell you that they absolutely can be! Whether you want to stay on track with your paleo lifestyle or beat the post-game-day puff, our Top 8 Tips for Healthy Tailgating will be your go-to guide! Take a hint from rowdy reptile Alberta — she still maintains her figure while having fun at tailgates all season long (wink, wink).
No. 1 – Be Prepared!
It sounds simple, but it’s key! If you’re hosting a tailgate, be sure to have plenty of water, healthy food options (like our Strawberry Guacamole with Plantain Chips), napkins, utensils, etc. If you’re attending a tailgate, bring a clean water canister and pack your own mini cooler of healthful goodies and snacks. Chances are your food options won’t be the best. Bringing your own balanced meal and nutrient-dense snacks is a rule we can’t stress enough!
No. 2 – Don’t Skip Meals!
Especially breakfast! The mindset of most game-day goers is typically “I’ll just skip breakfast so I can indulge in all the tailgating treats and alcohol I want all day long!” We hate to break it to you, but our body is one smart machine. It just doesn’t work that way. The more you stick to your normal routine, the better. Be sure to wake up early and start your day with a protein + fat-packed breakfast (think bacon & eggs with sautéed kale and fresh avocado). This will fire up your metabolism for the day and keep you feeling full and satisfied, which means you’re less likely to overeat food and alcohol within reach.
No. 3 – Stay Hydrated!
In the summer heat, hydration is essential. Alcohol is a diuretic and dehydrating by nature. Mix hot temperatures and alcohol consumption together, and our bodies are not going to be happy with us! As a rule of thumb, for every drink you have, rehydrate yourself with at least the same amount of ounces in pure H2O! Other great hydrating drinks include coconut water, spring water, and electrolyte-infused water. Pro tip — Save some $ by adding a pinch of sea salt to your water. This provides minerals that are lost when we sweat, like sodium, magnesium and potassium.
No. 4 – Cook!
Contribute to the plethora of tailgating goods by bringing your own healthy entrée, dip or munchies! Got a grill? Pick up your favorite protein (such as chicken breast, shrimp, grass-fed beef burgers, tempeh, etc.) plus some skewers and be the grill master among your friends. Got a crockpot? Throw together a quick, paleo-friendly buffalo chicken dip. For chilly games, try a warming vegetable soup with fiber-rich beans and rice. Really cramped for time? You can never go wrong with some great guac or a healthified six-layer taco dip! Instead of tortilla chips, use plantain, sweet potato, or grain-free chips. Some brands we love are Artisan Tropic, Jackson’s Honest, and Siete Foods!
No. 5 – Snacks!
Keep it simple, filling and nutritious! Being prepared with portioned, calorie-dense snacks will allow you to feel satisfied sans the urge to dive headfirst into Rob’s cheesy, loaded nachos or Lisa’s gooey chocolate chip cookies. If you’re bringing a cooler, prep and bag fresh veggies + hummus, or sliced fruit + nut butter. Some of our favorite portable, on-the-go snacks are Perfect Bar, Larabar, Rx Bar, EPIC Bar, unsweetened dried fruit, and raw nuts.
No. 6 – Set Guidelines!
If you know you’re going to indulge in alcohol and treats, it’s best to have a plan and set some limitations. The last thing you want is for the situation to get out of hand, and before you know it, one cookie turns into a Tour De Tailgate free-for-all! Give yourself a designated number of drink allowances to be spread throughout the day. Limit yourself to one small plate full of all the treats you love; once it’s gone, there won’t be seconds. Before eating a calorie-dense entrée, eat a small portion of raw veggies to help you feel fuller. Set a rule to drink a certain amount of ounces of water after every alcoholic beverage.
No. 7 – Check In With Yourself!
In the midst of the game day atmosphere, it’s really easy to go into autopilot while chatting with friends and following the behaviors of the crowd around us. Checking in with ourselves and being mindful can be one of the most important gateways to healthy tailgating! Periodically throughout the day, ask yourself how you’re feeling, how hydrated you are, how many drinks you’ve had, and if you’re actually hungry or just eating because the food is there.
No. 8 – Get Active & Have Fun!
Though food is a wonderful, social aspect of sporting events, remember that tailgating isn’t all about the food. Play cornhole or horseshoe, pass a football, take a few laps around the tailgating area with friends, or run around with the kiddos. Enjoy the great company of friends and family, chillax, make memories, and most importantly, root on your team during the game! Happy healthy tailgating!