By: Erika Armetta ’16, University Health Center Nutrition Peer Educator
Tailgating season is here! The time for catching up with friends, discussing game stats, and enjoying some delicious food has begun. Whether you’re hosting the tailgate, helping out, or going to a friend’s there is always a way to keep this football tradition healthy.
Choosing the right kinds of food, staying hydrated, and being mindful of your eating can help you feel energized to cheer on your Terps throughout the whole day!
- Create healthful, simple snacks. Break out of the boring chip and pretzel rut and try some of these easy swaps:
- Use baked whole grain chips or crunchy crudité with salsa and guacamole.
- Popcorn is a great whole grain to snack on.
- Get creative with Maryland colors and create veggie skewers with our red, white, black and gold in mind. Yellow peppers, tomatoes, and a mozzarella ball on a stick make it fun to eat your veggies!
- Bring premade dishes. Instead of spending all my time at the grill, bringing simple dishes that I’ve already cooked gives me time to socialize with family and friends.
- Take some low-sodium lunch meat and some crunchy veggies to make whole grain sandwiches or wraps.
- Create a healthy layered taco dip with black beans, guacamole, Greek yogurt, lettuce, tomatoes, and olives.
- Make vegetarian chili or vegetable soup ahead of time and reheat it in a crockpot.
- Get creative with the grill. There are more dishes to make on the grill besides burgers and hot dogs. Try some of these awesome alternatives.
- Grilled veggies like zucchini, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, and onions are all great when seasoned with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
- Turkey burgers and turkey meatballs provide great flavor variety.
- Sliders instead of full sized burgers will help you control your portions.
- Grill chicken and chicken sausage.
- Though often overlooked, make sure to practice grilling safety.
- Try fruit with a spin to satisfy that sweet tooth.
- Dark chocolate covered strawberries and bananas are some of my favorite ways to get my daily serving of fruits in.
- Show your Maryland Pride with colors again- this time with fruit.
- Raise high the black and gold with pineapple, strawberries, bananas, and dark chocolate on a stick.
- Stay Hydrated. Always have a bottle of water in your hand. It’s hot and between all the talking, eating, and cornhole-playing, most people don’t realize how much water they’re losing throughout the day.
- Try some seltzer water with a splash of fruit juice for a fun spin on plain water.
- Remember to make better beverage choices.
- Eat from a plate. Sometimes I can get overwhelmed with all the options available and I start to mindlessly eat food all day. I don’t realize how much I have eaten since I am not taking food from a plate. By having a plate in my hands, I can see how much I am really consuming.
- Survey your options. Look at all the choices available on the spread before loading up. Being able to pick favorite foods and avoiding overloading the plate will help from feeling uncomfortably full.
- Have a small snack before going to a tailgate. In order to avoid overindulging, I eat a small snack before the game so I don’t get too hungry. A snack with protein and carbohydrates will help keep you fuller longer. I usually have some apples and peanut butter.
- Be Mindful of your eating. Don’t eat just because food is in front of you. Knowing my hunger and full signals and waiting in between my meals helps me manage my hunger.
- Practice Food Safety. Nothing is slower than a sick Terp. By following simple rules for basic food handling safety, you can ensure that your food is cooked to the right temperature, stored properly, and served in a manner to prevent foodborne illnesses.
What kind of healthy alternatives do you make at your tailgate?
To learn more about healthy tailgating practices, reserve your session with a Nutrition Coach today by calling 301-314-5664 or UHC-Nutrition@umd.edu.