Healthiest Foods to Bring to a Tailgate

Contributor
Don’t let your sweet tooth get the best of you on game day — stay healthy and enjoy nutritious food during tailgate season

Thinkstock / MeePoohyaphoto

Healthy foods go a long way at a tailgate.

Nothing brings more happiness than spending time with friends and family on the day of a big game. With all of the excitement, it is easy to forget about eating healthy and limiting alcohol intake. Before the tailgating even begins, it’s important to plan for success. Healthy food preparation is key.

Click here for the Healthiest Foods to Bring to a Taligate slideshow.

I spoke with Lori Zanini, registered dietitian, nutritionist, and certified diabetes educator, about ways to stay healthy and still have fun at a tailgate. Before indulging, it is helpful to fill up on nutrient-dense foods. Zanini suggests fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains as part of a health-inspired tailgate.

“Fruits and veggies are refreshing, low calorie, low fat, and full of fiber and antioxidants,” Zanini says. “Lean proteins are great options to bring because they keep you full throughout the game and will stop you from running to the concession stand.”

The good news is that tailgates are a perfect opportunity to stay active, so don’t just hover around the snack table. Take advantage of the outdoor setting by playing games, tossing a football, and walking around.

It’s not necessary to deprive yourself of certain treats, but there are ways to avoid overindulging. “Choose to munch on the fruits and vegetables first, then enjoy a little bit of the other stuff,” Zanini says. “This will help fill you up and make it less tempting to overindulge on the snacks that are high in fat or sugar.” 

Cold Salads

Photo Modified: Flickr / Nico Paix / CC BY 4.0

This is a salad with peppers and other vegetables.

Create something you actually want to eat so that you are not tempted by everything else. Make your salad different and flavorful. “Get creative with different veggies, grains, and legumes,” Zanini says. “Whole grains provide essential nutrients such as B vitamins, iron, protein, and fiber.”

Crock-Pot Pulled Chicken Sandwiches on Whole-Wheat Buns

Photo Modified: Flickr / Sodanie Chea / CC BY 4.0

This is a grilled chicken sandwich on a whole-wheat bun.

“Lean proteins are great options to bring because they keep you full throughout the game and prevent you from running to the concession stand,” Zanini says. The combination of lean protein from the chicken and whole grains from the bun will keep you satisfied.

 
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