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Healthy football tailgating tips

healthy food on grill

Football season is in full swing and that means one thing (no not crappy replacement refs) . . . tailgating! When it comes to sports fans, football fans know how to party. Whether it’s at a college or NFL game, the stadium parking lot is always full of fans who know how to put out a good spread.

What’s a health conscious person to do when surrounded by hot dogs, nachos, cheeseburgers and turduckens (don’t laugh, I’ve seen this in person multiple times)? It’s actually not as difficult as you think to make healthy choices at tailgates. Here are a few tips!

  • Eat the right stuff. Fill up on protein and veggies instead of eating the empty, calorie-laden snacks that are out on the table. Instead of cookies, choose fruit salad.
  • If it’s an early game, instead of serving donuts and muffins, try serving breakfast burritos (egg whites and veggies) with salsa or serve whole wheat bagels with light cream cheese.
  • Avoid high-fat, high-calorie sauces. Instead of slathering on the sauce, think of rubbing in flavor. Prepare your grilled meats with a spice rub using fresh herbs and spices such as basil, chili powder, cumin, curry powder, dry mustard, garlic powder,  parsley, and thyme.
  • Choose lean cuts of meat and skip the chuck hamburger. Try extra-lean, ground turkey breast for your chili. Or, grill chicken breast, pork tenderloin, and low-fat, chicken hot dogs on the grill.
  • Add a little variety to the party by grilling fresh vegetables for sandwiches. Mushrooms, red onions, squash, zucchini, asparagus, egg plant, peppers, and onions all taste amazing when grilled and even better thrown together between two slices of bread with some cheese.
  • Drink water between your high-calorie, drinkable treats. It’ll help keep you hydrated. Remember: Alcohol is very dehydrating to the body.
  • Play some games! Why not bring a football to toss or a frisbee to throw while hanging out pre and post game? Playing games and sports will keep you occupied from consuming too much food before the game even starts and it will give you something to do after the game when traffic is crazy getting out of the parking lot.


Don’t go nuts over-thinking how to avoid and burn calories while tailgating. Wake up early, have a healthy, light breakfast and get a workout in before tailgating even begins. Enjoy yourself then continue on with your healthy lifestyle the next day.

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing