Fall weekends were made for tailgates and football. Whether you’re hosting a party in your home or heading to a tailgate at the crack of dawn, you’re expecting to eat lots of yummy food while washing it down with some ice cold beer. Am I right?!

Weekend after weekend of this activity can definitely put a damper on your workout routine or healthy eating habits during the week. It’s okay to indulge in some buffalo chicken dip and beer, but there are many ways to keep those habits on the cleaner side.

How is it possible to eat healthy during football parties and tailgating season while cheering on your favorite college or NFL team? Below are three tips to help curb your cravings while still enjoying yourself!

Tip 1: Substitute Ingredients  

When hosting a football party or attending a tailgate, it’s always a good idea to have food sitting around for guests. It’s easy enough to sit out a bag of chips and whip up a tasteful dip, but there are ways to create these delicious dishes with healthier ingredients.

Swapping out healthier ingredients for what’s originally called for allows the dish to sometimes contain less calories, fat, and carbohydrates. What dishes are you able to swap out some of the ‘not so healthy’ ingredients?

  • Substitute: Sour Cream for Greek Yogurt
    • Buffalo Chicken Dip
    • Macaroni Salad
  • Substitute: White Bread for Whole Wheat or Lettuce Wraps
    • Hotdog/ Hamburger buns
  • Substitute: Drink Mix for Seltzer/ Flavored Water
    • Favorite cocktails
    • In lieu of soda
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Consider substituting these ingredients for your next football gathering and indulging won’t make you feel so bad every weekend.

Tip 2: Cut Carbs, Incorporate Fruits/ Veggies

Lots of our favorite tailgate and party foods are carb overload! Although, carbs aren’t a bad thing, it shouldn’t be the only choice of food available.

There are many options out there in order to incorporate a colorful platter to the table. Some of these healthy eats could include:

  • Fresh plate of fruits and veggies with a Greek yogurt or low-fat ranch dressing
  • Zucchini pizza bites
  • Sweet potato fries
  • Bacon and cream cheese stuffed jalapeños
  • Guacamole with pita chips

While preparing some of these all-time favorite snacks, remember to feature colorful plates for your guests!

Tip 3: Plate Portions

The weekends were meant for being with friends and attending football games. Yes, you’re going to eat food that you typically don’t and drink more than you’d typically drink. But, it doesn’t mean you can’t be considerate of the portion sizes.

When you’re at a tailgate or football get together, make sure to use portion control and not slop as much as you can on your plate. Because chances are that one plate will fill you up! If you’re still hungry, then you can always go back for seconds. The same thing goes for drinking. Try drinking a lighter beer throughout the day or drinking less sugary cocktails. And don’t forget to hydrate! Hint: you can also try to fill up most of your plate with healthier items while still portioning out the ‘not so healthy’ items on the menu.

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Getting together with friends and family on the weekends to cheer on your alma mater or attending your favorite NFL team is one for the books. During those couple of hours of eating and drinking, it can be hard to remember how much you’ve really put into your body. Consider these 3 tips at your next football gathering to help keep things on a healthier note while still having fun!