Your Checklist for Healthy Tailgating

September 7, 2017
Your Checklist for Healthy Tailgating

It’s football season – grab the grill, load the cooler, and head for the stadium! Did you know you can eat healthy and stay active while tailgating? It’s true! Use this checklist to plan ahead and keep your healthy habits from getting sidelined.

  • Start by avoiding high-calorie foods for a few days before the game.
  • Make a game plan for packing healthy snacks on the big day, such as:
    • Fresh fruit
    • Veggies with low-fat dips or salsa
    • Low-fat snacks such as popcorn, pretzels or pita chips
    • Lean meats, seafood and low-fat cheeses with whole-grain breads and crackers
    • Jazz up non-caloric waters with fresh citrus, a splash of juice or use fresh mint.
  • Before you go to the stadium, eat a small snack that contains protein and fiber (like cereal and yogurt) so you’ll be less tempted to overeat.
  • Watch out for the extra calories from alcoholic beverages. Remember that too much alcohol can lead to increased hunger.
  • Don’t let food safety issues take you out of the game:
    • Separate raw meats from ready-to-eat foods like veggies when preparing, serving or storing foods.
    • Before you eat or handle food, wash your hands, food prep tools and surfaces.
    • Use a food thermometer to make sure foods are cooked to the right temperatures:
      • 160° F for ground meats
      • 160° F for whole cuts of beef, pork, veal or lamb
      • 165° F for chicken or turkey
    • Keep hot foods at 140° F or warmer, and cold foods at 40° F or colder.
    • Throw out perishable food that sits out more than two hours.
  • Since tailgating starts hours before the game, use your extra time to stay active. For example:
    • Play outdoor games such as bean bag toss or throw a football.
    • Walk around and meet people. Walking for 30 minutes at a moderate pace can help you burn about 140 calories.