For those folks who are a bit health conscious while tailgating, I thought it would be helpful to write a small article with some ideas and tips to watch what your consuming while still having a fun day. For those of you who love drinking micro brews and eating fried (insert favorite food here) please feel free to skip over this article.
A list has been complied of things you can buy when you bring food/drink to a tailgate or things you can look to eat when you show up to a party. Hopefully this gives one some peace of mind about their diet while they’re tailgating.
Obviously this is a tricky one because beer is just empty calories. Drinking beer is equivalent to eating slices of bread. The best diet conscious alternative to drinking beer to is to drink light beer.
The worst part about consuming hard liquor is usually the mixers. When you make a rum and coke, cranberry vodka, etc. you’re drinking a lot of sugar with your alcohol. To cut back on some calories but still enjoy your drinks try buying a reduced sugar or sugar free mixer. Trop50 for example is a great fruit juice to buy and it tastes quite good. Club soda is the best mixer to use if you can handle the taste of your drink. Another little trick is to use more ice, thus filling up your cup more with water and reducing the amount of liquor. The last tip would be to use diet soda instead of regular. The diet has less sugar and the difference in taste is not that significant.
Condiments may not make as big of an impact as other groups but changing a few choices can certainly help. For starters, if you’re using mayonnaise with any of your food why not buy low fat mayo? Sauces are much trickier but if you must have something on your food get some hot sauce. It will have a slight kick but the ingredients that hot sauce is composed of are totally healthy. You’ll be surprised to know how much corn oil and high fructose corn syrup is in other sauces. If there are salads available use fat free dressing, vinegar, olive oil or balsamic vinaigrette, instead of the dressings filled with fat.
You’re going to have to put down the potato chips - yeah sorry. Wipe your fingers off too while you’re at it. Most chips are just an extension of fried food and not very good for you. Pretzels and Crackers are your new best friend in the snack world. If you can bring reduced fat anything, do it. Pretzels, crackers, Wheat Thins and Triscuits are all better alternatives. Another great one is any grilled vegetables (corn, potatoes).
Fried food isn’t your friend if you’re looking to watch your figure. When people actually read the nutrition contents of a burger they are pretty surprised at the fat content. If you still insist on hamburgers and don’t want to scare off your friends for being too healthy, look for reduced fat ground beef at the Supermarket. Want to add cheese to your healthier burger? Get low fat cheese. Grilled chicken is a great alternative and you can even coat it in several spices or hot sauces to make some spicy chicken.
Desserts are supposed to be a sparingly ingested sweet. However, if you must find a craving for your sweet tooth and don’t want to have fruit then go ahead and have desert. Just have it in moderation! It’s a desert, not a meal. You can cut some calories and fat by using reduced fat or sugar free sauces, cookies, ice cream, etc.
What one has to realize is that by using some of these tips one will be able to have plenty of food and drink, without as much guilt to go with it. The bottom line is you can still have fun; the key is to make a few small changes that add up to a big difference. You can still drink some beer have some burgers and dessert. Don’t kill yourself over it, you’re at a tailgate and the point is to enjoy yourself. Hopefully these reminders will help lead to a slightly healthier tailgate for some from here on out. Happy Grilling!